KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Harrison Butker made a bunch of new friends Tuesday. When the Kansas City Chiefs placed kicker Cairo Santos on injured reserve with a groin injury, they signed the former Georgia Tech standout from the Carolina Panthers practice squad.
The Chiefs actually called Butker on Monday and the signing became official Tuesday. Soon after the announcement, Butker, who addressed the media for the first time Thursday at the team’s training complex, gained a couple thousand new followers on Twitter. His numbers, of course, no doubt helped by his unique Twitter handle — @buttkicker87.
“It came from a trainer at Georgia Tech my freshman year,” Butker said. “People say a lot of stuff about my last name being Butker, and I kind of made it a funny thing to be ‘butt kicker’ so I just went with it.”
Butker, who finished his career as Georgia Tech’s all-time leading scorer, was drafted by the Panthers in the seventh round of this year’s draft and was in a battle with veteran Graham Gano for the kicking job but ultimately lost out. However, Butker made both of his field goals and all four of his extra points during the preseason.
“I learned a lot of stuff from Graham,” Butker said. “I think technique-wise, I learned about being smooth and very calm and collected. NFL football is all about accuracy. It doesn’t matter how big of a ball you can kick, you’ve got to be accurate.”
At Georgia Tech, Butker made 15 of 17 field goals as a senior and connected on all 46 of his PATs.
“He was a good kicker in college, and we liked him coming out,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He’s got a strong leg.”
Butker said his range is around 55 to 60 yards.
“I think most kickers can do that,” Butker said. “In the NFL, you kind of have to do that. Wherever they put me, I’m comfortable. From 60 and in, I don’t think I’m changing anything. I just have to kick it smooth.”
The Chiefs are hoping Butker will do just that when they play the Washington Redskins at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Arrowhead Stadium. And Butker can’t wait to get started.
“Obviously it’s a big stage,” Butker said. “But I have to treat it like any other game. I’ve heard it’s a loud, exciting, vibrant stadium so I’m looking forward to that. So it’s all good things. I mean, what a way to start my career. I’m really looking forward to it.”
INJURY UPDATE — Dee Ford (back) and Mitch Morse (foot) missed practice on Thursday.