SAN DIEGO — Get ready for the Rolf and Ralf Show.
They will be rivals this summer, but Rolf Benirschke, a San Diego institution, and his challenger, Ralf Mojsiejenko, have a lot in common.
Aside from similar first names and multi-syllabic last names, the rival kickers share a German ancestry and an apparent interest in animals.
If he manages to win Benirschke's job, Mojsiejenko plans to do his part for the betterment of wildlife in San Diego.
Informed of Benirschke's well-chronicled "Kicks for Critters" campaign, in which there's a donation for each successful field goal, Mojsiejenko indicated a willingness to carry on. "Maybe I'll kick for critters and a lot of things, too," Mojsiejenko said.
The Chargers have determined that Benirschke needs some competition, as does punter Maury Buford.
They believe Mojsiejenko could displace both of them. But just to assure added competition, they also have signed Benny Ricardo, who filled in for Benirschke when he was ill last summer.
Mojsiejenko's selection was announced by Coach Don Coryell.
"You were all waiting for me to try to say it," Coryell said, smiling. "We think he is an excellent kickoff man, who consistently puts the ball in the end zone. He is also a very good punter, who could save us a spot on the roster (if he can handle both jobs)."
His career statistics at Michigan State show 279 punts for a 43.8 average; hitting 44 of 53 on extra-point attempts; and 35 of 53 on field goals.
Marv Braden, special teams coach, said the left-footed Mojsiejenko has the moves of a dancer and the ability to kick from grass and dirt as well as a tee.
Mojsiejenko, who was born in West Germany and moved to Michigan as an infant, made one tactical blunder in a phone interview with San Diego writers. He picked the Chicago Cubs to win the 1985 World Series.
Benirschke, however, isn't going to surrender his job just yet, according to his agent, Leigh Steinberg.
"Rolf is talking with the koalas at the moment," Steinberg said. "He's vacationing in Australia. But I don't think he will be unhappy when he gets back.
"Doesn't he have the best lifetime field-goal percentage of any kicker?"
Let the show begin.