In 2020, Rodrigo Blankenship emerged as one of the NFL's most productive kickers.
On Tuesday, he lost his job.
Two days after Blankenship missed a potential game-winning field goal, the Indianapolis Colts are waiving the the 25-year-old kicker, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports. Meanwhile they signed Chase McLaughlin and Lucas Havrisik to the practice squad to compete for the job, per the report.
Blankenship won the Colts job as a rookie in 2020 and went on to connect on 30 of his first 33 field goal attempts. He faltered at the end of his rookie campaign and finished the season hitting 32 of 37 attempts (86.5%) and 43 of 45 extra points (95.6%). He also missed a 33-yard field goal in the Colts' 27-24 loss to the Buffalo Bills that postseason.
He connected on 11 of 14 field goals in 2021 before a hip injury sidelined him after Week 5. Michael Badgley replaced him and remained the Colts kicker after Blankenship recovered form his injury. Blankenship won his job back in training camp this summer in a competition with Jake Verity.
He connected on 2 of 3 field goals in the Colts' season-opener against the Texans on Sunday. He missed a 42-yard attempt with 2:00 remaining in overtime that would have secured victory for Indianapolis. He also sent two kickoffs out of bounds. The two teams played to a 20-20 tie when neither scored in the extra session.
Per the Indianapolis Star, special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone expressed confidence in Blankenship after the missed field goal, telling reporters: "I think Rod is a good kicker.” Meanwhile, head coach Frank Reich alluded to his potential dismissal with reporters alongside taking meetings with general manager Chris Ballard to discuss his status.
“If you play long enough, you’re going to have a bad day, or bad days," Reich said. "Your confidence is going to waver. It’s how you respond to that, and it’s everybody, there’s no exception.” ... "Do we have the patience for a guy to bounce back?"
The Colts will need to decide on a new kicker prior to Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.