After getting cut by the Redskins following the season opener, kicker Kai Forbath returns to FedExField Sunday and will reunite with friends and former teammates Nick Sundberg and Tress Way.
Long snapper Nick Sundberg texts him after every game and trades stories during online "Call of Duty" sessions. Punter Tress Way chats with him at least once a week, and always stays competitive through a mobile game of dominos.
In the two months since the Redskins cut kicker Kai Forbath, who spent three seasons in Washington, he hasn't strayed far from his two closest former teammates. Which, you could say, makes Sunday, when the Redskins host the Saints at FedExField, more like a reunion than another afternoon of football.
"You definitely look forward to games like this," said Sundberg, who said it was a "happy ending" when the Saints signed Forbath a month ago and gave the UCLA product another chance to kick in the NFL.
"I was definitely disappointed [when he left]," Sundberg said. "It was kind of good to develop a solid friendship over the last four years, but I was definitely happy to see him get picked up by New Orleans…We all know what we sign up for in this business. It is a business first. So you can't complain when things like that happen. You've just got to kind of trust the guys upstairs and let them make those kinds of decisions."
Forbath made 59-of-67 career field goals in his time with the Redskins and made one-of-two in the team's opener against the Dolphins this year. He was cut the following week, a decision made by the front office and staff based on the need for a stronger leg, primarily for kickoff purposes.
The Redskins promptly signed Dustin Hopkins, who was coincidentally cut by the Saints following training camp, after an impressive tryout. Since joining the team, he's connected on 12-of-13 field goals and made all 14 of his extra points. He's also done his job creating plenty of touchbacks for the opposing team.
"We were looking for someone with a little bit stronger leg for the kickoff part of it," head coach Jay Gruden told New Orleans reporters this week. "Kai is an accurate kicker and we all know that, but I think as an all-around kicker, we were looking for a little bit more strength in the leg and Hopkins really did an excellent job at the workout and we decided to make a move and he has been very impressive throughout the season so far."
"They gave me my start there," Forbath told NOLA.com this week. "It's a business. That's a part of it."
A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins kicker Kai Forbath during the 2014 season.
But business isn't always easy to digest, especially for three players that went to movies, community events and other D.C. sports team's games as a trio.
"If anything I'm excited to give him a hard time because he's No. 5 for the Saints, so I can tease him saying that I knew deep down he always looked up to me somehow," Way said, who wears the same number with the Redskins. "You have such a level of respect for everyone that plays in the league. I just hope he does well. I hope he's having a good time and I hope he gets to stay there for a long time."
Sundberg said he hasn't been able to play any video games with Forbath this week, so the two hadn't swapped any of each other's team's secrets. And while it's hard to think about Forbath potentially being crucial in a game's outcome against them, the two have focused their thoughts on an ideal scenario for Sunday.
"We told him we hope he goes 7-for-7 against us with all field goals, but we just beat the brakes off of them," Way said smiling. "I'm happy to see he's landed and at a good spot. I think he's going to do really well."