Cowboys kicker Lirim Khairullahu has three degrees … and a backup plan

Oxnard, California – Cowboys kicker Lirim Khairulahu might be the smartest guy on the team. He has the degrees to prove it: an MBA, a Masters in Sports Management, as well as a B.A. He even wrote a book.

“It was part of my masters,” Khairullahu said. “I actually wrote the first kicking book. So if a high school coach picks up the book, he can look at it and learn, technically, what the kicker is supposed to do. These are the workouts they should be doing. “

But Lirim wanted to expand his knowledge beyond the mechanics of kicking. He also wanted to incorporate the mental aspect of the game and control what he was thinking about, since the difference between kickers in the NFL can be as little as a yard.

“I come here at night and do my visualization on the field,” Khairullahu explained. “Before training I try to do it in my room.”

Born in war-torn Kosovo, Khairulahu’s family fled to Canada when he was nine years old. There he played in the Canadian Football League before finding work in the NFL with the Cowboys, Panthers and Commanders before returning to the Cowboys again. This year’s training camp did not go as expected. Both Hajrullahu and former Texas Tech Red Raider Jonathan Garibay struggled a bit in camp, so head coach Mike McCarthy put them both in his “mojo moment” at practice to help increase pressure and reps.


“When it comes to the ‘mojo moment,’ I just understand the situation,” Khairullahu said. “I want to be one of the best guys in situational jobs and we get a lot of opportunities.”

Khairullahu’s goal is to make the 53-man roster. If he misses the cut, his father, who is a professor, has made sure he has plenty of options to fall back on thanks to his education.


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Cowboys kicker Lirim Khairullahu has three degrees … and a backup plan

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