Blair Walsh is back in the NFL. On Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons announced that they have signed Walsh, a former All-Pro kicker who was out of football last season. Walsh was signed two days after Falcons kicker Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 39-yard attempt in Atlanta’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins. Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn said that he would continue to evaluate the position during his postgame press conference.
The University of Georgia’s all-time leading scorer (as well as the second-leading scorer in SEC history), Walsh was the 175th overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. During his first season with the Minnesota Vikings, Walsh earned All-Pro honors while connecting on an NFL best 35 field goal attempts. Walsh also led the NFL in 2015 with 34 made field goal attempts.
Walsh’s career took a turn for the worst at the end of the 2015 regular season. After making all three of his previous attempts in the Vikings’ 2015 wild-card game against the visiting Seattle Seahawks, Walsh missed a 27-yard attempt with 26 seconds remaining that sealed Minnesota’s 10-9 loss.
An 85.2 percent field goal kicker prior to his playoff miss, Walsh missed just 12 of his 16 attempts during the first half of the 2016 season (while also missing four of his 19 point-after attempts) before being released by the Vikings. Walsh was unable to turn things around during his one season in Seattle, making a career-low 72.4 percent of his field-goal attempts in 2017.
In six seasons, Walsh has made 82.4 percent of his field-goal attempts and 95.1 percent of his point-after attempts. Tavecchio, who broke into the NFL with the Oakland Raiders in 2017 before signing with the Falcons last season, has made 21 of his 26 career field goal attempts and all but one of his 42 career point-after attempts.