NAPA — Sebastian Janikowski is entering his 17th season, but the Raiders’ kicker and former first-round pick doesn’t feel like he’s slowing down or ready to hang it up.
Janikowski, 38, shed some weight in the offseason to get down to 256 pounds and feels fresh as ever.
“I worked my butt off in the offseason and I tried to get in better shape,” Janikowski said. “Hopefully it’s going to pay off.”
The Raiders have Giorgio Tavecchio in camp for the second straight year and special teams coach Brad Seely is high on the former Cal and Campolindo High kicker.
“He’s an NFL kicker,” Seely said of Tavecchio, who is experiencing his fifth NFL training camp with four different teams and is still waiting to crack an active roster.
“Will he kick for us?,” Seely said. “Well, that remains to be seen. But it’s a competition and we’re seeing who’s the best. Obviously, Sebastian has done this for a long time and has been really good. Obviously, he’s the front runner.”
Janikowski said he doesn’t feel any extra motivation with Tavecchio around.
“I get motivated no matter what,” he said. “That’s my job. I have to come in, get in good shape and kick the ball.”
Janikowski finished last season 21 for 26 for an 80.8 percent clip while connecting on four of five attempts from 50-plus yards. His 52 career field goals from long distance are tied with Jason Hansen for the NFL record.
He’s the Raiders’ all-time leader in games played and points, but there were some situations last year where the team went for it instead of sending out their kicker. He was asked Saturday if that bothered him at all.
“I don’t make those decisions,” Janikowski said. “Jack (Del Rio) is making the decisions, the head coach. That’s why he’s the head coach. If he wants to kick it, I’m out there kicking it. If he wants to go for it, he’s going for it.”
Janikowski, the last remaining player from the Raiders’ run to Super Bowl XXXVII, has one more season after this on his contract and has said he wants to kick until he’s 40.
“I love what I do,” Janikowski said. “I want to bring a championship to this team. That’s my goal.”