BEREA − Cade York's made many kicks in his football career. Yet, there's only one that has basically taken on legendary status: The 57-yard field goal York kicked in the fog at The Swamp to help LSU beat Florida.
How famous is that kick? It's virtually assured to come up when a stranger is talking to York.
Just how much has the new Browns kicker been asked about The Kick in the Fog?
"I've been asked about it just about as many times as I've been asked about Phil Dawson," York said in an interview with the Beacon Journal on Saturday.
In Cleveland, York's name has been mentioned alongside Dawson the way a quarterback may have his name linked to Bernie Kosar. That's because kickers may have moved right behind quarterback as the position most elusive to fill ever since Dawson left following the 2012 season.
A decade later, York arrives as a fourth-round draft pick and a virtual rock star of sorts. It's been that bad for the Browns in that department since Dawson walked out the door.
The attention clearly hasn't escaped York. It's just that he's approaching it in the same way he may eye, say, a 57-yard kick in the fog.
"I mean, yes, I have noticed the fans having some reaction to it, but honestly, that's not where I'm at," York said. "If that's where I get my motivation from, that stuff can be gone just as quick. So, I kind of internally have my own confidence that keeps me going and stuff like that. So yes, while I think the fans are excited, that's something I can't pay too much attention to."
The thing is, it's hard for fans or even his coaches and teammates to not pay attention to York when he lines up to make a kick. Through the first nine days of camp, he's made 17-of-18 field goals he's attempted during team drills.
Several of those have been good from as far out at 53 yards, although the distance past the goalposts showed they could've been good from 60-plus. The one he missed, during Friday's practice, came from a distance of 58 yards, a miss that literally hit the top of the upright.
“As long as they get through," coach Kevin Stefanski said of York's propensity of making long field goals. "He has done everything we have asked him to do since we got him. He is a rookie. He is going to have some growing pains. He is not going to be perfect right away. He needs to work at his craft. I am obviously aware of that."
So, too, is York. In fact, it's one of the things of which he's been constantly aware.
The 21-year-old made the rare − at least for a kicker − jump to go to the NFL after his junior season. He left behind the lifestyle of a college athlete to take on the challenges of being a professional.
That jump has been the cause of the biggest transition for York.
"Even though it was a job in college, because basically football is your life in college even though you do school," York said, "I think coming into the NFL now knowing this is my job, this is my livelihood, and I have to perform to stay in this job. That means taking care of my body the best as possible and getting the rest I need and making sure that football is the first thought in everything I do rather than, sometimes when I was in college, other things took precedence like school, where I needed to get a project done or something like that."
The adjustment to life as an NFL rookie continues for York, despite the strong early returns. It's a constant battle to find the right balance with work and rest in order to keep his powerful leg ready for the regular season which remains more than a month away.
So far during camp, York's only kicked in actual team field-goal periods on an every-other-day basis. That's not been a major adjustment, seeing as a similar three-day-a-week schedule was the norm while he was in Baton Rouge.
"Training camp's going to be different than in-season, because training camp is kind of all over the place" York said. "During season, usually I'll kick three times a week, including the game. … Basically keep myself on a pitch count on those days and by the time we get into the season, yeah, there might be minute things you need to work on, but should be in the swing of things and really just need to keep your leg in shape and hammering in the stuff you already know and just flying through it."
York's history shows that process has led to footballs consistently flying through the uprights. In his three years at LSU, he made 54-of-66 field goals − including 21-of-27 as a freshman on the Tigers' 2019 national championship team − and 164-of-168 point-after kicks.
Those kicks were made in the Florida fog and on a perfect Louisiana Saturday night. They came in front of a friendly 90,000-plus at Tiger Stadium, a not-so-friendly 90,000-plus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, or anywhere in between.
None of that mattered to York. Any of that was preferable to the sound of silence.
"In my opinion, throughout my time in college and even sometimes here," York said, "I feel like when it's quieter and you can hear one person talking to you, whether it be a Browns fan chirping at me or even one of the guys lined up on the show field goal block team saying my name and trying to distract me, that's more distracting than anything in the game. In the game, it's just one big loud roar and it turns into white noise. Yeah, the stakes are up on a game and I think leading into a game, there's more nerves and on the sidelines and stuff like that. But once I go out there, for the most part, it just disappears."
Almost like it was a kick drifting into the thick fog.
Contact Chris at email@example.com.
On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Cade York won't listen to the hype entering rookie year with Browns