St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein recalls his draft journey

St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein went from never playing football in high school to one of the best kickers in the NFL.

Chris O'Meara/AP

It’s not often a kicker gets drafted and it’s certainly not often a kicker from a non BCS school gets drafted.

But that is exactly the journey St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein took on his way to the NFL.

Zuerlein knew he had a chance to get drafted, but you really never know until you get that phone call.

“I knew I had a chance on it based on who I talked to and visited,” Zuerlein told the Journal Star. "I knew it was a possibility. I got a call from Coach (John) Fassel, the special-teams coach for the Rams, and he said they were looking to draft me if I was still there on their next pick. Then I got a call from Coach (Jeff) Fisher next round saying I was part of the team.

“It was a moment I’ll never forget.”

That special moment for Zuerlein almost never happened. Zuerlein decided to play football his freshman year of high school for the first time, but it did not go exactly as planned.

“I thought ‘You know what? I’ll give it a try,’” he said. “Went out my freshman year and I hated it. I was a receiver and I could never remember the plays. So I thought I would stick to soccer, because it’s what I like. In my mind, I said I was done with football after freshman year.”

Zuerlein decided to stick with soccer until he was approached by the football coach the next season.

“They told me I could play varsity kicker if I went out for football again,” he said. "From then on, I enjoyed football a lot more.”

Zuerlein never had the dream of playing in the NFL like so may young kids his age. 

"I never really thought about the NFL,” he said. "I just knew I could kick the ball pretty far.”

When schools started contacting him about playing in college, Zuerlein jumped at the opportunity. 

“I thought that I could do this in college and get my college paid for,” he said. "I’ll take the money and get an education and a degree out of this.”

Zuerlein thrived in college. He transferred his senior year to Missouri Western after getting hurt his senior year at Nebraska-Omaha. 

From a kid who never thought about the NFL to being one of the premier kickers in the league is pretty amazing. 

“Everything turned out perfectly,” Zuerlein said. “I guess."

(h/t Journal Star)