THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – A well-traveled kicker, Kai Forbath's latest destination is perhaps his favorite yet.
The recently signed specialist was born in Santa Monica, played his high school football at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks and college football at UCLA before embarking on his professional career which included stops with the Dallas Cowboys (2011, undrafted free agent), Washington Football Team, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars in a nine-year span.
Now, he gets to kick for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Rams.
"I'm very excited to be able to play at home and live at home," Forbath said during a video conference Wednesday. "The dream is finally coming true of being able to just be home and you know, be here."
Forbath most recently kicked for the Dallas Cowboys, spending three games with them last season and making all 11 of his field goal attempts in that span. He also converted all 10 of his extra point attempts.
That performance prompted the Cowboys to re-sign in him the spring and give him the opportunity to compete with former Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein – who signed a three-year contract with Dallas in March – for the starting job. Unfortunately, Forbath never got much of a chance because of the virtual offseason and the fact that he was released before the start of training camp. Prior to signing with the Rams, he had spent time on the Bears' and Panthers' practice squads.
In the interim, Forbath, who lives in West Hollywood, had been training locally at Agoura High School for his next opportunity, a regiment that began at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NFL's COVID-19 protocols for onboarding free agents prevented him from actually reporting to the facility until Sunday even though he had signed with the Rams earlier last week. He wasn't active against the Bears Monday night but still had a chance to get acclimated to SoFi Stadium during pregame warmups.
"I've kind of gotten a hang of doing the waiting around six day thing," Forbath said, alluding to those protocols. "But fortunately, I'm from L.A., so I got to go kick locally on my own. Stayed ready. It was nice to get out in the stadium and kind of just do some visualization stuff out there and see the stadium and be ready to go."
Forbath's first chance to kick in a home game won't come until Week 10 against the Seahawks due to the bye week. Instead, he'll be making his Rams debut and showing his strengths as a kicker at Miami in Week 8.
Since 2012, Forbath has made 131 of 151 career field goal attempts and 183 of 195 extra point attempts. His 86.8 percent field goal accuracy is eighth-highest among active players.
"I've always focused on just being as consistent as I can. I think my numbers have shown that over the last eight years," Forbath said. "And over the last few years, I've really tried to improve on kickoffs."
His family wasn't the only recognizable face when he returned to Los Angeles. Forbath worked with Rams head coach Sean McVay and linebackers coach/assistant head coach Joe Barry in Washington from 2012-14. Even some of the equipment staff from Forbath's Washington tenure are now with the Rams. During that time, Forbath made 57 of his 63 field goal attempts inside the 50 and missed only three of his 92 extra point attempts.
"I think he has experience," McVay said during a video conference Tuesday. "I've been with Kai in Washington and he's pretty accurate from those inside of the 50-yard ranges and he's got experience. I think that's really important. The game's not too big for him and I think he will bring some stability to that spot and hopefully some more consistent production that we haven't had this year."
At the moment, Forbath won't get a chance to display all those attributes in front of local family and friends since fan attendance is non-existent due to L.A. County COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings.
Even if those people are unable to watch him play, being back home is enough for now. When he began his professional career, Los Angeles didn't have an NFL team. Seeing the Rams' rise since their return to the city, he's glad to be joining the team.
"I mean, it's like they're the team here, and it's exciting to be a part of," Forbath said. "All my friends and family are here, and they're all Rams fans now. So it's very exciting part of it."
The Los Angeles Rams were back on the practice field on Thursday as they prepare to take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 8. Check out some of the top photos from Thursday's practice!