The mantra for all NFL players following a bad move is to forget it and move on, and no position trusts that notion more strongly than the kicker, the expert player often seen as expendable if mistakes are made.
Greg Joseph, Cleveland Browns rookie in nine regular season games, plays with that mindset as he tries to solidify his position in the rejuvenated Browns sudden.
Now, sitting at 11 of 13, he scored field goals for the season, Joseph tells ESPN that his mentality has been: "Keep a short memory, for the next kick. Recover and move on to the next one."
Arriving in September, seemingly out of nowhere, & # 39; Who now?! & # 39; was the general reaction to Joseph's signature when Zane Gonzalez was sent off after the Browns' 21-18 loss to Santos.
Joseph, currently the only kicker in the league in South Africa, was born in Johannesburg where he lived until his family moved to the United States in 2001 when he was seven.
"My whole family is from South Africa. My children will be the first generation that was not born there," he says.
"I came back once, when I was 10, then three years after moving, but I have not been back since. But I remember where I grew up, I remember my school, where my grandmother worked, friends' houses, soccer fields where I played. "
Like many South Africans, Joseph is a big fan of Manchester United and a big fan of former United champions Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, which explains why playing in the back was his favorite position until football arrived.
The former defender, who still cheers for the Springboks rugby team, put his love for football in his teens when he discovered a talent for kicking in place while studying at American Heritage School in Florida.
"They asked me to go out and try it, see if I could kick it and go from there. My mother did not want me to be approached … but I took the opportunity and ran with it," he adds.
Fast-forwarding to the end of his collegial career, Joseph finished at Florida Atlantic University as the absolute leader in field goals for the program. Coming out of the NFL draft earlier this year, Joseph signed with the Miami Dolphins but was released from the team after the preseason.
The 24-year-old continued working on his craft in preparation for another opportunity, which he received when Cleveland Browns hired him on Sept. 17.
His most notable moment to date came in the fifth week, at home against Baltimore Ravens rivals. With two seconds remaining on the clock in overtime, Joseph gave a 37-yard kick to help The Browns win the second game of the season.
Now a full-fledged NFL player, Joseph's family in America managed to see him play in person, but a family member in South Africa is the last on his list to reach one of his games.
"My half sister," says Joseph. "She still lives there. [the University of Cape Town] and lives there with her mother. She flows [the games] and is looking to leave soon for it to be legal. This is the last of the family that is there. "
When the harsh winter of Cleveland sets in and the wind blows from Lake Erie, Joseph will face field goals at the FirstEnergy stadium, often kicking in the wind. Joseph says, "Just stay punished. Take a kick, not even week-to-week, and go from there."