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Offseason | 2024

Aubrey kicks appendicitis, talks 2024 rule changes


FRISCO, Texas — Brandon Aubrey has gone from being a lifelong soccer player to a two-time USFL champion to a training camp signing for the Dallas Cowboys in 2023, where he gripped the opportunity with both hands and won the kicker competition against Tristan Vizcaino, but that was just a hint at what was to come for the Missouri native.

Aubrey finished his rookie season having finished as the NFL scoring leader, and with both a Pro Bowl and First-team All-Pro nod after demolishing franchise and league records for accuracy.

And this was all done without any sort of rest and/or relaxation post-USFL, making this offseason a much-needed reset, as he describes it. He rested his kicking leg for six full weeks to prepare it for the rigors of Year 2.

"It's gone well," he said of his offseason leading into voluntary conditioning, speaking from the 2024 Reliant Home Run Derby. "[I] rested, got healthy, relaxed and took a mental break, ya'know? It's my first break since before the USFL season, so it's been a full year of going strong [until now].

"… You don't really realize where you're at until you slow down and stop. There was maybe a little bit of mental fatigue sticking in there — some fatigue in that leg — so it was good to get that break."

Aubrey began his NFL career with a record-setting streak of 35 consecutive made field goals, finishing 36 of 38 on the season (94.7%) with a 60-yarder as his longest boot of the season, and the power was continually evidenced on kickoff — kicking 99 touchbacks on 109 kickoffs (90.8%) with an average of 64.8 yards per placekick.

Long story short, he's not simply a weapon but, through Year 1, he's proven more dangerous than his famed predecessor Dan Bailey, of which every kicker in Dallas will be measured against going forward.

But for as interstellar as Aubrey's first season was, he isn't hanging his hat on it.

"It's rinse and reset," he said. "You just wanna go out there and perform every game. I thought about it this offseason, enjoyed it and then put it on the shelf; and I've moved on to this year. This year is gonna be its own thing, and I've gotta go out and make sure it's a good year as well."

He first had to recover from a bout with appendicitis, however, not unlike what head coach Mike McCarthy found himself up against during the 2023 season. Aubrey's was caught in its fairly early stage though, allowing him to push through to the goal of attending his first-ever NFL Pro Bowl.

I guess one could say Aubrey couldn't stomach missing out on such a moment.

"Some forced R&R there," he joked. "I had it [removed] the day after the Pro Bowl. … It was four days before the Pro Bowl when it started hurting, so I went to the doctor and they checked it out. They did a scan and said, 'Yeah, you've got appendicitis.'

"They gave me some antibiotics instead of taking it out then and there, to give me 10 days, and then I made it through the Pro Bowl then got it [removed]."

And he can now turn his attention to the league’s new kickoff rule, one he's a huge fan of.

"I love it," said a smiling Aubrey. "It's gonna save my leg and give me a chance to go out there and hit some unique balls. [Special teams coordinator John "Bones" Fassel] is aggressive so he'll give me all the opportunity in the world to go out there and make mistakes, and live with them."

That comment makes one readily wonder exactly what type of spice Fassel and Aubrey are attempting to whip up in the kitchen, but the world will have to wait and see.

"We're in the workshop right now," Aubrey added. "Hang time is a little less important and not being able to move until it's caught, so we're in the workshop — don't wanna really give too much away. … [My soccer background] absolutely [helps]. It works with hitting the ball in different ways, putting my foot on the ball in different ways and wrapping my foot around it in certain ways.

"I think it will help. Being a soccer player is a skill I've taken with me to the NFL."

If Aubrey's second act is even remotely comparable to his first act, the Cowboys and NFL will once again be in for quite a show in 2024. What he accomplished last season was with no offseason rest.

What might he do now that he's had quite a bit of it?

Grab your popcorn.

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