Austin MacGinnis isn't ready to give up on his dreams of being an NFL kicker just yet.
After spending time in two spring football leagues, minicamps and tryouts, signing with the Rams represents his latest chance at realizing them.
"I've always felt that I was good enough," MacGinnis said on a video conference call with reporters earlier this month. "I felt that if I stopped trying to achieve my dream, I would be selling myself short."
The former University of Kentucky standout joins CFL product Lirim Hajrullahu and Miami (Ohio) seventh-round pick Samuel Sloman in a training camp battle for former starting kicker Greg Zuerlein's old job, but getting to this point required some patience.
Following the conclusion of his college career, he attended the Chicago Bears' 2018 rookie minicamp. After trying out for the Bears again in early 2019, he signed with the Memphis Express of the now-defunct Alliance of American Football (AAF).
Six months after the AAF folded, MacGinnis' next opportunity came via the Dallas Renegades, who selected him in Phase 5 of the 2020 XFL Draft. He also tried out for the Dallas Cowboys in early December, according to multiple reports, but remaining with the Renegades worked out fine – his 10 for 10 mark on field goal attempts made him one of two XFL kickers with a perfect accuracy, and his 10 makes led the league.
MacGinnis also took on other jobs to help pay the bills. He was initially a credit analyst at a bank, then switched to a registered financial advisor to allow him more flexibility in his schedule to train for professional football opportunities. He ran kicking camps in the state of Kentucky as a branch-off of Mike McCabe, who was Rams punter Johnny Hekker's kicking coach as well.
"I was lucky enough that, even though I missed playing in the NFL for two years, I still stayed active in two spring leagues," MacGinnis said. "I've been in at least a rookie minicamp and NFL tryouts along the way, so I knew I was inching closer and kept getting better. Every combine I went to, I competed against guys who were in the NFL and had done well against them, so I knew it was a matter of time."
The XFL unfortunately was forced to cease operations on April 10 in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, MacGinnis didn't have to wait long for his next shot in the NFL, agreeing to terms with the Rams three days later.
MacGinnis said someone once told him if you stay good enough for long enough, you would end up where you needed to be. He kept that in the back of his mind as he continued to pursue his NFL dream, and now it's led him to the Rams.
"I look forward to this next journey, competing against those guys," MacGinnis said. "Just really focusing on myself, because I know if I'm the best me, then that's going to be the best for the Rams."