On Tuesday, he received recognition from the NFL for his performance in the Chargers’ most recent victory.
The accomplishment became even more notable Thursday when Cameron Dicker described his first experience with football this way: “I hated it.”
Born in Hong Kong, Dicker grew up mostly in Shanghai, his father working abroad as a supply chain manager.
When he was in fifth grade, Dicker was introduced to football in a loosely organized league put together by several local parents. Until that point, he had played mostly soccer.
Unsure what position would fit him in this new sport, Dicker ended up on the offensive line.
He didn’t play football again until more than a year later, after his family moved to Austin, Texas. On the first day of practice for his middle-school team, he found himself in a familiar spot.
“They had me on the O-line again,” Dicker recalled. “I was like, ‘This just sucks. This is not for me.’ ”
Halfway through that season, Dicker told the coaches he wanted to try kicking, a decision that eventually would net him a nickname, recognition in high school and a scholarship to the University of Texas.
“Dicker the Kicker” came from a science teacher Dicker had in middle school.
“Mr. G,” he said. “Mr. Gonzales. He was the man.”
A rookie, Dicker began his NFL career kicking and punting against the Chargers. With the Rams in training camp, he handled both duties when L.A.’s NFL teams met to open the preseason in August.
Dicker finished the preseason with Baltimore before making his regular-season debut in Week 5 as an injury replacement for Philadelphia.
When the Chargers lost Dustin Hopkins to a hamstring issue and Taylor Bertolet to a quadriceps injury, Dicker joined the team last week and kicked Sunday in Atlanta.
In both of his NFL appearances to date, Dicker made a deciding field goal in the final two minutes for a 20-17 victory for his team. Both times he was named his conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week.
Now, he’s preparing for this third career game, Sunday night when the Chargers visit San Francisco.
“It’s kind of nuts that I’m in the position I’m in,” Dicker said, “and have been able to do what I’ve been able to do.”
It’s kind of nuts, too, what has happened to the Chargers at the kicking position this year. Since moving to Los Angeles, they’ve used 13 kickers, including five during the 2017 season.
Until this year, however, the issue was finding a kicker. Now, the Chargers keep finding them. Their threesome is a combined 14 of 15 on field goals and 20 of 20 on extra points. Only three teams — Seattle, Las Vegas and Chicago — have enjoyed better field-goal accuracy.
The consistency is admirable given how inconsistent the position has been for this team from one Sunday to the next.
“It’s a testament to these guys,” special teams coordinator Ryan Ficken said. “God has blessed these guys with a talented leg and the mindset to go ahead and be successful. It’s a testament to how they compete.”
Hopkins, Bertolet and Dicker have made 30 consecutive kicks, the only miss on the season being a 49-yard field-goal attempt by Hopkins in the season opener.
Each of the three has been awarded a game ball following a victory.
All of this has signaled quite a departure from 2017 when, while he was warming up on the sideline to be an injury placement during a game in Dallas, punter Drew Kaser’s kick completely missed the practice net.
“The history of kicking here, that doesn’t really faze me,” Ficken said. “That’s something where we turn the page … a completely different coaching staff. … Hats off to these players for taking ownership of it and helping our team win.”
Wide receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring) and right tackle Trey Pipkins III (knee) again both missed practice Thursday, a sign that neither is likely to play against the 49ers. The Chargers also will be without wide receiver Mike Williams (ankle). Defensive lineman Jerry Tillery missed his second consecutive practice for what the Chargers have deemed a “personal” reason. … Edge rusher Chris Rumph II (knee) and tight end Tre’ McKitty (hamstring) were limited in practice.