For four games last season, Graham Gano lived out his NFL dream.
Now Gano hopes that dream continues.
Gano signed a rookie contract with the Redskins last Dec. 8, replacing Shaun Suisham as the team's place kicker.
He played in the last four games of the season and converted all four of his field goal attempts. He made 6-of-7 extra points, his only miss a blocked attempt.
Earlier in 2009, Gano was with the UFL's Las Vegas Locomotives, where he converted 13-of-16 field goal attempts and all 20 PATs. In the UFL championship game, Gano kicked a game-winning, 33-yard field goal in overtime as the Locomotives defeated the Florida Tuskers 20-17.
Turns out that high point was only a prelude to his time with the Redskins.
"I'm happy I got this opportunity with the Redskins and it's something I have been dreaming about for a long time," Gano said. "From the UFL to here, I really want to take advantage of this opportunity.
"I feel like I have to perform well, but I'm not putting any pressure on myself. I'm just trying to go out there to do my job."
The Redskins have been seeking out a long-term solution at place kicker since Chip Lohmiller left the team in 1994.
Some of the kickers that have passed through Redskins Park since that time include Eddie Murray, Scott Blanton, Cary Blanchard, David Akers, Brett Conway, Eddie Murray, John Hall and Nick Novak.
Suisham had served as the Redskins' kicker since December 2006 and it appeared he was on his way to solidifying the position.
Then, on Dec. 6 at FedExField, Suisham missed a 23-yard field goal that would have almost certainly given the Redskins a dramatic upset of the unbeaten New Orleans Saints.
It turned out to be pivotal in more ways than one.
New Orleans rallied to win 33-30 in overtime. Had the Saints lost that game, they may not have had home field advantage through the NFC playoffs, making their road to the Super Bowl significantly harder.
For Suisham, it was the end of the line in Washington. He was released two days later. (He would finish out the season with the Dallas Cowboys.)
Suisham's miss was Gano's gain.
Gano, who won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's best college kicker in 2008 at Florida State, knows he has plenty of work ahead of him to claim the Redskins' job next season.
Gano was the only Redskins' place kicker on the roster until Feb. 12, when the team signed Justin Medlock to a futures contract.
Medlock spent last season in the Canadian Football League. He had brief NFL stints with the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.
Gano said he welcomes competition.
"There are a ton of things I can improve on," he said. "A lot of what I've learned is how to play the game as a kicker. Coach [Danny] Smith always tells me, 'I have a lot of talent but I don't have a lot of game.'
"It's just learning to kick balls to the left or the right, high, deep--wherever I need to. And I need to be consistent with my field goal form. I'm hoping I can keep doing well, and then see what happens."