After former Chiefs kicker Justin Medlock was released by the Washington Redskins and then the Detroit Lions, it was assumed he would return to his team last year, the Toronto Argonauts. Not the case, according to the Argo’s head coach Jim Barker.
“He was a great kicker here, but he had to go and do what he had to do. Sometimes when that happens, teams go and do what they have to do. With [new kicker] Grant [Shaw] it has been great because it has given us some games to watch him and see if he is ready to be the guy and he has done nothing to show us that he isn’t. I mean he has done everything.”
Medlock was initially with the Washington Redskins taking part in their OTA’s and mini-camps before he was cut. Even then he expected he would be making his way to Toronto, but then the Lions stepped in and claimed him in order to give their return teams some practice against a left-footed kicker. In the interim, Shaw just got better and better.
“He has really developed himself and (veteran punter) Jamie Boreham has really helped him a lot with his rhythm,” Barker said. “He looks confident and his leg strength has never been a question. That has always been there.”
So far this season, Shaw, a 6-foot-3, 208-pound converted all-Canadian defensive back, has been good on all four field goals he has attempted including a 52-yarder against Winnipeg.
As for Medlock, Barker wasn’t prepared to say just what the plan was.
“Justin just cleared (NFL) waivers, he just cleared,” Barker said. “Now we have basically five days to make a decision on him. But if Grant continues doing what he is doing — to use an import spot there doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
It’s not often you hear about a player hurting his chances in the CFL due to his time spent with an NFL team. There are guys that will get a look in Canada after simply working out for a team at this level.
Unfortunately for Medlock, it looks like he is going to be without work longer than he expected. It has to hurt a bit more to have such a solid season followed by a stint in the NFL just to have your job taken by a guy that is still learning how to kick.