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Five things to know about Brandon McManus

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The Washington Commanders will be starting off the Dan Quinn era with a new kicker, as they signed veteran Brandon McManus in the first week of free agency. Here are five things to know about one of the newest additions to Washington's special teams unit.

1. He's one of the best kickers in Temple history.

McManus arrived at Temple University after a highly successful high school career that saw him collect multiple all-conference and all-state honors. He quickly earned the starting kicker job for the Owls, starting a four-year college career that was one of the best for a Temple kicker.

As the only Temple freshman to play in ever game during the 2013 season, McManus tied Bernard Pierce as the school's single season scoring leader with 96 points. He drilled a game-winner against Miami, which led to him being named the MAC Special Teams Player of the Week, and tied the school records for extra points made and attempted against Akron.

The next three seasons were full of similar accomplishments for McManus. He led the Owls with 70 points in 2010; set season records in punting average (45.8) and extra points made (50) in 2011; and led the Big East in punt average while ranking fourth in PATs, fifth in field goals and sixth in scoring.

By the time McManus had finished his four years at Temple, he had secured multiple records in the annals of the program's history. He ended his career as the school leader in points scored (338), punting average (45.4), field goals made (60) and field goals attempted (83).

2. He briefly spent time with Larry Izzo before joining the Broncos.

McManus, an undrafted free agent in the 2013 NFL draft, bounced around the league a bit before finding a permanent home in Denver. He originally signed with the Colts before being released before the season began. Four months later, he signed a reserve/futures contract with the Giants, where current Commanders special teams coordinator Larry Izzo was part of the staff as an assistant.

They didn't spend much time together, but it was enough for McManus to grasp how impressive Izzo was as a coach.

"He understands the game a lot," McManus said. "He understands what the players are going through, obviously getting players to buy in."

Izzo is so adept at that because he's been in their situation, as he made a career out of being on special teams. But as someone who played in the NFL for 14 years, he's also developed a keen understanding of how to succeed as a professional.

It's been about a decade since McManus spent the 2014 preseason with Izzo, and McManus is excited to rekindle that relationship.

"I think we'll be [some] of the best educated players on the field as well...with the pregame studying and understanding the rules and stipulations of the game," McManus said. "So, I'm looking forward to getting back in the same room and on the field with Larry."

Check out the top photos of Brandon McManus at the previous stops in his career. (Photos via The Associated Press)

3. He made his mark on the Broncos franchise.

It's a rare thing in today's NFL to spend nearly a decade with one team, which is why McManus was in such a unique position. Fortunately for McManus and the Broncos, he made the most of his time in Denver.

Prior to his release, McManus was one of the best kickers in franchise history. He had a field goal percentage of 81.4%, which ranked second among Broncos kickers with at least 100 attempts. He's also third in extra points (277), second in kickoff yards (43,232) and first in touchbacks (479).

Long-distance field goals are McManus' specialty. His 40 successful field goals from 50-plus yards are the most in team history, beating out Jason Elm's 37.

4. He's an advocate of anti-bullying.

McManus isn't just known for making difficult kicks on the field. He's also a strong advocate for making sure bullying is kicked out of society.

McManus and former music manager Tom Peterson co-founded the Anti Bully Squad in 2014 as a non-profit that was dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of bullying and how it can negatively impact young people.

"I really thought that I could make a change in that aspect and help kids who are being bullied and give them a story to let them know they're not alone," McManus said in a Q&A on the Broncos' website in 2016.

McManus has done everything within his power to live up to that statement, too. He visits impacted children, sends them videos, runs football camps and attends charity events. McManus described the "horror stories" of how young kids are driven to suicide because of getting bullied at school, and he sees it as his mission to prevent that.

"I wanted to be able to help in any way I could just so I don't have to read those stories anymore," McManus said.

5. He played at RFK.

McManus grew up around Philadelphia, so he spent plenty of time watching the rivalry between the Eagles and Washington. He might not have been a fan, but he did have respect for the environment at RFK.

And he's one of the few active players who can say they've played a game in the historic stadium.

The year was 2009, and Temple finished off the season a 9-3 regular season with a trip to the EagleBank Bowl against UCLA. They quickly rebounded from an 0-2 start by winning their next nine games, going 7-1 in their conference.

McManus still remembers the game and described it as a difficult situation.

"The field was frozen because it was an old baseball stadium with concrete underneath and there was ice out there," he said.

Temple lost the game, 30-21, but for what it's worth, McManus did his job. He hit all three of his extra points, giving him a season hit rate of 93.8%.

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