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Chris Boswell Ready for Heinz Field Challenge

October 8, 2015
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Chris Boswell Ready for Heinz Field Challenge

After kicking in the weather conditions he experienced at his tryout, Chris Boswell figures he can handle Heinz Field in just about any climate.

“It was an experience because it was pouring rain and it was windy — all the elements you want,” Boswell said Monday after his first day of practice with the Steelers. “I hear it gets bad up here, so it was a good test and good competition.”

The tryout went well enough for Boswell that the Steelers signed him to replace veteran Josh Scobee, who was released Saturday after missing two field-goal attempts in three minutes of the fourth quarter Thursday in an overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Boswell becomes the fourth kicker on the Steelers’ payroll this season, joining the injured Shaun Suisham and Garrett Hartley.

Boswell, signed by Houston as an undrafted free agent in 2014, was released by the New York Giants during the preseason.

“Things just didn’t line up well (with the Giants),” said Boswell, who never has attempted a field goal in an NFL regular-season game. “All I’m worrying about now is getting the job done for this team. It’s all about timing when you’re a kicker, and I’m trying to take advantage of it. I don’t want to let anybody down.”

Boswell, who beat out former Washington Redskins kicker Kai Forbath for the job, knows the conditions at Heinz Field will worsen late in the season. However, he will have to deliver on the road during the final stretch of the regular season when the Steelers play at Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

He will get his first road test against the San Diego Chargers on Monday night at Qualcomm Stadium, where Josh Lambo was spared the embarrassment of pushing a 39-yarder wide in the waning seconds before an offside penalty against Cleveland gave him a kick at redemption in a 30-27 victory.

“No matter the elements, you have to find a way to put (the ball) through the pipes,” Boswell said. “It’s the same kick all the time, and you really can’t worry about anything; just clear your head and kick it.

“Kicking is kicking, and it doesn’t really matter whether you are on your own or if everyone is watching. You want to take the same mental preparation on every single kick.

“Every kick is a pressure situation. I don’t find any other kick any more valuable than another.”

Boswell’s first order of business is securing coach Mike Tomlin’s confidence. Tomlin, of course, lost confidence in Scobee. It’s partly why he shunned conventional wisdom in attempting a 50-yard field goal with the Steelers at the Baltimore 33 in overtime. Instead, he rolled the dice with quarterback Mike Vick, who missed Antonio Brown on fourth-and-1 to set up Justin Tucker’s game-winning 52-yard field goal.

“We’ve gone through a few punters but never this many kickers,” long-snapper Greg Warren said. “It’s something we’ll adjust to, and I think we’ll be OK. (Boswell) is a young guy, so I think I can take him under my wings a little bit. So far, he’s been receptive.

“The little bit I’ve seen (Boswell) kick, he has a strong leg. He’s got a good demeanor about himself, and I think he’ll be pretty good.”

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