May 29, 2024

Lucas Havrisik grew up in Riverside County and attended Norco High. But after playing in college at Arizona and stints with the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns, Havrisik grew accustomed to being away from home.

So the Rams’ new kicker said Wednesday he had a welcome reminder this week as his plane landed in Southern California.

“Man this is nice,” Havrisik recalled saying to himself.

The Rams hope to enjoy a similar feeling Sunday when Havrisik could make his NFL debut against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

The Rams signed Havrisik off the Browns’ practice squad to replace Brett Maher, who was released Tuesday after missing 51- and 53-yard field-goal attempts and an extra-point attempt during a 24-17 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday.

Maher made all seven field-goal attempts inside 40 yards and seven of nine between 40 and 49 yards, but only three of seven beyond 50 yards.

“It wasn’t like a for-sure decision but it was something that we felt like was the best decision,” coach Sean McVay said Wednesday. “Whether or not it ends up being the right one, you try to weigh the factors and you try to be as accurate with those assessments as possible.”

The Rams have been struggling to find a consistent kicker since deciding to not re-sign Matt Gay after last season.

Gay, a 2021 Pro Bowl selection, signed a four-year contract with the Colts that includes $13 million in guarantees, according to overthecap.com. He has made 12 of 14 field-goal attempts, five of six from beyond 50 yards.

During training camp and the preseason, the Rams evaluated undrafted free agents Tanner Brown and Christopher Dunn before signing Maher. Now they could turn to Havrisik, who has not kicked in a regular-season game.

“You gotta start somewhere, right?” McVay said when asked if he was apprehensive about relying on a kicker with no experience. “All these guys had to be able to get their experience somewhere. So I don’t think that can make you gun-shy. … We’ll evaluate how the week goes. We’ll see how Lucas does.

“Got a couple other guys that you potentially look at via practice squad spots, and then we’ll make the best decision as it relates to how we approach Dallas.”

Havrisik, 24, made 34 of 53 field-goal attempts at Arizona. In September 2022, he signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent, was released six days later and re-signed in January until he was released during roster cuts in August. The Browns then signed him to the practice squad.

Jeremy Springer, the Rams’ special teams assistant, coached Havrisik in college, and McVay said they received positive feedback from Gay.

Havrisik does not have the benefit of rolling into the season after weeks of preparation but said there was no extra pressure.

“You can’t really be in this business without confidence,” he said. “You have to have the confidence you’re going to make every kick. … This is an opportunity for me, so I’m just super excited.”

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