Lions' new kicker Alex Henery 'excited' for opportunity

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Lions didn't wait long to make a move at kicker.

On Sunday night, just hours after rookie Nate Freese missed his fourth field goal of the season, the team called Alex Henery to inform him that he would be the new kicker.

By Monday around 5 p.m., Henery had already taken Freese's place in the Lions' locker room.

"I got word last night and came out here this morning," Henery said. "I was excited to come out here and get underway."

Henery was one of three kickers — Garrett Hartley and the late Rob Bironas, who died last weekend in a one-car crash — who tried out for the Lions last week after Freese missed two 49-yard field goals in a 24-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Henery was the best kicker last Tuesday, hitting from as far as 60 yards, so when Freese missed another field goal, he was at the top of the list.

On Sunday, Henery said he watched some of the Lions' 19-7 win over the Green Bay Packers, but missed the play — a 41-yard field goal Freese missed wide left — that ultimately brought him to Detroit.

"People texted me and said he did," Henery said. "Things happen, and I was glad to get a call."

After the workout last week, Henery said the Lions told him they wanted to see how Freese responded in Week 3 before making a move.

Henery understood the painful business of the NFL before this week, though. A fourth-round pick in 2011, Henery kicked for the Philadelphia Eagles the past three seasons, but lost his job this summer to Cody Parkey, an undrafted rookie from Auburn.

After being cut, Henery moved back to Omaha, Nebraska, and he and his wife welcomed their first son, Landon, on Sept. 6.

According to Henery, the Eagles preferred Parkey's leg on kickoffs, but Henery going 1-for-3 on field goals in the exhibition games didn't help. Parkey went 2-for-2 with the Indianapolis Colts and 3-for-3 with the Eagles in the exhibitions.

"It's how the business goes, and I'm happy to have a job here," Henery said. "And I'll go out there and do my best."