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Shane Lechler
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Lechler with the Raiders in October 2010.
No. 9     Houston Texans
Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: (1976-08-07) August 7, 1976 (age 43)
Place of birth: East Bernard, Texas
High School: East Bernard (TX)
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
College: Texas A&M
NFL Draft: 2000 / Round: 5 / Pick: 142
Debuted in 2000 for the Oakland Raiders
Career history
* Oakland Raiders ( 2000 2012)
Career highlights and awards
* 7× Pro Bowl (2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Punts     1,014
Punting yards     48,215
Average punt     47.5
Stats at NFL.com

Edward Shane Lechler[1] (/ˈlɛklər/; born August 7, 1976) is an American football punter for the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Texas A&M University, and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. He has been named an All-Pro nine times during his career. He is currently the NFL's all-time leader in career punting average.

Early yearsEdit

Lechler attended East Bernard High School in East Bernard, Texas,[2] and was a standout in football, basketball, golf and baseball. As a quarterback, punter, and placekicker, he led East Bernard to the state quarterfinals his senior year, completing 87 of 101 (86.1%) passes for 1,640 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his high school career, he passed for nearly 5,000 yards and averaged 41.6 yards per punt. His longest punt in high school was 85 yards.

College careerEdit

Lechler attended Texas A&M University, and played for the Texas A&M Aggies football team from 1996 to 1999. A versatile and talented player, he was not only the Aggies' punter, but also kicked off, served as the long field goal kicker, was the holder for short field goals and PATs, and was the emergency quarterback. As a junior, he completed a 29-yard pass on a fake punt against Baylor and threw a touchdown pass to Dan Campbell on a fake field goal in a hard-fought 17–10 win against Texas Tech.[3]

When injuries depleted the depth chart, Lechler served as the backup quarterback for the 1998 Big 12 Championship game. At one point in the game, the Aggies' last healthy quarterback Branndon Stewart appeared shaken and a nervous-looking Lechler warmed his arm up on the sideline. Stewart was able to stay in the game and led the Aggies to a dramatic 36–33 victory over Kansas State, earning the Aggies their first Big 12 championship. Because of his contributions in so many facets of the game, coach R. C. Slocum called Lechler "the team's most valuable player."

Lechler started his career off strong at Texas A&M, earning Freshman All-America honors in 1996 after averaging a freshman record 42.7 yards. His sophomore season, he was named to the All-Big 12 team after breaking the Aggie single season record with an average of 47.0 yards per punt. He was named to The Sporting News All-America team as a junior in 1998 and was also an Associated Press first team All-American honors as a senior in 1999, a year in which his 46.5 yards per punt is second in the record books only to his own sophomore season. He is the NCAA record holder for career punt average with a mark of 44.7 yards per punt. He had six career punts of 69 yards or longer and had 38 "coffin corner" kicks over his final two seasons. Lechler was also named first team All-Big 12 Conference by the league’s head coaches, The Associated Press, the Austin American Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, Football News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle and the Kansas City Star.

Lechler did not have a punt blocked during his career, and only one of his punts was returned for a touchdown during his career.

Professional careerEdit

Shane Lechler punts at Falcons at Raiders 11-2-08

Lechler punts at a home game against the Atlanta Falcons on November 2, 2008.

Oakland RaidersEdit

Since entering the NFL in 2000, Lechler has set various NFL and Raiders records. He was a Pro Bowler in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 and was named to the All-Pro team in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Lechler has the NFL record for best average per punt in a career (47.3), the only player with a higher average than the legendary Sammy Baugh. He has the five best single-season punting averages in Raiders history, including a career-best 51.1 in 2009, the second highest single season average in league history (Baugh averaged 51.4 in 1940). Lechler recently raised his Raider record for most punting yards in a season with 4,909 in 2009. He had at least one punt of 50 yards or more in 33 consecutive games from Week 13 of 2003 through Week 14 of 2005, the longest streak by any player since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. Has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice. Lechler has played in 158 regular season league games and seven playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVII. At the 2008 Pro Bowl, he had a punt of 55 yards.[4]

Both Lechler and kicker Sebastian Janikowski are the longest tenured players on the Oakland Raiders.

On February 18, 2009, Lechler signed a 4 year, $12 million contract, making him the highest paid punter in NFL history.[5]

In Week 6 of the 2011 season Lechler threw a 35 yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss on a fake field goal.

In Week 12, on November 27, 2011, Lechler kicked a career best 80 yard punt against the Chicago Bears. That punt, kicked from his own 10 yard line (Oakland 20 was the line of scrimmage), bounced at the Chicago 11 and into the end zone, making 79 yards in the air, and setting a franchise record for the longest punt by an Oakland Raider.[6]

Until the 2012 season, Lechler had gone his entire career without a blocked punt. However, he lost his perfect record in the 2012 season. Dante Rosario blocked a punt against the San Diego Chargers in week 1 of the 2012 season, and David Bruton of the Denver Broncos blocked another punt in week 4.

Houston TexansEdit

On March 23, 2013, Lechler signed with the Houston Texans. The contract is a three-year deal worth $5.5 million with a $1 million signing bonus.[7]

PersonalEdit

Lechler is married to Erin Gibson, who was an All-American volleyball player at Texas A&M. He is also a close friend of Justin Brantly, a former A&M punter.[8]

Lechler comes from an athletic family - his mother and father played sports for Baylor. His brother Derek was a punter for Texas A&M.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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