Justin Tucker is no longer that goofy kid bouncing around the Under Armour Performance Center singing a capella and badgering his teammates. On second thought, he's still goofy, still sings and still probably pesters his teammates. He's just not a kid anymore.
Tucker is entering his 10th NFL season and will turn 32 in November. That's still young, especially by kicker standards, but it's long enough that Tucker is starting to get the "how long do you think you'll play?" question.
At the Ravens-Panthers joint practices last week, a fan asked Tucker when he's going into the Hall of Fame. Tucker responded, "Hopefully in 20 years."
"I haven't even hit my prime yet. We're just getting started," Tucker said in a joking voice.
"In all seriousness, it is a day-to-day thing. It's not even day-to-day; it's one kick to the next – just make the next kick. … I don't really allow myself time to think about, 'How long do I want to keep playing or what accolades may I be able to achieve?' All that stuff will kind of take care of itself. I'm just enjoying the ride."
Tucker's career field-goal percentage is 90.65%. Kansas City's Harrison Butker is in second place at 90.29% and Jacksonville's Josh Lambo is in third at 88.88%. Tucker has kicked for significantly longer than both of them. It's about consistency, year in and year out.
Last year, Tucker made 87.7 percent of his field-goal attempts – 26 of 29. Two of his three misses came from beyond 50 yards. He hit 52 of 53 extra point attempts too.
So is there anything new that he's working on in training camp? No, not really.
"As simply as I can put it, it's see the ball, kick the ball, make kicks," Tucker said. "It's got to start there, and then fine-tuning the swing and the technique and the plant [and] keeping the main things the main things. For me, that's replicating that same downfield swing, jumping off my plant foot, being solid with my studs in the ground, and then kicking the ball with a high level of consistency."
Tucker has picked up where he left off in the preseason. He boomed a 56-yard field goal in the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints, then in the second preseason game in Carolina he and the field-goal unit rushed onto the turf to boot a 29-yarder down the middle as time expired on the first half.
The biggest change in Tucker's routine is the guy getting the ball to him and Sam Koch. After spending his entire career with Morgan Cox, the Ravens have a new long snapper in Nick Moore, who spent the year shadowing "The Wolfpack" last year.
Tucker said how thankful he is to have worked with Cox, who is now with the Tennessee Titans, for so long, but that Moore has "done an excellent job."
"He's worked every single day to get just a little bit better. He's getting more and more consistent," Tucker said. "His attitude has been great; his work ethic has been great. I can't speak highly enough of his efforts thus far, and time will tell – for all of us – how well we can put it all together."