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GH natives Potter, Bylsma finalize deals with pro clubs

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:45 PM

Grand Haven native John Potter is getting another crack at making an NFL roster. It will just be in another city other than Buffalo.

Potter signed a free agent deal with the Washington Redskins on Wednesday, giving the former record-breaking kicker from Western Michigan University a chance to make an NFL roster for the second time.

He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and surprised many by making the roster. He spent the first six weeks of the 2012 season as the Bills’ kickoff specialist, producing 13 touchbacks on 24 kicks.

Due to a rash of injuries on the Bills’ roster, the team was forced to waive Potter and rely on just one kicker on the roster, veteran Rian Lindell.

“Some guys don’t start kicking on a professional team until they’re 28, so you can’t create a timeline for yourself,” Potter said after being released. “You have to take it year by year, day by day.”

Potter could be in competition with Redskins’ kicker Kai Forbath, who excelled in field goals, but struggled on kickoffs, recording only 15 touchbacks in 62 attempts.

The Washington Post contributed to this article.


By Rob Rossi

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (MCT)

Grand Haven native Dan Bylsma was provided a big vote of confidence by the Penguins on Wednesday.

General manager Ray Shero announced a two-year extension for Bylsma and assistants Tony Granato and Todd Reirden. The extension will keep Bylsma under contract through the 2015-16 season. Bylsma had a year remaining on his current deal.

"I really believe we have a great head coach in Dan Bylsma... he's the coach to move us forward," Shero said.

Shero met with Penguins majority co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle at length Tuesday. During an extensive review of the organization, Shero and ownership discussed Bylsma's future along with other matters, including a long-term contract with star center Evgeni Malkin. Shero lobbied hard for a Bylsma extension.

Shero met Monday with Malkin's agent, J.P. Barry, who described their discussion as productive. The Penguins want to agree on a deal with Malkin soon. The final year of his contract kicks in July 5, and at that point Malkin will hold a full no-trade clause — similar to what allowed Jarome Iginla to block a deal between Calgary and Boston during this past regular season. Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby offered votes of confidence for Bylsma during season-ending meetings with Shero.

Bylsma took over in February 2009, leading to the Penguins to the Stanley Cup that June over his home-state team, the Detroit Red Wings. He is the fastest coach in NHL history to 200 career wins, and his 36 playoff victories are a Penguins record.

However, the Penguins are 20-21 in the postseason under Bylsma since that 2009 Cup victory, and they were swept from the Eastern Conference final by Boston.

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