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Graham Getting a Kick Out of Competition


Eleven-year NFL veteran Shayne Graham is getting along great with Graham Gano in training camp, but he knows there will only one kicker standing come Redskins opening day on Sept. 11.

"A competition is what it is," Graham says dryly. "You perform better and you get the job. Really we're just looking to do our best, and the better man wins, which is how it should be."

Graham entered the NFL in 2001 with the Buffalo Bills. He then played one year in Carolina before solidifying himself as an NFL kicker in Cincinnati, where he played for seven seasons. Last year, he had stints with the New York Giants and New England Patriots.

For his career, Graham has made 208-of-242 field goals, good for an 86.0 completion percentage. His best statistical season came in 2007 when he played in all 16 games and made 31-of-34 field goals (91.2 percent) and all 37 extra points, accounting for 130 points.

The red-haired Graham was born in Radford, Va., and played college football at Virginia Tech, so after a long NFL career, he enjoys returning to the area.

"I'm excited to be here," he said. "I grew up locally, and so it's nice to be close to where my family is, and it's a good opportunity for me to hopefully be here and be a part of the team. I've heard a lot of good things about this organization, so now it's nice to be a part of it and see for myself."

Graham, 33, will be battling with Gano, 24, throughout training camp and the two kickers are expected to split time in the preseason games.

Gano kicked in all 16 games last season for the Redskins, making 24-of-35 field goal attempts, a 68.6 completion percentage that he hopes to improve.

"We know that two of us walk in, one of us walks out," said Graham, acknowledging the reality of the situation, "but I think we're both looking forward to the competition."

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