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Suisham Hopes to Provide Stability

Redskins Park has been a revolving door for kickers since Chip Lohmiller left the team after the 1994 season.

The Redskins have had 16 different place kickers, including David Akers in 1998. Akers played in one game for the Redskins, missed two field goal attempts and was released. One year later, Akers signed with Philadelphia, and since then he has developed into one of the NFL's top kickers.

Flash forward to 2006, and the Redskins hope that Shaun Suisham, signed by the team last week, can end the Redskins' seemingly constant turnover at the kicker position.

Last week, Suisham won a mid-season competition, beating Nick Novak for the Redskins' job.

"Hopefully I can be a constant for the team," Suisham said on Wednesday. "I would like to be here for a long time."

Like Akers early in his NFL career, Suisham has bounced around the league the last two years. He played three games in Dallas in 2005 and played two games for the Cowboys earlier this season. He was released by Dallas mid-season and spent a several weeks on the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad.

In his Redskins debut last Sunday against Atlanta, Suisham connected on two PATs but he missed a 50-yard field goal. Still, he impressed coaches with his distance and hang time on kickoffs, something that Novak had struggled with in recent weeks.

Overall, Suisham has connected on 4-of-7 field goals and is 12-for-12 on PATs in seven NFL games.

In the last month of the season, he has a chance to establish himself in the NFL, much like Akers did in 1999 with the Eagles.

"I have an opportunity to kick in the NFL and I'm going to cherish every opportunity I get," he said.

Coaches have made it clear what they expect from him, Suisham said.

"I need to put the kickoff coverage unit in position to keep the [opposing team] inside the 20-yard line," he said. "I need to kick high and deep. On field goals, you need to make the ones that you're expected to make, and then you need come through on the ones you're not always expected to make. You need to be a contributor."

Suisham hails from Ontario and attended college at Bowling Green, where he earned second-team All-MAC honors in 2004 after finishing the season 12th in the nation in scoring.

Asked about his leg strength, Suisham said that the longest field goal he ever kicked was 65 yards. Suisham said the 50-yarder he missed last Sunday was well within his range, but the ball sailed left on him.

With John Hall on injured reserve with a leg injury and Novak released, Suisham hopes that his upcoming four-game stretch with the Redskins leads to an Akers-like career.

Despite Suisham's missed field goal on Sunday, the Redskins do not appear to be giving up on him as quickly as they gave up on Akers in 1998.

"I'm excited about playing," Suisham said. "I love being out there. It's a thrill for me. I enjoy doing it and hopefully I can help the team out."

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