Jeff Chandler may have been back in a familiar element, but he still felt pressure when he went out for his first field goal attempt as a Redskin on Saturday afternoon at Monster Park in San Francisco.
Chandler had been out of the league since early in the 2004 season when he was released by the Carolina Panthers. Signed by the Redskins last week, Chandler wanted to prove to the NFL that he could be a reliable kicker and also prove to the 49ers, the team that drafted him in 2002 and then released him a year later, that they had made a mistake.
Chandler converted the field goal, a 49-yarder, and went on to connect on four field goal attempts in the Redskins' 26-16 win over the 49ers.
"It's pretty special for me," he said. "Any time I can come back here and prove to everyone what I can do, I take the challenge and run with it. I feel like that's what I did [on Saturday]."
Chandler's new teammates insisted that head coach Joe Gibbs give the kicker a game ball for his effort in the Redskins' win.
Said Gibbs: "Jeff did a good job for us. You give him credit. When a guy gets a chance, you like to see him make the most of it."
The Redskins turned to Chandler after John Hall was placed on the injured reserve last week with an upper quad injury and Ola Kimrin had visa issues in trying to return from Sweden.
Earlier this season, Chandler spent time on the rosters of the Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams before appearing in two games for the Carolina Panthers. He was released by the Panthers in November.
A walk-on at Florida, Chandler finished his collegiate career as the Gators' all-time leading scorer with 368 points. He played for former Redskins head coach Steve Spurrier while at Florida.
Hall is expected to return at full health next year. So that means Chandler is viewing his opportunity with the Redskins as an audition for a job with all 32 NFL teams in 2005.
But that's next year. For now, Chandler wants to help the Redskins close out the regular season on an upbeat note.
"Really, my top priority is to help the team win," Chandler said. "There are only two more games left, but there's still a lot of pride in that locker room and I don't want to let anybody down."