Chiefs K Cairo Santos looks forward to testing thin air in Denver

Sep 7, 2014; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (5) attempts a field goal with punter Dustin Colquitt (2) holding against the Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2014; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos (5) attempts a field goal with punter Dustin Colquitt (2) holding against the Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos won’t ever be mistaken for having a lack of confidence.

The 5-8, 160-pound rookie out of Tulane is known for having a big leg and established a career-high long 57-yard field goal in college.

Now just two games into his professional career, Santos has a chance to test his leg when the Chiefs meet the Denver Broncos in the thin air of Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday.

And he has a lofty goal depending on weather conditions.

“We’ll have to see what the wind is doing,” Santos said. “But I think if you have the wind – I’ve heard guys hitting 70 yarders (pregame) – so I’d like to try that at least.”

Well, perhaps 70 yards is unrealistic in a game situation. What’s a more realistic scenario?

“I’m thinking 65,” he said without hesitation.

That effort, if made, would break the longest field goal in NFL history at 64 yards, which was established in Denver by Broncos kicker Matt Prater against the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 8, 2013.

Santos grabbed attention throughout training camp based on how the ball exploded off his foot from various distances. He eventually beat Ryan Succop for the starting job.

While Santos had a shaky debut in Week 1 going 1-for-2 on field goal attempts, he had opportunities before the game to kick for distance at Arrowhead Stadium.

“Last pregame against Tennessee I hit a 60 going one way,” he said. “We didn’t have a terrible wind, a one-directional wind, so I feel like I have the distance. We’ll have to see if we get in that perfect situation at halftime or something.”

That ideal scenario in Denver is the key factor, as the Chiefs aren’t likely to send Santos out to try an extra-long field goal in most cases.

The timing has to be perfect, such as the waning moments of the first half or potentially a game-winning chance from long distance.

“I just know there’s such a rare chance that’s going to happen,” Santos said. “So many things have to work out perfectly to get a long attempt like that.”

While Santos has the confidence, the decision is up to the coaching staff.

But if the coaches look down the sideline to see if the kicker is willing to try a long attempt, don’t expect him to back down if he’s comfortable, like say a potential new NFL record from 65 yards.

“Any distance I feel I can reach,” Santos said, “I’m willing to try.”


Defensive end Mike Catapano missed nine training camp practices in St. Joseph, Mo., four practices when the team returned to Kansas City and he didn’t participate in the four preseason games with an illness.

The Chiefs placed Catapano on the reserve/non-football injury list on Aug. 30, and have no update on his status two weeks later.

“We don’t have anything for you on that,” coach Andy Reid said Friday. “They’re still doing research on that, and we’ll see how things go down the road.”

Catapano still has a locker in the team’s locker room, and Reid said athletic training Rick Burkholder or general manager John Dorsey have been in touch with the second-year pro.

Reid also said Catapano has seen specialists and the doctors are “on top of it.”

But there’s nothing as to the exact nature of his illness.

“We would have to get something from the doctors to tell you that,” Reid said. “I’m not exactly in that position.”

NOTES: Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (Achilles) underwent surgery Wednesday and defensive end Mike DeVito (Achilles) underwent surgery Thursday … “They’ll rehab and get them back for next year,” Reid said … The Chiefs placed guard/tackle Jeff Allen (elbow) on injured reserve after the third-year pro underwent surgery … The Chiefs signed cornerback Jamell Fleming from the Baltimore Ravens practice squad to take Allen’s place on the 53-man roster.