The Houston Texans have officially signed former Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler, a seven time Pro Bowler and six time All-Pro to a three year, $5.5 million contract. Lechler is also has the highest gross punting average in NFL history.
The veteran punter has a 47.5 yard career punting average over his 13 seasons in the NFL, with his career long being an 80 yarder. Lechler is a native of East Bernard, Texas, played at Texas A&M and has lived in Houston during the offseason for many years now.
Lechler came close to signing with the Texans in the 2009 offseason but said he couldn’t refuse the late Raiders owner Al Davis’ four year, $12 million contract, the highest in history for a punter. “When I hit free agency this year, I knew there was one place that I had in mind and that was here,” said Lechler. “Luckily, it worked out; the situation has worked out. Everything fell into place.”
Lechler was a fifth round draft pick in 2000 by the Raiders. Since then he has set various NFL and Raiders records and has snagged Pro Bowl spots in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Lechler was also named first-team All-Pro in 2001, 2007 and 2011.
In week six of the 2011 season, for the first time in his career, Lechler threw a 35 yard touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss on a fake field goal.
Until the 2012 season, Lechler had gone his entire career without a blocked punt. However, the perfect streak was broken against the San Diego Chargers when Dante Rosario blocked a punt in week one of the 2012 season. Lechler had another blocked just three weeks later by David Bruton of the Denver Broncos.
The kicking tandem for the Texans is now all Texas A&M, with Lechler and kicker Randy Bullock, a fifth-round pick in 2012 who spent the entire season last year on the injured reserve list.