By Jim Gehman, Player Engagement Insider
As the final pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, Ryan Succop was given the title “Mr. Irrelevant.” Yeah, that didn’t really work.
With the Kansas City Chiefs for five years, Succop had four, 100-plus point seasons and converted on 81 percent of his field goal attempts. He, however, was released just prior to the 2014 campaign. One day after clearing waivers, he was signed as a free agent by the Tennessee Titans.
“It kind of catches you off guard a little bit,” Succop said. “But I know that a lot of decisions are made in this league all the time and ultimately, I was really blessed to get another opportunity here in Tennessee and it’s been great. When one door closes hopefully another door opens, and that was exactly what happened. I was excited to come here and join the Titans.”
A native of Hickory, North Carolina, who played college football at the University of South Carolina, Succop was also excited to be heading back to the south. His hometown is just a five-hour-and-change drive from Nashville.
“Just straight down I-40,” says Succop. “I’m born and raised in the south and it’s kind of nice to be in a place that feels like home. I get a lot of friends and family in town for games and that’s always fun.”
It’s even more fun for them when Succop is playing well. And, he is. Succop was named as the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September after leading the league with 11 field goal attempts and 10 made field goals. He also connected on all eight extra point attempts, totaling 38 points for the first three games of the season.
“I felt very humbled, very honored to receive that,” said Succop, who had previously been named AFC Player of the Week four times. “Our offense has given me a lot of opportunities with extra points and field goals, and I think it’s just a total team award. It’s a testament to the guys who are up front blocking for me and Beau (Brinkley) and Brett (Kern), our snapper and holder, all those guys have a big part in that. They work hard and do such a great job, so hopefully they get the recognition, not me.”
Four seasons ago, recognizing that he may be able to improve his game, Succop began using a two-step approach on field goal attempts. “I cut out my jab step,” he said. “It was less moving parts, basically. It got me a little bit closer to the ball and took away one other thing that could potentially go wrong. When you were at three and you go to two, it just kind of makes things a little bit simpler and I think it’s really helped me to become more consistent. It’s been cool just to keep working and keep trying to find ways to get better. That’s what I really enjoy.”
Off the field, Succop also enjoys giving back to the community. Besides being involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, he recently was one of the players representing the Titans by participating in a TeamSmile event at Nissan Stadium.
“That’s something I’ve been a part of a long time, being able to basically provide dental care to kids that ordinarily wouldn’t be able to get dental care,” Succop said. “We have bunch of dentists and dental hygienists that basically volunteer. Kids come over and get their teeth cleaned. I think we gave dental care to over 300 kids, which was pretty cool.”