Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent missed every practice this week following the sudden death of his dad Monday night, but he still found a way to get his work in.
After spending a couple of days in Centerville, Nugent headed home Wednesday night to get some clothes for the funeral and he decided to stop by Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals left some balls at his locker, and Nugent, his wife, his brother and his sister-in-law went out on the field and worked under the lights.
“My brother came and shagged for me and my wife and my sister in law were out there cheering us both on,” Nugent said. “It was fun to be out there. I didn’t want to kick on Sunday vs. Pittsburgh and not again until today. It’s a lot for me to get out there and kick some balls, but I also wanted my coaches to know ‘Hey, I’m still playing. Everything’s going to be fine.’”
And it was, as Nugent made on all three field goals he attempted in Sunday’s 30-0 win at Cleveland, connecting from 44, 44 and 34 yards to give him 11 consecutive kicks without a miss.
After the game a reporter asked Nugent what his dad would have thought of the performance.
“He wouldn’t have been happy with my last kickoff,” Nugent said of the kick that only made it to the Cleveland 7-yard line.
After the short kick, Nugent went to the sideline to explain to special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons what went wrong. That’s when Simmons handed him a picture of Nugent and his dad that the coach had printed out and brought to the game.
“People are amazing,” Nugent said. “That’s what I’ve learned this week. People are so unbelievable. We had 5 ½ hours on Thursday night of people wanting to see him for the last time. That’s nice. People are incredible and the Cincinnati organization has been unbelievable this week in letting me be with my family.”
The team actually suffered two losses this week as offensive coordinator Hue Jackson’s father also passed away.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said he’s only awarded one game ball in his career – to team owner Mike Brown after the Bengals beat the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs in 2003, Lewis’ first season with the team – but he gave one to both Jackson and Nugent on Sunday.