One of the best stories at Pittsburgh Steelers rookie minicamp was that of kicker Aflredo Gachuz Lozada. Gachuz, whom the Steelers signed after seeing him kick at a camp they ran in Mexico, participated in minicamp this past weekend and did a one-on-one interview with Alvaro Martin for Steelers.com. Gachúz talked about the emotion that went through him when he got the call from Steelers GM Omar Khan to take part in minicamp.
“A huge emotion that goes from the stomach to the chest. The truth is that maybe you can’t see it in the video, I don’t know, but I was overwhelmed with happiness at that moment,” Gachúz said via Steelers.com. “My mom was there, my sister was there. I shared that moment with them. It was a very, very big emotion because I did not imagine that it would happen at that moment. Maybe later it could happen, maybe after a couple of years in Canada it could happen, but not right now. And well, I am grateful for the opportunity Steelers gave me and for the fact that they were able to come to Mexico to see me and the rest of the kickers.”
If Gachúz isn’t able to latch on with an NFL team, he’ll spend the season kicking for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. Toronto drafted him in the first round of the 2023 CFL Global Draft, and the former Liga de Fútbol Americano Professional MVP could get an NFL opportunity if he performs well in the CFL.
Gachúz wasn’t the only player at Pittsburgh minicamp who was a first-round selection in the CFL Global Draft. Rutgers punter Adam Korsak, who’s Australian, went third overall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Gachúz, who is the all-time LFA leader in points scored was clearly appreciative and also a little surprised about getting the opportunity with the Steelers. Obviously, his performance at Pittsburgh’s kicking camp impressed the team enough to give him a look, even if he is a longshot to get signed with the team having Chris Boswell on the roster as well as undrafted free agent B.T. Potter.
But inviting Gachúz and giving him first taste of NFL action, even in this capacity could go a long way toward relationship building. If Gachúz lights it up in the CFL, as he did in the LFA, and the Steelers are in need of a kicker down the line, having this sort of relationship with Gachúz could give them a leg up over other teams who may be interested in bringing him in.
There’s no doubt that Gachúz has a lot of talent, and at only 26 years old he should have a long career in professional football ahead of him. He’s shown off his strong leg, with an LFA-record 61-yard made field goal, and his accuracy has been on display as well.
Even if Gachúz doesn’t earn a roster spot with Pittsburgh this season, he’s going to be a name to watch down the line. With the NFL looking to expand into Mexico, and the Steelers potentially getting a game in the country, he could help continue to build a fan base for the Steelers down south if he ends up with the team at some point.