By DAVID GRAVELY
SWT Sports Editor
Former Pulaski County Cougar and Virginia Tech Hokie kicker Shayne Graham was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday afternoon.
While at Pulaski County, Graham set the record for most field goals in a season with 28 between 1992 and 1995. He also set the records for most field goals in a season with 15 in 1995, and the longest field goal on record with a 54-harder against Anacostia in 1995.
During his freshman season, Graham hit a 22-yard field goal with just ten seconds remaining in the State semi-final game against Robinson to earn the Cougars a 12-10 victory and a trip to the AAA Division 6 State Championship game. The following week, despite the opinion of most football experts, the Cougars won that game against Thomas Dale to bring home the title.
Graham signed to play football for Virginia Tech, where he went on to become the all-time scoring leader in the history of the Hokies and the Big East with 371 points. He was named to the first-team All-Big East Conference each of his four years. During his senior season in 1999, he was named the Big East Special Teams Player of the Year after leading the conference and breaking the school’s single-season scoring record with 107 points. During his college career, Graham was 68-of-93 (73.1 percent) in field goals and hit a VT and Big East record 97 consecutive extra points.
During his NFL career, Shayne Graham has signed with and played for several teams. He began with the New Orleans Saints, but quickly moved to the Seattle Seahawks. After being cut before the end of the pre-season, he finally singed with the Buffalo Bills, where he finished out the season playing in the final six games.
The 2002 season found him back in Seattle, but he was again released and then signed with the Carolina Panthers. Graham played in 11 of the Panthers final 13 games, leading the team in scoring with 60 points. He was 13-of-18 on field goals and averaged 66 yards on his five kickoffs. He was released at the end of the 2003 pre-season.
Graham would spend the next six seasons (2003-2009) with the Cincinnati Bengals after being claimed on waivers, where he would remain through the 2009 season. In his first season, Graham would play in all 16 games and set a franchise record by making 22-of-25 field goals (88 percent). Prior to the following season, the Jacksonville Jaguars made Graham an offer, but the Bengals matched that offer to keep the trusty kicker. In return, Graham picked right back up where he left off, hitting 27-of-31 field goals (87.1 percent). He also scored a franchise record 131 points, was selected to be the kicker for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, and helped the Bengals record their first winning season since 1990. Graham was also the first kicker in franchise history to be selected to play in the Pro Bowl.
The 2010 season found him back in the Ravens camp, but he quickly moved to the New York Giants, where he played in one game. One month later, he found himself with the New England Patriots. Throughout the remainder of that season, he was 12-for-12 on field goals and 35-of-37 on extra points.
He started the 2011 season with the Washington Redskins, but then moved to the Dallas Cowboys. From there he went to the Miami Dolphins, and then back to the Ravens to finish out the season.
His next stop took him to Texas, where he signed with the Houston Texans on May 7, 2012. By August he has been named the teams starting kicker. On January 13, 2013, Graham set his career record longest field goal with a 55-yard field goal against the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs.
After being released from the Texans in the off-season, Graham signed with the Cleveland Browns on April 15, 2013, but was cut on August 31.
By signing with the Steelers, Graham has now been, at one point, on the roster of all four AFC North teams. His addition to the Steelers was required due to an injured hamstring for their normal starter, Shaun Suisham.