The Bengals have named kicker
The award honors players who demonstrate commitment to the values of sportsmanship and courage. Each NFL team selects one player as its nominee. Nugent will be honored with other teams’ recipients at the annual awards banquet in Baltimore after the 2011 season.
Nugent’s 2010 season was cut short after nine games by a serious knee injury (torn anterior cruciate ligament). He made a full recovery from the injury in time for the start of 2011 training camp in late July and has played in every game for the Bengals this season. Through Week 14, he leads the NFL in field goal accuracy (92.6 percent on 25-of-27).
“Mike showed focus and tenacity as he rehabilitated his knee following his torn anterior cruciate injury on his kicking leg from 2010,” said Paul Sparling, the team’s Head Athletic Trainer.
Adding to the complexity of an already-difficult recovery was last offseason’s NFL lockout, which prevented contact between players and teams until late July and left Nugent to rehab on his own.
“The lockout added an additional degree of difficulty, which required him to be fully in charge of his recovery,” Sparling said. “In what had the potential to be a career-impacting injury, Mike showed courage and commitment, and as a result returned to pre-injury form at the start of training camp.”
Nugent this season has converted two game-winning FGs late in the fourth quarter – Oct. 2 vs. Buffalo and Nov. 27 vs. Cleveland. His 25 total field goals rank tied for fifth in the NFL.
Nugent entered the NFL in 2005 as a second-round draft pick of the New York Jets, where he spent four seasons. He then briefly spent time with Tampa Bay and Arizona in 2009, before joining the Bengals as a free agent in the spring of 2010.