He has been through five organizations and has been fired by Cincinnati, Dallas and Cincinnati again.
Last season, he was released by Minnesota, made his NFL debut with San Francisco, and then signed with the Buffalo practice squad, all in the span of two months.
When asked what he learned on the journey that led him to become the Chargers’ new kicker on Tuesday, Tristan Vizcaíno said, “I’ve learned that the NFL is a crazy business.”
The player replaces Michael Badgley, who was fired when the Chargers reached the league’s 53-player limit.
The team also decided to keep three quarterbacks, with Chase Daniel and Easton Stick trailing starter Justin Herbert.
The sacked players include three recent draft picks: wide receiver Joe Reed (fifth round, 2020), edge rusher Emeke Egbule (sixth round, 2019) and defensive lineman Cortez Broughton (seventh round, 2019).
Wide receiver Tyron Johnson, who caught 20 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns a year ago, he was also released.
Vizcaíno, 25, signed as a free agent in the offseason after making his NFL debut in Week 17 of last season. He converted three field goals and two extra points for the 49ers when he replaced Robbie Gould, who was on the COVID-19 reserve list.
That performance caught the attention of Derius Swinton II, who is now the Chargers’ special teams coordinator, and led to the opportunity that Vizcaino seized in recent weeks.
Born in Chino Hills, Vizcaíno said he grew up rooting for the Chargers and called winning a job with the team “incredible and amazing.”
He played college in Washington, where his career ended in 2018. After not being drafted, Vizcaíno spent time with various practice squads while traveling to take different tests.
“I knew he had the talent, but clearly coming out of college, he knew he needed to improve if he wanted to be able to kick at the NFL level,” he said. “I knew that if I put in the time and dedicated myself to it, it would eventually happen.”
Badgley took over as the Chargers’ kicker full-time in the middle of the 2018 season, during which he was 15 of 16 in field goal attempts and 27 of 28 in extra points.
He missed half the 2019 season with injury and then struggled last year, missing eight field goal attempts from 46 yards and beyond.
Coach Brandon Staley said Vizcaíno’s potential and kickoff prowess led to the choice to keep him over Badgley.
“This guy has real talent,” Staley said. “He has real leg strength. We feel that he has a lot of ability, and is at the beginning of his football journey. We believe that there is a product there that, if we can continue to take advantage of that development, it will become a really talented player. “
Staley said the depth of the Chargers’ wide receivers helped make decisions about Reed and Johnson. Neither of them was able to separate as a kick returner.
Johnson started last year on the Chargers practice squad, but quickly emerged as a much-needed deep threat when he was given a chance to play in Week 4. He finished with four receptions of at least 50 yards, the best of the season. NFL.
“It’s one of those things where the numbers count the most, not so much how we feel about him as a player,” Staley said.
Broughton lost to undrafted rookie Forrest Merrill, primarily because the Chargers needed a bigger defensive lineman capable of playing on the inside.
Egbule was no better than fifth among the edge rushers of the Chargers, a group that includes veteran signed free agent Kyler Fackrell and 2021 fourth-round pick Chris Rumph II.
The rest of the players eliminated Tuesday were guards Nate Gilliam and Ryan Hunter, wide receivers Michael Bandy and Jason Moore, running back Darius Bradwell, the cornerback John Brannon, the linebacker Cole Christiansen, the defensive back Ben DeLuca, the defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko, the edge rusher Joe Gaziano and the tight end Hunter Kampmoyer.
In the next 24 hours, the Chargers will assemble their practice roster, which may include up to 16 players, and weigh the options.
Chargers 53-player roster
The team by position after cutting the list to the mandatory 53:
Quarterbacks (3): Justin Herbert, Chase Daniel, Easton Stick.
Runners (5): Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley, Larry Rountree III, Gabe Nabers.
Offensive lines (9): Rashawn Slater, Matt Feiler, Corey Linsley, Oday Aboushi, Bryan Bulaga, Brenden Jaimes, Scott Quessenberry, Trey Pipkins III, Storm Norton.
Wide receivers (5): Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jalen Guyton, Joshua Palmer, KJ Hill Jr.
Closed ends (4): Jared Cook, Donald Parham Jr, Tre ‘McKitty, Stephen Anderson.
Defensive lines (5): Linval Joseph, Jerry Tillery, Justin Jones, Christian Covington, Forrest Merrill.
Edge (4): Joey Bosa, Kyler Fackrell, Uchenna Nwosu, Chris Rumph II.
Inner linebackers (5): Kenneth Murray Jr, Kyzir White, Drue Tranquill, Nick Niemann, Amen Ogbongbemiga.
Cornerbacks (6): Michael Davis, Chris Harris Jr, Asante Samuel Jr, Brandon Facyson, Tevaughn Campbell, Kemon Hall.
Safeguards (4): Derwin James Jr, Nasir Adderley, Alohi Gilman, Mark Webb.
Specialists (3): Kicker Tristan Vizcaíno, the punter Ty Long, the long snapper Matt Overton.
Reserve list / COVID-19 (1): The cornerback Ryan Smith.
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