“They were all very, very talented guys,” special teams coach Darrin Simmons said, referring also to Billy Cundiff and former Bengal Neil Rackers. “They all kicked pretty good. It was kind of a gut feeling a little bit. I’ve got a lot of confidence in (Brown). I know he’s been good kicking game-winners.”
He began this season with the New York Jets and kicked a 42-yard field goal in a 17-6 preseason loss to the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. But the Jets waived him after the third preseason game, and he’s been waiting for a call since.
“It’s a matter of just staying ready and prepared and being patient,” said the 33-year-old Brown, who had tryouts with Washington and Arizona earlier this season. “I haven’t given up on the possibilities of getting another shot. It’s a good thing because we’ve been kicking a lot and we’re prepared and ready to go.”
Nugent injured his right calf Wednesday morning practicing onside kicks. He said he isn’t sure how long the injury will keep him out of action, but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis indicated the injury isn’t serious.
“He tweaked a muscle,” Lewis said. “Not anything that we have to lop off a limb for. We’ll be all right. I think he’ll be fine. Day to day.”
It’s the second time Nugent has been injured on an onside kick. He tore his ACL while trying to recover an onside kick at Indianapolis in 2010.
“What happened to me (Wednesday), I feel like I’ve done everything right and why would this happen to me right now?” asked Nugent, who is 35-of-35 on PATs this season and 19 of 23 on field goals, including a career-long 55-yarder two weeks ago.
“It’s out of my control now,” Nugent added. “All I can control is trying to work at it. The timeframe, I have no idea.”
It’s the third time in five seasons the Bengals have had to change kickers. In addition to the Nugent injury in 2010, which led to the signing of Aaron Pettrey and later Clint Stitsinger, Shayne Graham missed two games with a groin injury in 2008 and was replaced by Dave Rayner.
“It’s not something I want to make a habit of, but it is what it is,” Simmons said. “There were a few more to pick from this year than last time.”
Brown has converted 220-of-272 field goals (80.9 percent) in his career and 302-of-304 PATs (99.3 percent). He led the NFL with 33 field goals made in 2010, and his career long is a 58 yards.
He said even if his time in Cincinnati doesn’t last beyond Sunday, he’s excited about the chance.
“It’s an opportunity to finish strong and hopefully somebody somewhere is looking for a veteran kicker that can come in and do a solid job,” Brown said. “This will be an opportunity to kind of push me into the offseason and going into a camp next year.”