The word on Justin Tucker is that he doesn’t have to play football. But he does. He’s the kicker for the Baltimore Ravens, who appear to be the best team in the National Football League in 2019, with a showy won-lost record of 13-2. But that’s not all. As of October, Tucker reached the milestone of being the most accurate kicker in league history.
But wait, football may be his secondary passion. If Tucker the Texan were cut tomorrow, he would still have an equally compelling career — as an opera singer.
Born in Houston, Tucker graduated from Westlake High School in Austin and attended the University of Texas. There, he kicked for the Longhorns, but long before he put on a kicker’s shoe, he proved he had serious chops as an opera singer.
Justin Tucker, after he kicked a game-winning field goal, during his days at the University of Texas.
Justin Tucker, after he kicked a game-winning field goal, during his days at the University of Texas. (Darren Carroll / Getty Images)
He’s a classically trained bass-baritone who sang “Ave Maria” for a Catholic Charities benefit concert with the Concert Artists of Baltimore. And in 2018, he sang “Ave Maria” to become pro football’s “Most Valuable Performer,” on an NFL talent show carried by CBS.
The New York Times lauds Tucker for his dual gifts of “singing arias and splitting uprights,” and while the Times acknowledges his sure-footed kicking, it flat out gushed about the night Tucker appeared at the elegant Hippodrome Theatre in downtown Baltimore. Outfitted in a black, three-piece suit, Tucker, the Times marveled, “belted out something else: a serenade from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.”
“I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that you don’t hear him singing some kind of opera,” said Ravens punter Sam Koch, who holds the football for Tucker’s field-goal and extra-point attempts.
While he digs all kinds of music, Tucker, 30, says he loves opera, and during his commute to practice, he proves it by cueing up the dulcet sounds of the late Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, in hopes of fine-tuning the nuances he’ll need the next time he sings an aria onstage. Which might be after the Super Bowl.
Rapper, opera singer, impressionist and professional kicker.