Zane Gonzalez Released by Browns After Multiple Missed FGs vs. Saints

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 16: Zane Gonzalez #2 of the Cleveland Browns reacts to their loss against the New Orleans Saints 21-18  at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 16, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns released second-year kicker Zane Gonzalez on Monday after he missed two field goals and two extra points in the 21-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 2, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

During Sunday's game, the 23-year-old missed what would have been a go-ahead extra point with 1:16 remaining before missing a potential game-tying field goal from 52 yards out with eight seconds left.

That performance came on the heels of Gonzalez missing a 43-yard field goal in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. Cleveland was forced to settle for a 21-21 tie.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Browns will sign Greg Joseph, who was previously with the Miami Dolphins. ESPN's Adam Schefter also reported Gonzalez will undergo an MRI on Monday for a groin injury, which may have played a factor in not only the missed field goals but also the release.

After a standout collegiate career at Arizona State, the Browns selected Gonzalez with the No. 224 overall pick in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL draft.

As a rookie, Gonzalez made 15 of his 20 field-goal attempts and was 25-of-26 on extra points.

His opportunities were few and far between since the Browns finished 0-16, but general manager John Dorsey and head coach Hue Jackson couldn't stand idly by after two poor showings this season.

WKYC's Ben Axelrod was one of many pundits who pinned the New Orleans loss entirely on Gonzalez's shoulders:

Gonzalez had multiple chances to end a Browns winless streak that has stretched beyond 600 days, as their last victory came in Week 16 of the 2016 NFL season against the then-San Diego Chargers.

With several intriguing veteran kickers available on the free-agent market, the Browns could no longer afford to wait out his rough patch.

Although the Browns have been the NFL's doormat since returning to the league in 1999, one thing they had for a long period was a reliable kicking game.

Phil Dawson served as Cleveland's kicker from 1999-2012, and he ranks first in team history in field goals made and second in total points scored behind only Hall of Famer Lou Groza.

The Browns have had six kickers since Dawson departed, and they will try their luck with No. 7 ahead of the team's Week 3 game against the New York Jets on Thursday.

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