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'Cordial' competition begins between Crosby, Tavecchio

May 10, 2013
 
Green Bay Packers kicker Giorgio Tavecchio was in training camp with the San Francisco 49ers last season. File/Getty Images
Green Bay Packers kicker Giorgio Tavecchio was in training camp with the San Francisco 49ers last season. File/Getty Images

Taking a moment to briefly glance around the Green Bay Packers’ auxiliary locker room, Giorgio Tavecchio looks back at his locker and smiles.

“Welcome to my office,” the first-year kicker quips.

For the past month, the locker room reserved for Packers’ undrafted and street free agents has been Tavecchio’s home since signing with the team in March.

Tavecchio, 22, didn’t receive any kind of signing bonus upon being brought in as offseason competition for veteran Mason Crosby, but the Packers have stayed true to the University of California kicker thus far.

Two weeks ago, the team opted against using a draft pick on the position or bringing in any additional competition during college free agency shortly thereafter.

Right now, the job belongs to Tavecchio, a well-traveled individual who comes to Green Bay after being born in Milan, Italy. So far, he's enjoying the move.

“This is a part of the country I haven’t been exposed to too much to meet new people and see a slice of America I haven’t really been able to taste much,” said Tavecchio, who's previously lived in Italy, Washington D.C., Connecticut and California.

“Everyone has been incredibly welcoming so far, met some nice people and went to a couple good restaurants. Angelina’s was delicious, went last week.”

Born to Renato and Gabriella Tavecchio, Giorgio lived in Italy his first four years and grew up playing only soccer. After high school, he faced dueling walk-on offers from California in football and UC-Davis in soccer before choosing the former.

At California, Tavecchio made 48 of 64 field goals (75 percent) with 112 makes on 120 extra-point attempts, but he's been kicking consistently only since his senior year of high school.

The performance earned him a spot with the San Francisco 49ers last offseason as an extra camp leg for David Akers, who was coming off a Pro Bowl season.

The two left-footed kickers formed a bond in San Francisco. So far he’s been hitting it off with Crosby, who’s facing his first offseason competition for the position since his rookie season in 2007 following a league-worst 63.6-percent field goal percentage last season.

“We’ve been around each other for the last few weeks,” Tavecchio said. “He’s been very friendly, very cordial. It’s been fun to be around and see a real pro.”

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