Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski was limited to just two extra points at Wembley Stadium on Sunday as he saw his side fall to a disappointing Week 4 loss to the Miami Dolphins, 38-14.
Born in Poland, Janikowski moved to America at an early age and after a successful high school and college career he was drafted by Oakland in the first round, 17th overall, of the 2000 NFL Draft.
Sebastian spoke to A Head For The Game about playing in England and being a role model in Poland.
“Playing in London was significant for me but I wish I could have done a bit more in the game,” said the 36-year-old in the locker room at Wembley Stadium following the result.
“I’m going to take time off from kicking now, rest a little bit and then move onto the next game – it is what it is today but it was still enjoyable.”
Part of the enjoyment for the 6”1 kicker was spending a week in London preparing for the game, giving him the opportunity to spend some time with his family and then playing at a stadium that he and his friends dreamt of playing that other football – soccer – at one day.
“My family came out from Poland to join me here,” said the 15-year NFL veteran. “My parents are here and I saw them on Saturday and earlier on in the week on Tuesday and Wednesday when we had time off so I got to see them then as well.
“I always dreamt as a kid to play soccer here at Wembley – it was my dream. Growing up in Poland, as kids, everybody wanted to play soccer at Wembley and I got to play here today.”
The former Florida State player has had a successful NFL career and is currently the Raiders all-time leading scorer with 1,489 career points, leading the team in scoring in each of his 14 previous seasons. With such a prestigious career behind him, he is in no doubt about what he wants to do when he retires.
“I haven’t been back to Poland yet,” explained Janikowski, who is the holder of the second-longest field goal in NFL history with a completion of 63 yards. “One day in the future I will go back and work with the kids there as I’d love to be a role model.
“I hope more people in Poland are going to learn the game because football is a great game and hopefully I can get back there to teach some kids.
“The game is growing there, not just with me, but with the teams out there – there are eight or nine teams right now so hopefully it is going to be played a lot more.”