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Younghoe Koo Reacts to Winning Kicking Battle
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That’s what Younghoe Koo said in early May after the Los Angeles Chargers signed him to battle Josh Lambo.
In what General Manger Tom Telesco called a difficult decision, the undrafted free agent came out on top as he’ll enter the season opener as the Bolts’ kicker.
Koo was understandably on edge waiting to learn his fate. That’s why he froze when he received a phone call from Special Teams Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach George Stewart.
“I was speechless,” he said. “I got the call, and I didn’t know what to expect in that moment. (Stewart) said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve made the team.’ When I found out, I didn’t know what to say right away. But I soaked it in for a day. But after that, it was time to go. Reality is, I haven’t done anything yet.”
That type of mindset is exactly what a kicker needs to be successful in the NFL. Koo earned significant buzz over the weekend, thanks in large part to a trick shot that went viral on social media after word came down he made the team.
Still, his goal is to be more than an internet sensation. It’s to help the Chargers win a Super Bowl.
“I did that (video) three years ago, so I’m used to (the attention). It is what it is, but it did blow up again. It’s fun and all, but at the end of the day, I’m not doing that in the game. I want to be known as a kicker, not (an internet star).”
Thus, his attitude remains the same despite winning the kicker competition.
“Nothing really changes,” he said. “I was competing against Josh during the offseason, but like I said, I haven’t really done anything yet. Preseason is the preseason. Now it’s time for real football. The stats all say zero. I need to earn everything.”
The fact Koo is even in this position is a minor miracle. He arrived in New Jersey from South Korea when he was 12 years old having never even heard of football.
“I wasn’t even going to play football (even) after learning about it in middle school. My parents and I were deciding between football and soccer. My dad said, ‘You’re in America; go with football.’ I’ve got to give him some credit because it’s worked out.”
Koo is grateful to have punter Drew Kaser and long snapper Mike Windt in his corner as he embarks on his rookie campaign. After all, Kaser was in his very shoes just a year ago while Windt is a seasoned veteran with seven years of experience under his belt.
“That’s huge for me. Drew was a rookie last year, so he knows what it’s like. He can tell me what the transition is like to be fresh out of college. And Mike, having him is big as well because he’s been here for so long. Having that knowledge is huge.” Read