The Cleveland Browns are scheduled to open full squad training camp on July 28.
To celebrate this, we will take a look at how the special teams unit is shaping up for the 2020 season.
This is the first of a two-part series.
In this part, we will focus on the kickers and long snapper.
The second part will focus on the returners.
Placekicker – Austin Seibert
Austin Seibert is 23 years old.
Drafted in the 5th round (170th overall) of the 2019 draft from Oklahoma.
At Oklahoma, he was both the punter and placekicker.
His collegiate performance earned him the 2018 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year Award.
Austin Seibert showed up at Browns training camp in 2019 with the express purpose of earning the starting placekicking duties.
Browns PK Greg Joseph, who is two years older than Seibert, had the job for the 2018 season.
Seibert beat out Joseph for the position at training camp last year with razor-sharp accuracy and consistency and ultimately earned a spot on the Pro Football Writer’s Association All-Rookie Team.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 23, 2019
Seibert is responsible for 105 of the team’s points last season.
He converted 25 of 29 field-goal attempts and 30 extra points.
Punter – Jamie Gillan
Similar to Seibert in age and path to the starting role on the team is the Browns punter Jamie Gillan.
Britton Colquitt was the veteran punter who had been in Cleveland for the 2016-2018 seasons.
The assumption was that he would continue as the starter in 2019 until the Browns undrafted free agent Jamie Gillan showed up at training camp.
Named the “Scottish Hammer” by his high school football coach for his accent and his leg strength, Gillan played rugby in Scotland before his family moved to the US (Lexington Park, Maryland).
When the punter at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff decommitted 3 weeks before camp, the school extended a Facebook invitation for potential punters.
Gillan’s friend sent the school his film, and the school immediately contacted Gillan to offer him the job.
His leg strength is legendary.
He kicked an 80 yard punt as a high schooler.
As the Browns rookie punter, he kicked 63 punts for a total of 2,913 yards.
Gillan’s performance also earned him a spot on the Pro Football Writer’s Association All-Rookie Team.
He is not only talented, but he is also a media darling.
Long snapper – Charley Hughlett
Charley Hughlett is in the midst of a successful second stint in Cleveland.
And his story is certainly one of perseverance.
After being an UDFA in 2012, he bounced around with several teams until signing with the Browns practice squad on September 30, 2014 only to be released 1 week later.
Between teams and contracts (he lost count on how many he signed), there was a 10 month period where no teams called.
He got a job as a personal trainer in Tampa which allowed him to keep his body football ready if he got another chance in the NFL.
On December 24, 2014, Hughlett was signed to the Browns active roster from the Chiefs practice squad and has never looked back.
In fact, he signed a 6-year contract extension in 2017.
Hughlett was one of the team captains during the 2019 season.
He considered it a huge honor given his long road to a starting job.
And let’s face it, fans don’t usually focus on the long snapper unless he makes a mistake that ends up on an ESPN blooper reel.