Cary Blanchard, the New York Jets' placekicker in 1992-93, died Tuesday. He was 47.
Blanchard entered the NFL as a free agent from Oklahoma State with Dallas, then went on to the World League of American Football, where he helped the Sacramento Surge win a title. From there he signed with New Orleans.
The Jets acquired him on waivers from the Saints after the 1992 season had begun to replace Jason Staurovsky, who replaced Raul Allegre, who replaced Pat Leahy, who retired after the '91 season.
The team was coincidentally honoring Leahy before the Sunday night game against the Patriots on Oct. 4, 1992, which was Blanchard's first game as the new kicker.
"I met Pat before the game," Blanchard said then. "He told me, 'You have a good game and maybe you can try and catch me,' meaning his 18-year category."
He paid immediate dividends in that game, hitting all three of his field goals, including fourth-quarter 40- and 47-yarders, to help the Jets hold off the Pats, 30-21.
"I'm excited about being here," Blanchard said. "I just wanted to come in, make myself known, and just do the best I can."
The next week he hit a game-tying 35-yard kick with 30 seconds left in regulation but the Jets fell to the Colts in Indianapolis, 6-3 in overtime. Blanchard went on to hit his first nine field goal tries and finished his first season in green and white 16-for-22. Then he followed that with a 17-for-26 second season for the Jets.
Blanchard departed after that 1993 season and continued his pro career with the Colts (1995-97) and one season each with the Redskins (1998), Giants (1999) and Cardinals (2000). For his career, he converted 165 of 214 field goal tries (77.1%) and 188 of 190 extra points.
Blanchard grew up in Forth Worth, TX, and was one of a group of upper-echelon kickers from that area who went on to the NFL, including Tony Franklin, Uwe von Schamann, Ali Haji-Sheikh, Kris Brown and Garrett Hartley.
Blanchard is survived by his ex-wife Mindi Blanchard, his son Blake, Blake's wife, Tia, his daughter Bayli and his son Braeden. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.