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Matt Bahr tutoring Jets kickers

July 25, 1997

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ There’s a marquee name involved the race for the New York Jets’ placekicking job.

Rather than having a chance for the job, however, Matt Bahr is just doing some part-time tutoring of the younger guys for his former boss with the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, coach Bill Parcells.

Don Silvestri and John Hall are two unproven kickers battling for the kicking job. Parcells cut Bahr in camp last summer with the Patriots. The 41-year-old, 18-year veteran hasn’t played since.

``Matt would like to be a permanent member of the Boys Club,″ Parcells said Thursday at the team’s Hofstra University training base. ``I’m not thinking like that. I would hate to do it. I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t if I ever got desperate.

``But don’t say, `Parcells said that Matt Bahr is a possibility,′ because he’s not. That would be unfair to him. I told him he wasn’t.″

So the job will go to either Silvestri or Hall, unless they both prove they can’t kick straight. And they both have yet to prove that they can.

Neither Silvestri nor Hall own an NFL regular-season field-goal attempt. Both own reputations for having strong legs and questionable accuracy.

The 23-year-old Hall is a rookie free agent out of Wisconsin. He made good on only 29 of his 51 field-goal tries in his career with the Badgers. But he did launch one 60 yards once in a win over Minnesota in 1995.

Hall went 14 of 21 last season, including seven out of eight in one stretch. He kicked off 76 times, earning touchbacks on 53 of them.

Silvestri, meanwhile, is a 28-year-old lefty who spent the last two seasons with the Jets.

Veteran Nick Lowery, who wasn’t re-signed for this year, took the field goals. Silvestri handled most of the kickoffs.

Indeed, the former Pitt player led the AFC in touchbacks with 14 two years ago.

His resume also includes trips to training camp with the Seattle Seahawks in 1992, Sacramento of the CFL in ’93 and the Buffalo Bills in ’94, and he ended up that year on Baltimore’s practice squad in the CFL.

``I feel real comfortable,″ Silvestri said. ``This is my fifth NFL camp. So I’m familiar with it. I’ve been through two seasons and seen what Nick’s done and been able to be in the situations of games and seen all the variables that go along with it.″

Silvestri said being around Lowery was a huge plus.

``I learned a lot from Nick,″ he said, ``just his dedication and his professionalism, his work habits, things that he did to make himself focused each day so he was prepared to kick.″

Each of the last two springs, Silvestri got his kicks with the London Monarchs of the World League.

The numbers weren’t good during this past spring as he missed six of 11 field goals. But Silvestri said 10 of the 11 kicks were from the 43 or beyond, and that he had to get used to three different holders. He also made a 43-yarder in the final seconds that won a game.

``It was good both times, especially this spring, because there was a real purpose to get the experience of being out there with teamwork, whether it was in practice or in the games,″ Silvestri said. ``It was a good learning experience.″

He feels he has enough experience now to claim this job.

``I’m real confident,″ Silvestri said. ``I’ve been after getting to this position for years now. Being that this is my fifth camp, this is my time. I feel like I’m capable of kicking field goals in the league.″

Parcells said the choice between Silvestri and Hall might come down to the last cut unless both start misfiring regularly.

``I think the cutoff point will be the 53 cut,″ Parcells said. ``Or if it looks like it’s going to be a problem and then I can find a solution prior to that, then I would do it. But I’m not ready to say that it’s a problem yet.

``Matt’s working with them. Matt likes their potential.″

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