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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Losing K Barth could prove costly for Bucs

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Published:   |   Updated: July 18, 2013 at 06:38 AM

TAMPA - As he left Friday night to play in a charity basketball game in his hometown of Wilmington, N.C., Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth encouraged his local Twitter followers to come out and watch him "throw up some bricks.''

If only Barth's night had bottomed out with a few bad shots.

The Bucs all-time field-goal percentage leader, Barth ruptured his right Achilles tendon during the basketball game and will miss the entire 2013 football season after having surgery on Monday, the team announced .

Barth would not comment on the matter Wednesday, saying his agent told him not to conduct interviews. He previously told Bob Bonner of WECT TV in Wilmington that he "hopes"' to begin kicking again in six months and was "feeling good" after the surgery.

The Bucs on Wednesday called that surgery successful and placed Barth on the Non-Football Injury list. The move allows the team to rework Barth's four-year, $13.2 million contract in a way that would reduce Barth's salary while he is on the reserved list.

The Bucs also acted quickly Wednesday to fill the void, signing nine-year veteran Lawrence Tynes to a one-year deal, though Barth's loss is blow to an offense that ranked ninth overall in the NFL last year.

Designated Tampa Bay's "franchise player'' in 2012 before signing the four-year contract, Barth has become one of the most reliable kickers in the league since joining the Bucs in 2009.

Barth holds franchise records in field-goal percentage for a single season (92.9 in 2011) and all-time (84.3). He has connected on 101 of 120 field goal tries as a pro, including 91 of 102 for the Bucs.

He also holds the team record for consecutive field goals made with 25 and shares an NFL record with four others for making three field goals of 50 yards or more in one game.

"We are disappointed to lose a productive player like Connor, but are very fortunate to be able to sign an experienced kicker at this time of year," Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said in a statement.

"Lawrence and his agent, Ken Harris, had other standing opportunities, but we are pleased that they thought this was the right place for Lawrence to continue his career."

Tynes spent the first three years of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, but spent the past six with the New York Giants. His recent history suggests he might be able to match Barth's level of consistency. Tynes has made 190 of 233 field goals overall (81.5 percent), including 33 of 39 last season (84.6 percent).

Tynes, though, has not been as proficient at connecting on the long ball as Barth.

During his five years in the league, Barth has made good on 12 of 18 field goal tries from 50 yards or more. Tynes has hit just 11 of 21 during a nine-year career.

Tynes does have the ability to connect in the clutch, though.

He kicked the Giants into the Super Bowl in 2008 by connecting on a 47-yard field goal in overtime to beat Green Bay in the NFC title game at sub-freezing Lambeau Field. Three years later, Tynes once again kicked an NFC title-winning field goal in overtime, a 31-yarder against San Francisco at windy Candlestick Park.

Tynes is the only player in NFL history to record two postseason game-winning field goals in overtime.

The Giants went on to beat the New England in the Super Bowl for the second time in five seasons (2007, 2012).

The Super Bowl victories were decided by a combined seven points, with Tynes making good on each of three field goal tries and three extra-point attempts to account for 12 total points.

The NFL's first Scottish-born player (Greenock, Scotland), Tynes' signing with the Bucs marks a bit of a homecoming. His family moved to Milton when he was 10. He later attended Troy University, where he graduated with a degree in criminal justice.

The loss of Barth, meanwhile, marks the third time in as many years the Bucs lost a key player to an Achilles tendon injury.

Fullback Earnest Graham tore his Achilles tendon during a loss to the Chicago Bears in London in October 2011 and has not played since. In May 2012, defensive end Da'Quan Bowers tore his right Achilles tendon during an offseason workout at One Buc Place, forcing him to miss the first six weeks of 2012.

rcummings@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7979

Twitter: @RCummingsTBO

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