September 9, 2017 - 2:54 pm
NASHVILLE — Giorgio Tavecchio’s shot finally has arrived.
It comes at the expense of the longest-tenured player in Raiders history.
The team placed kicker Sebastian Janikowski (back) on injured reserve Saturday with a back ailment. One day after being signed to the practice squad, Tavecchio was promoted to the 53-man roster in a corresponding move. The 27-year-old will make his NFL debut Sunday in the season opener against the Tennessee Titans.
One player is a long-time fixture.
For the other, Tavecchio, this is a long time coming.
The Milan, Italy, native spent at least part of the past four presesons with the Raiders. He’s participated in six NFL training camps, including the most recent three with the club. But before Sunday, he had yet to make an NFL roster. He’d never appeared in an NFL regular-season game.
Janikowski, 39, has been a mainstay.
The 2000 first-round pick was slated to enter his 18th NFL season, a run spent entirely with the Raiders. He did not kick in the team’s final two exhibitions. His last kick in a game, aside from the ensuing kickoff, was an Aug. 19 extra-point attempt in which he slipped to the ground while converting against the Los Angeles Rams. Janikowski has appeared in 268 regular-season games, a franchise record, and owns NFL records in field-goal conversions (55) and attempts (100) from at least 50 yards.
A few days earlier, he reportedly took a pay cut from $4.05 million to $3 million.
It appears he therefore will earn less on injured reserve than he would’ve otherwise.
Technically, a player who is placed on IR is eligible to return at least eight weeks later in the same season. That likely won’t apply here. A club can activate a maximum of two players from IR in a given season. The Raiders already intend to do with guard-tackle Denver Kirkland (foot) and rookie safety Obi Melifonwu (knee).
Janikowski’s contract is scheduled to expire in March shortly after his 40th birthday.
It is possible his Raiders tenure is over.
Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at email@example.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.