ALAMEDA, Calif. (KTVU) - In the Raiders season opener, kicker Georgia Tavecchi became the first player in league history to make two field goals of 50 or more yards in his NFL debut. And then he won special teams player for the week.
Talk about your unlikely heroes. Georgia Tavecchio, a Bay Area guy and former Campolindo high and Cal star, made his NFL debut more than five years after graduation.
“Absolutely amazing,” said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. “Some of these things are like a movie, you know?”
That movie script has been shot on location in Green Bay, Detroit, San Francisco, and now in Oakland – six training camps in all, with 4 different teams. This is the first time he wasn’t sent packing at summer’s end.
“All 4 years that I've been here, he's been around in OTAs, been in camp, and then we cut him,” Carr said. “Then every time he comes back it's like, ‘Oh, what's up man!’”
And while Tavecchio is accustomed to being cut, he expresses gratitude for the consistent invite he’s received from the Raiders.
“I've been very fortunate because I've been called back 3 years in a row here,” Tavecchio said. “Whether it's because I'm good looking or left footed I don't know. I hope it's for the former.”
“You give a lot of yourself, and when you're rejected so many times it's a lot to put yourself back out there. You experience a lot of good, a lot of bad, a lot of ugly.”
But what about the time between camps? You know, the other 10 months of the year.
“I always worked part time, worked a little bit in real estate, was a tutor for a while, and helped out the Cal kicker,” Tavecchio said. “I was living in NY this offseason working for a tech company. You try not to shirk your real world responsibilities while you chase this very elusive and wild crazy dream.”
Now, that dream is finally reality. Though for how long, nobody knows. At some point Sebastian Janikowski will re-claim his job and Tavecchio will - once again – become a casualty of the system. Though if he keeps booting 50-yard field goals, perhaps another team will come calling.
“He's really developed himself and is now getting a great opportunity, so I am super proud of him for the grit, the perseverance, and for staying the course and continuing to believe,” said Head Coach Jack Del Rio.
“Shakespeare said it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” Tavecchio said. “Sometimes I question that. Again, right now I am grateful for that. In 20 years, hopefully I will look back and, whatever happens, know I gave it everything.
Giorgio admits he considered not coming back to camp this season, though he wouldn't say how close he came to that. He said he decided he wanted to be a part of something special. Who knew that would happen week 1 of the regular season?