The long, proud run of the Seabass is over in Oakland.
"The Raider Nation salutes Sebastian Janikowski as the sun sets on his illustrious career with the Oakland Raiders," team owner Mark Davis said in a statement Thursday. "He joined the team as a surprise first-round pick in the 2000 Draft and finishes his time in Oakland as one of the greatest or perhaps the greatest kicker in pro football history. His powerful left leg produced an NFL-record 55 field goals of 50-or-more yards. The motto, 'Once a Raider, Always a Raider' has never been more true as his 18-year career makes him the longest-tenured player in Raiders history. Sebastian, his wife, Lori, and their three children will always be a loved and treasured part of the Raiders family."
Janikowski's parting with the Silver and Black caps a storied 18-year run with the franchise that made him the 17th overall pick in 2000 -- the same draft that saw New England grab Tom Brady.
The move comes as no great surprise after the 39-year-old Janikowski spent all of last season on injured reserve with a back issue. In his place, 27-year-old Giorgio Tavecchio nailed 16 of 21 field goals and 33 of his 34 extra points during a productive campaign for Oakland.
Janikowski will now delve into free-agent waters, months after he told reporters he hoped to be kicking for the Raiders when they moved to Las Vegas in 2020.
That plan has changed, but it wouldn't be shocking to see another team take a shot at one of the game's most productive and memorable kickers.
It hardly seems like 18 years ago that my name was called as a first round draft pick by Al Davis to play for the Oakland Raiders. This was my dream come true. I was thrilled to know that I was chosen to be a Raider.
At the age of 16, my father, mother and I had come to America from Poland in hopes of a better life. This was my big opportunity. I was given a chance to achieve the great American dream.
From my first day in training camp, I knew I was where I belonged. I loved every minute of it. I will always remember how Al Davis made me feel that he truly believed and had confidence in me. The Davis family, the coaching staff, my teammates, and the Raider Nation have always stood with me, supported me, and believed in me. For this, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I feel as if I have grown up as an Oakland Raider. Through this great journey I met and married my wife, and we have been blessed with three beautiful little girls.
I always knew that one day my time with the Oakland Raiders would come to an end, but I have to say, that never would have been too soon. It has been an honor and a privilege to wear the Silver and Black for these past 18 years. Words cannot express my gratitude to Mark Davis and the Raider Nation. No one could have said it better than Mr. Davis, but it is with pride and enthusiasm that I would tell my teammates to "Just win, baby!"