Bullock's Mammoth Month

The Paul Brown Stadium turf means a lot to Randy Bullock.
The Paul Brown Stadium turf means a lot to Randy Bullock.

In case you didn't know, it's been a nice month for Bengals kicker Randy Bullock. A heck of a month, really.

It's been so good it started last month. On the last day of August he surprised his girlfriend when he got down on one knee at Paul Brown Stadium's 50-yard line and asked her to marry. With Brett Young's "In Case You Didn't Know," ringing across the field ("In case you didn't know/Baby I'm crazy 'bout ya/And I would be lyin' if I said/That I could live this life without ya") and their images on the scoreboard, Hailey Hellums signaled that this long-range attempt was good.

Then after Bullock helped the Bengals to a 2-0 start with three field goals in the final 3:59 to negotiate them through some dangerous fourth quarters, the club offered him a more modest proposal. But in the volatile world of NFL kicking, Tuesday's two-year extension through 2020 is as about as solid as it gets for a seven-year kicker.

After a dream start to his career in his hometown of Houston came to a sudden end early in his fourth season, Bullock embarked on the vagabond voyages most pro kickers are accustomed. He's kicked for both the Giants and the Jets and even helped out the dreaded Steelers for a game when Chris Boswell was hurt.

Although some pockets of Bengaldom haven't forgiven him for missing that 2016 Christmas Eve winner in Houston (naturally) just 11 days after he replaced Mike Nugent, he's hit 90 percent of his Bengals' field goals, is riding 14 straight and has been the NFL's eighth most accurate kicker since 2017. It looks like he'll get a chance to run at Shane Graham's all-time accuracy record for the club at 86.76 with 45 more attempts to qualify.

"This is a very good place for me. It feels like home," said Bullock, shortly after he signed the deal hammered out between Bengals vice president of player personnel Paul Brown and agent Eric Metz. "I feel comfortable with Marvin (Lewis) and Darrin (Simmons) and the staff and players. I'm thankful to all of them and the Brown family.

"It's really fallen into place for me," Bullock said. "It's a crazy thing about change and sometimes a fresh start is good. It's really benefitting my career."

Bullock's belief in himself was tested back in July as he left Houston for training camp. The engagement ring wasn't ready yet, so the proposal would be in Cincinnati if he made the club. There looked to be no kicking competition like the previous camp and about halfway through head coach Marvin Lewis let it drop there was no competition despite the bombs from Jonathan Brown's untried leg. But as Bullock admits, "there is always an uneasiness because crazy things happen in this business."

Still, Bullock discussed the proposal scheme with his mother and she liked the idea of a stadium setting. So with a couple of weeks to go before the end of the preseason he began planning with Bengals staff, such as director of operations Jeff Brickner, video vicar Travis Brammer and JungleVision producer Scott Simpson.

"I just felt confident," Bullock said. "How I trained all offseason and prepared this summer. That's the only reason I pulled the trigger."

So the night after the pre-season finale Bullock and Hellums planned a Jeff Ruby's downtown dinner before attending the team party signaling the beginning of the season. But there was a blip in the plans. Bullock told her they needed to stop by the stadium briefly on their way to dinner and she could watch a photo shoot on the field. But as they walked on the field, Young's voice began coating the stadium. "Even though I don't tell you all the time/You had my heart a long long time ago/In case you didn't know."

"I figured it out when the music started," Hellums said. "I thought that was strange music for a media shoot, but he had fooled me until then."

Not bad for a guy that didn't have a home not all that long ago.

"(The Bengals) made it so easy for me so it went pretty smoothly," Bullock said. "I decided to do it at the stadium because it's the reason why we're here. We're thankful to be here. It's a meaningful place for us."

In case you didn't know.

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