P Shane Lechler. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q:For you this is kind of old, but for your locker mate [Sebastian Janikowski] how happy were you to see him get in?
Lechler:I was very excited for him, well overdue you know? He's had an outstanding season and he's made a lot of big kicks for us already and yes, it's definitely overdue. I was excited for him.
Q:How special is it for you to head back again, does it ever get any less special?
Lechler:No it doesn't because I mean any time you can be voted in by other players and coaches around the league and your fans, it means a little bit more than a different award would. When it's voted on by peers it's something that I like a lot.
Q:Shane, where do you prefer the game be played? Do you prefer here or in Hawaii?
Lechler:Hawaii no doubt. When it was in Miami I think that was the worst thing we could've done.
Q:Is this the best year you've had as a punter?
Lechler:No, the year three years ago when we set the net record was a pretty good year. That year I also chased Sammy Baugh's record all the way to about week 15 or 16. I think that was my best year.
Q:Just seems like the art of cornering it, you've had a couple of kicks that are almost like a golf club or something.
Lechler:You know, I think that part of it has been pretty good you know knocking balls down inside the 10 and inside the five, but also still have eight touchbacks, granted three or four of them were punts of 70 yards or more. So kind of hard to control that.
Q:How cool is it to have you, Sebastian [Janikowski], David Akers and [Andy] Lee going to the Pro Bowl, what are the odds of that?
Lechler:Yes, it's going to be good. It'll be fun out there because we know those guys pretty well. Hopefully we can play some golf with them or something and see how good they are.
Q:Back when you guys were 7-4 you made a point of saying we haven't done anything yet and then sure enough lose a few games in a row, how do you feel about the way you bounced back from that? Those two one sided road losses looked pretty bad, but to be able to get back on track even after that Detroit loss and then have yourselves in this position?
Lechler:It feels good bouncing back and winning at Kansas City, but I knew when we were 7-4 that was just 7-4. We hadn't done anything yet and the way the seasons kind of gone we win two or three in a row and then all of a sudden two bad games. It seems like it's been going that way the whole time, and for us to bounce back and win at Kansas City now with having the Chargers coming here and with us having a lot to play for, I'm anxious to see how we respond to it. Granted this is the biggest game for us all season this weekend.
Q:Shane, obviously the goal is to win a Super Bowl championship, but you and Sebastian have rewritten the record books here at the Raiders. We've had a tradition of great special team players, especially a punter. You have one more mark of Ray Guy's to pass and then you own them all, how does that feel?
Lechler:It feels good. Any time I get put in the same category as Ray in anything I take great pride in that. I'm just fortunate right now. I'm hitting the ball as good as I have in a long time and things are just working out for me right now. The main thing is I stayed healthy all year. Two years ago kind of dealt a little bit with that sports hernia stuff and its hard to kind of knock off. This year I've stayed healthy and hit the ball well and we'll see.
Q:How much fun has it been to get to throw the ball this year?
Lechler:Oh it's been fun because granted we've done it before in practice, but I like it, it makes it a little bit interesting, I guess you would say. Makes the kicking game a little bit more interesting, so it's been fun, fun to practice it and fun to joke around with the guys doing it, it's pretty good.
Q:Shane, because you've been here for both of the highs in the early century and the lows the last seven years, do you appreciate it a little more being in this position then some of the guys who are only third, fourth year?
Lechler:I think everybody in the locker room wants to win and wants to win now. My situation is hopefully get to see this thing go full circle. I had it great when I first got here with the AFC championship game my rookie year and then the snow game up in New England and then the Super Bowl, and then not much after that. To see it come all the way back full circle, last year 8-8, it's kind of like the millennium year when the Raiders, right before I got here when they won at Kansas City with the field goal at the end of the game. Just to see it go full circle would be good.
Q:When you and Sebastian came in together did you ever think you'd be together for 12 years and setting all these records?
Lechler:No I didn't. Any time two people can be at the same place for 12 years together, you just don't see that. It's unheard of right now. I guess Baltimore has Ed Reed and Ray [Lewis], those two guys, but as far as kickers and punters there are so many of them out there and I think we're very fortunate to be here together this long.