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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 472

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This is the grave of Rob Bironas.

Born in 1978 in Louisville, Kentucky, Bironas lettered in four sports in high school, including both soccer and football. He was recruited as a kicker to Auburn, where he played between 1997 and 1999. He was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award for college football’s best kicker one year. Despite his success, Auburn’s new coach and possible future wingnut senator Tommy Tuberville replaced him when he was hired for the 1999 season, partially because he struggled early in the year and then because he died his hair orange, which led Tuberville to suspend him. This gives you a sense of the type of senator Tuberville will be. Anyway, Bironas then transferred to Georgia Southern, at that time a lower division school, which meant he could play without sitting out a year. He kicked there his senior year in 2000 with success. But his path to the NFL was by no means smooth. He actually transferred back to Auburn after his senior year to complete his degree but wanted to kick professionally. He was in the Green Bay Packers training camp in 2002 but was cut. In 2003, he did latch on to the Charleston Swamp Foxes of the Arena League and played for a few other Arena teams, but was really quite inaccurate.

Still, after more NFL tryouts, in 2005, he managed to become the kicker for the Tennessee Titans and soon became one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers. He started developing an astounding range that went out to 60 yards. In 2007, he set the NFL record with 8 field goals in one game and was first team All-Pro that year as well. He remained a pretty accurate kicker for the Titans through 2013. But after that year, the Titans went in a different direction. At the start of the 2014 season, Bironas was still without a job. Just a few months earlier, he had married Terry Bradshaw’s daughter. Unfortunately, Bironas’ behavior was becoming erratic. On September 20, 2014, a very drunk Bironas got behind the wheel of his 2009 Yukon Denali, drove at a high speed, crashed, and died. He had an blood alcohol content of 0.218, almost three times the legal limit. He was 36 years old.

Rob Bironas is buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee.

This grave visit was covered by LGM reader donations. I am presently preparing a trip to North Carolina, so if you want me to visit some lovely southerners, make it happen! Also, If you would like this series to visit more kickers, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Lou Groza is in North Olmstead, Ohio and Garo Yepremian is in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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