At one point this week, after he had answered the same two or three questions a couple dozen times, Washington Redskins kicker Chip Lohmiller grinned and said, yes, life can be tough even when you're not a linebacker chasing Dave Meggett toward the end zone.
"If you miss a couple, it's got to be talked about," Lohmiller said. "You make every field goal, and no one knows you're around. It's part of the game and someone has to do it. When you don't make them, people want to know why."
A lot of people have wanted to know why this week, after Lohmiller missed a career-high four field goals during the Redskins' 13-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
The Redskins say they're not overly concerned since three of the misses were long-distance kicks and he did come back to hit two important ones in the fourth quarter. The Redskins say too that he kicked only one of the six field goals badly and had his best day of the season in putting kickoffs deep into the end zone.
But misses are misses, and the timing is nothing if not scary for the Redskins (4-2), who are preparing to play the New York Giants (6-0) for the second time in three weeks.
Lohmiller missed a 30-yard field goal in New York's 24-20 victory at RFK Stadium two weeks ago. That wasn't a good day, but it was nothing like the one he had Oct. 2, 1988. His pro career was five games old, the Redskins were hoping for back-to-back Super Bowls, and in their biggest game of the season, Lohmiller missed an extra point in the first half and a 36-yard field goal with 2:54 remaining.
The Giants won, 24-23, at RFK that day, and the Redskins were off and running toward a 7-9 season.
"That was the worst day of my career," he said. "It was also the beginning of my career. That was a long time ago, and I still remember it. I don't think about it too often. You try to put those bad memories away."
He also missed a 49-yarder in last season's 27-24 opening day loss to the Giants. But he says he doesn't feel particularly jinxed against the Giants, and, in fact, he has made seven of 10 for his career against them.
It's just that in a series where the Redskins have lost eight of nine, including the last five by a total of 18 points, every little bit counts. Lohmiller's little bit could have counted a couple of times.
"I don't believe in jinxes or anything like that," Lohmiller said. "You've got to make every kick, no matter who you're playing. Everyone remembers the Giants games because they've been close. But I've still got a good percentage against them. If I'm expected to make them all, that's fine. I'm a perfectionist, and I expect to make them all myself."
Likewise, Lohmiller has answered negative questions with positive answers and positive questions with even more positive answers this week. His ability to focus on the good things and erase the bad has always been one of his strengths. He also pointed out that three of the kicks against the Eagles -- from 51, 48 and 50 yards -- were low-percentage kicks anyway.
He also missed a 41-yarder, which special teams coach Wayne Sevier blamed partly on the hold by punter Ralf Mojsiejenko. Sevier says the other holds were okay, but he has auditioned other holders this week.
Giants Coach Bill Parcells got into the mix, having reportedly said he can't understate why his former backup quarterback, Jeff Rutledge, hasn't taken over the holding duties. Not only is Rutledge supposed to be the best the Giants ever had, but having him as a holder also gives the Redskins the option of calling a pass from field-goal formation.
Nevertheless, it's likely that Mojsiejenko will hold this week, and he appears mystified by the concern.
"I think I've done my job," he said. "I thought the holds were okay. We went back and looked at the films and there was nothing wrong."
Lohmiller won't discuss such things, saying that if the kick doesn't go through, blame him. But when punter Greg Coleman held for him his rookie year, he was seven for 10 from 40 yards and beyond. Since then, he's five for 19 from that distance.
Lohmiller said the important thing is to look ahead and to remain positive. One problem is that he has been so automatic from 40 yards and in -- 48 for 56 (.857) -- during his career that expectations are high for every kick.
He also has kicked at least one field goal in 26 straight regular season games, which places him third on the all-time list behind Fred Cox (31) and Jim Turner (28).
After only 2 1/2 seasons, it is hard to remember the day when the Redskins rotated kickers seemingly every few weeks.
"You can't look back," Lohmiller said. "I feel like I kicked the ball well on Sunday. I didn't really muff any kicks, and I made the two that counted. I kicked off well. I had the distance. Fifty is in my range. Fifty-yarders. . . . I don't know what the league average is on 50-yarders, but if you get a chance for three points, you want to go for it. The way our defense is playing, the misses didn't really damage us too much. . . .
"I didn't get down on myself. I just wanted to make one. Each time I kicked it, I kicked the ball well. I'd go out there thinking, 'Well, next time I'll do it.' You can't start thinking about changing things, not at that point. You just stay positive. You have to go out and imagine the ball going through the uprights and you getting three points.
"I'm a perfectionist myself. I want to make everything, no matter what the cirumstances."