There's no way to watch Roberto Aguayo and not feel sympathy.
Because it's painful. It really is.
Two years ago he was being hailed as <a href="http://www.yadeos.co...-c-1_2.html</a> the greatest kicker in college football history - and it wasn't hyperbole either. He won the Lou Groza Award as a freshman in 2013 and then had an even better year in 2014, making a ridiculous number of clutch kicks for the Seminoles on their way to another unbeaten regular season.
He finished his NCAA career as the most accurate kicker ever (267 of 276 total kicks in a Florida State uniform) and never missed from inside 40 yards, which is why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted in him in the second round of the 2016 draft. They thought they were getting Mr. Automatic - a player they could pencil into the kicker spot for the next decade and a half.
Instead they let him go after one season, becoming (I have to imagine) the first second-rounder ever to be cut on an episode of Hard Knocks. And if you saw that scene last week you couldn't help but feel awful for the guy.
And if you watched Aguayo's 49-yard attempt for the Chicago Bears (they claimed him the day after he was released by Tampa Bay) on Saturday night you realized the guy's career could legitimately be over.
Because it looked like it came off the foot of someone who was new to the sport. It started out low and toward the left goal post. By the time it hit the ground it had somehow missed wide right. I'm not sure I've ever seen a kick with that trajectory before. Like an awful slice in golf.
It was ugly. And it once again begged the question: What in the world happened to Roberto?
Here's the answer: He lost every last bit of his confidence. When he was at Florida State, the kid didn't just think he was great. He knew he was. He wasn't just confident, he was cocky. And brash. Maybe more so than any kicker I've ever seen.
He admitted he wanted to be the best kicker of all <a href="http://www.arimtex.c...c-1_26.html</a> time. He talked about never missing again. He talked like Deion. And he more than backed it up.
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He was almost perfect as a freshman in 2013, but it was during his sophomore season at Florida State that I thought he was the best kicker I'd ever seen. It wasn't just that he made virtually every one he attempted, but it was the way he made them. Right down the middle. Every. Time.
You got the feeling the goal posts could be 4 feet apart and he'd still split them.
He wasn't quite as good as a junior, missing five kicks and having a few more barely sneak in, but the Bucs drafted him in the second round anyway.
And that, in my opinion, is where it fell apart for Aguayo.
Trying to be a kicker in the NFL is tough enough. So many jobs are on the line if you miss kicks, including your own, that the pressure can be overwhelming for a rookie in that position. Then throw in the fact that a team traded up in the second round to draft you, which is way, way, way too high for a kicker, and that pressure intensifies even more.
Even with all that backlash though I thought Aguayo would handle it. I just thought he was so confident in his abilities, so consistently good at FSU, that he'd laugh off the pressure and hype and just keep splitting uprights like he'd always done.
But confidence is a funny thing. Once you lose it, it can be almost impossible to get it back. Even when you're the greatest kicker in college football history.
Mark Wohlers will always have a s<a href="http://www.armacan.c...sey-c-1_11.html">Andy Lee Womens Jersey</a> pecial place in my heart because he recorded the last three outs of the 1995 World Series - which was the only championship we Atlanta sports fans ever got to celebrate until the 2017 Super Bowl (I stopped watching after Lady Gaga's halftime show but obviously I assume my Falcons held on).
Wohlers blew a World Series game the following year to the Yankees. Then two years later, inexplicably, he forgot how to throw a strike. In 20 innings for the Braves in 1998 he walked 33 batters.
A flame-throwing closer that got three straight outs in a 1-0 game in the World Series all the sudden couldn't get the ball to home plate in a regular season game in May. He just lost it. And never truly regained it, finishing his career in the American League as a middling middle reliever.
The lack of confidence crashed his career.
And that's what I worry about with Aguayo. Things have gotten so bad - he was cut on national television and then had a horrific miss for his new team - that there might not be any coming back.
It's not that he can't make it in the league. There have been plenty of guys who have been cut initially - including two former FSU kickers in Graham Gano and Dustin Hopkins - who came back to have solid NFL careers.
But those guys weren't second-round picks. Those guys didn't have the label of "bust" slapped on them one year after being drafted. And <a href="http://www.officialp...sey-c-1_15.html">Starling Marte Youth Jersey</a> those guys weren't slicing 7-irons like Aguayo did on Saturday night for the Bears.
It was hard to watch. All of this has been actually. Because he was so good at Florida State that it seems impossible that this is the same guy. That it's the same right leg.
But quite honestly, because sports can be cruel and unforgiving, there's a chance we might not see that guy ever again.
What made Aguayo the best college kicker of all time was a mix of incredible talent and supreme confidence.
The talent is still in there. Hopefully the confidence reappears before it's too late.