The Lions signed kicker Alex Henery Monday to replace rookie kicker Nate Freese who was a disappointment after going 3-of-7 on field goal attempts in the first three games.
Freese, a seventh-round pick in May’s draft, beat out Giorgio Tavecchio in training camp. He was 2-of-5 in the first two games. But Sunday he was 1-of-2 with a miss of 41 yards indoors in Sunday's 19-7 win over the Green Bay Packers.
The Lions worked out several kickers last week but ultimately gave Freese one more Sunday.
Henery spent the last three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was 23-of-28 on field goal attempts in 2013 with a long of 51 yards. In his three-year career in Philadelphia he was 74-of-86, an 86-percent success rate.
“We had a number of guys come in and had them go through a battery of tests in terms of kicking duties and things of that nature and felt (Henery) was the best out of the bunch,’’ Caldwell said. “He was accurate, he was really decisive in terms of his kicks. He has experience in the league and is going to be able to do the things we require him to do.’’
Henery was cut in August after he was 1 of 3 on field goals in the preseason.
Henery played for Nebraska where he set an NCAA record for field goal accuracy with a 89.5 success rate.
The 27-year-old Henery was one of three kickers who worked out for the Lions last week.
Caldwell cannot pinpoint what happened to Freese who didn’t miss a field goal in his senior season at Boston College.
“Sometimes it’s a difficult thing to put your finger on. In this particular sport at this particular level it’s difficult, you get heavily scrutinized, the pressure mounts on you as well,’’ Caldwell said. “He’s a guy that’s very capable. It’s pretty obvious that we thought he was very, very good at what he does.''
Caldwell still thinks Freese still has a chance to make it as an NFL kicker.
“In the long run he’s not the first guy that’s been drafted that’s been released at that particular position,’’ Caldwell said. “Most of them when you look at their records and where they’ve been — have been at several different places and at one point in time get settled in and kick for a long period of time.’’
Of course the Lions were spoiled for 21 years after they drafted Jason Hanson in the second round of the 1992 draft.
Henery will join three other Lions who went to Nebraska — Ndamukong Suh, Dominic Raiola and Mohammed Seisay.