The Jets lost their placekicker form last year, Chandler Catanzaro, to the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent. But they quickly kicked the tires on Cairo Santos, the small but powerful kicker for the Chiefs and, briefly last year, the Bears and signed him up. Here are seven interesting facts about Santos:
Products of BrazilCairo Fernandes Santos was born in Brazil and, when he made his debut with Kansas City in 2014, he was the first Brazil-born player to play in the NFL. Last week we offered him "Parabéns!" — Portuguese for congratulations — upon his signing.
Yet if he kicks for the Jets in 2018, he will not be the first but the second player with Brazilian roots to wear the green and white. Breno Giacomini, who started at right tackle for the Jets from 2014-16, was born and raised in Massachusetts but both his parents were born in South America's largest country.
Wave KickerBefore Santos agreed to wear the green and white, he wore the green and blue of the Tulane University Green Wave. And as a junior in 2012, he won the Lou Groza Award as college football's top kicker. It was hard to consider anyone else that season after Cairo nailed all 21 of his field goal tries and 26 of his 27 extra points. He was also a consensus All-American that year. And he extended his FG streak to 27 into the '13 season.
Seven Times ThreeOne of the highlights of Santos' first three seasons in KC occurred when he became one of five kickers in NFL history to convert at least seven field goals in a game without a miss. That happened in Game 4 of the 2015 season at Cincinnati, when he went 7-for-7 and provided the Chiefs' only scoring offense in their 36-21 loss to the Bengals.
Long-Range KickerSantos is 7-of-13 on field goal tries of 50 yards or longer in his pro career, with a long of 54 yards. In '12 at Tulane, he nailed a school-record 57-yarder.
Streaky KickerTulane wasn't the only place Cairo went on a hot streak. In November 2016, he converted all 11 field goal tries and all five extra points in the Chiefs' four games. Two of the FGs were road walk-off game-winners, in a 20-17 win at Carolina and a 30-27 OT triumph at Denver. Not surprisingly, Santos won the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month.
Honoring His FatherAirplane tragedies play a somber role in Santos' life on and off the field. His father, Cairo Sr., was a pilot for Brazilian airline Varig. In 2013 his dad died in a stunt plane crash. "I used to talk to my dad every day. We were very close," he recalled. "After all the kicks, every success, I always think of him and point to heaven." In March 2016 Cairo got the chance to feel a little closer to his departed father when he spent the day flying with the Navy's Blue Angels.
Commemorative CleatsAlso in 2016, the NFL introduced its "My Cause My Cleats" campaign in which players got the chance for the Week 13 games that season to design their game footwear to reflect their commitments to charitable causes. Santos' sad choice was to honor the Brazilian association soccer club Chapecoense, whose plane to Colombia for a tournament match crashed, killing 71 of 77 on board. His shoes bore the club's logo and special practice shirts he ordered up read "Somos Todos Chapecoense" on the front and "Força Chape" on the back.
Top Images of the Newly-Acquired Kicker