It might seem improbable, but Chicago Bears punter Bryan Wagner says he has managed to mentally block out his first punt in the NFL, which was blocked and recovered for a touchdown.
Wagner was attempting to kick from just in front of his own end zone against the New York Giants before a sold out crowd at Soldier Field and a Monday night national television audience. He handled a high snap from rookie John Adickes but Erik Howard of the Giants bolted untouched into the backfield and blocked the kick. Tom Flynn recovered the ball in the end zone to give the Giants a short-lived lead in the Bears' 34-19 win.
"Don't get me wrong, I'll never forget it," Wagner said by phone Wednesday from Chicago, "But, I have blocked it out of my mind. I can't let it affect the rest of my kicks."
Wagner, a three-time All-American at Cal State Northridge, received that advice when he finished an anxious journey to the Bears' sideline where Coach Mike Ditka was waiting.