The nickname was so obvious but, who knows, maybe it never would have happened until his seventh-grade science teacher, Mr. Gonzalez, – or, as Cameron Dicker called him, Mr. G – dubbed him ‘Dicker the Kicker.’
it’s fitting because Dicker, who is 22, still looks like he’s in seventh grade.
The new name was born after Dicker was moved from offensive tackle to kicker in middle school.
Dicker had only recently arrived in Texas after being born in Hong Kong but also having lived in Shanghai and Taiwan. He didn’t really even like football. Soccer had been his thing.
On Sunday in Arizona, though, he arrived in his first NFL game after being promoted from the Eagles’ practice squad, a place he had joined just six days earlier when the Eagles needed insurance in case Jake Elliott’s injured right ankle did not allow him to play.
It didn’t, so in stepped Dicker the Kicker.
All he did was make both his PATs, boom three of his four kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, and made both field goal tries.
His first field goal, from 43 yards, was true and upped the Eagles’ lead to 17-10 with 9:43 to play in the third quarter.
His second, from 23 yards, was bigger, but it too was straight down the middle and came with 1:45 left to break a tie.
“I was excited,” Dicker told reporters in Arizona about his kick which proved to be the game-winner after Arizona’s Matt Ammendola sailed his kick from 43 yards wide right in the dying seconds of the game.
“It’s just one of those things, I’m not really thinking; going out there and just rolling, ready to go.”
The field goal sent thousands of Eagles fans in attendance home happy.
“Pretty crazy,” said Dicker about the Eagles’ fan base taking over yet another stadium on the road.
“That was wild. I didn’t realize how well they travel, they were telling me and I didn’t think it’d be that well. It was pretty cool. Makes life a lot easier when half the stadium’s Eagles fans.”
Dicker made it look easy, but by no means will he be taking Elliott’s job anytime soon.
His day may, however, lead to other opportunities with other teams.
It also gives the Eagles the luxury of not having to rush Elliott back.
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After Sunday night’s primetime showdown against the Dallas Cowboys in Philadelphia, the Eagles have their bye week. Perhaps Dicker gets the Eagles through another game.
“We have a tight-knit group and it doesn’t matter who comes in, we’re family,” said Eagles tight end Dallas Godert. “We accept him right away. We knew we needed him, so it was cool getting to know him, hearing his stories from Texas, some big kicks there so I had no doubts in my mind with him coming here.”
Head coach Nick Sirianni spent some time during a team meeting this week showing Dicker’s teammates highlights of him kicking at the University of Texas.
“All the credit to him, made the kick in a huge moment,” the coach said. “He made another kick in a big moment and was perfect on extra points. Guys really embraced him, put their arms around him. They embraced him, made him feel welcome…Jake gave him support. Credit to him, he made a big play.”
Dicker was still waiting for his first NFL opportunity when he rolled out of bed on Monday morning and his cell phone buzzed shortly after.
It was his agent calling to tell him, “Hey, you’re flying to Philly.”
Dicker flew in Monday night, worked out for the Eagles on Tuesday and was quickly signed.
Dicker and East Carolina’s Jake Verity auditioned for the role of kicker with Elliott hobbled.
“I felt I did better,” Dicker said in the postgame jubilation about the tryout.
“I was confident walking into it, but it’s not up to me at the end of the day. I did the best I could and let the people who make the decisions make the decisions, and that’s all I can handle.”
It seemed like a curious decision at best, since there was at least one kicker on the street – Sam Ficken – who had the experience of kicking in 28 games.
Who is anybody to question the moves GM Howie Roseman has made this offseason?
Dicmer was asked when he was the most nervous he’s ever been if staring down a 23-yard field goal to try to keep a pro team unbeaten didn’t do the trick.
He pondered the question.
“Most nervous I’ve been?” he said, then had a long pause. “Probably in college when we had a fake punt and I was like, ‘Oh, I gotta throw the ball? This is not a normal thing for me.’”
Dicker, who sometimes doubled as a punter at Texas, completed the pass on the fake punt but it wasn’t good enough for a first down.
Dicker the Kicker has a better ring to it than Dicker the Thrower, just like Mr. G knew all along.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.