ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Had the Denver Broncos not called him in late November, Connor Barth said he’d be “paddle-boarding, hanging out on the beach or down in Tampa at my house. I’m a big water guy.”
Not that he’s minding the snow.
Barth, who missed all of last season after tearing the Achilles tendon in his right foot during a charity basketball game and then was beaten out by rookie Patrick Murray in Tampa Bay this summer, is making the most of his comeback with the Broncos.
He was named the AFC’s special teams Player of the Month after a dominant December in which he made 10 of 11 field goals and all 13 extra points.
Making it all the more impressive is the fact that Barth, the most accurate kicker in Buccaneers history, only joined the Broncos six weeks ago – after he’d come to terms with the notion that his NFL career might be over.
“I’m kind of a pretty positive person. I was like, `If I don’t play again, I don’t play again,'” Barth said Wednesday. “I was hanging out just staying in shape, paddle-boarding and enjoying life, and that is what I’ve always done. So, it’s just been a blessing and an honor to get picked up here and just play for a great team.
“And I’m looking forward to my first playoff experience. It should be fun.”
The Broncos host a divisional game Jan. 11.
Twice, Barth has tied the Broncos’ franchise record with five field goals in a game, including his debut for Denver at Kansas City on Nov. 30. Altogether, he’s made 15 of 16 field goals, his only blemish a 49-yarder at Cincinnati, and is perfect on 15 conversions.
Barth was surprised to learn he’d been named the AFC’s top special teamer for the first time in his career.
“I just got out of the shower and they told me. I had no clue,” Barth said. “It’s pretty cool. But like I said, it’s all team success. I’m just doing my job and making those kicks when they call me.”
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– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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