Former NFL kicker accused of choking middle school student

Scott Levin's picture

Peyton Manning once referred to Mike Vanderjagt as "our idiot kicker." If allegations reported Friday turn out to be true, it appears Vanderjagt is still living up to that billing.

In a report released Friday, it was revealed that Vanderjagt, now working as a part-time middle school football coach, was accused of choking a student during a confrontation in March.

Vanderjagt was working at Charter Middle School in Marco Island, Fla. According to the former Indianapolis Colts kicker, Vanderjagt had been receiving taunts for months from one student. One jeer included the phrase "wide left, wide left," a jab at some of Vanderjagt's key field goal misses during his NFL career.

According to the police report, a student alleged that Vanderjagt approached him, put his hands on the boy's throat and hurled some obscenities at him. Another student backed up the story.

Vanderjagt has a slightly different recollection of what happened and denies he choked the child. The kicker told police that he did put his hands on the boy, but it was only to keep him in place while he talked to him, and he never put his hands around the boy's throat.

After looking into the matter, police decided that no charges would be filed against Vanderjagt, who is currently suspended from his volunteer job as coach. The school plans to conduct an investigation, and Vanderjagt's future as coach will be decided by the school's principal and the charter school board.

Despite an NFL career that included an 86.466 percent field goal conversion, currently good for 2nd in NFL history, Vanderjagt may be more well-known for making disparaging comments about his Colts teammates in 2003. He questioned the passion of quarterback Peyton Manning and head coach Tony Dungy.

In response, Manning famously called Vanderjagt an idiot.

"We're talking about our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off," Manning said at that year's Pro Bowl.

At one point, Vanderjagt was the highest-paid kicker in the NFL but after those comments, his career seemed to take a nosedive. He was let go by Indianapolis after missing a critical field goal in the 2005 NFL playoffs against Pittsburgh -- the Colts won the Super Bowl in 2006, the year after Vanderjagt was released. Meanwhile, the kicker moved on to Dallas, but he was cut midway through his first season with the Cowboys due to poor performance.

It is unknown when Vanderjagt's middle school will make a decision on his future as coach.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Add new comment