Kansas City, Mo. A Kansas City Chiefs spokesman declined comment on a report Friday that the team has picked Nick Novak over Connor Barth as the winner in a months-long battle for place kicker.
The Kansas City Star, without citing a source, reported on its Web site that the team informed Novak on Friday that he would get the nod over Barth, a rookie free agent from North Carolina.
The two had become good friends while battling neck-and-neck since last spring, and warding off competition from more experienced kickers such as Jay Feely, who was brought in for two days last week but quickly released.
Head coach Herm Edwards said Friday that he would withhold any announcement on roster decisions until the cutdown date Saturday.
Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore said he could neither confirm nor deny The Star's story.
Novak has kicked in 16 NFL games, making 65 percent. Neither he nor Barth had an opportunity to try a field goal in Thursday night's victory over St. Louis in the final preseason game. Kansas City opens its regular season on Sept. 7 at New England.
"We have to let 22 players go between today and tomorrow," Edwards said. "We're really not going to make an official announcement of who those are for reasons of competitive advantage. I told the players that it was a tough decision and it wasn't over by any stretch of the imagination. We'll try to bring some back as practice squad players."
Edwards said the decision at kicker was "a tough one."
"Both of them have done a great job, and we feel that both of them can kick in this league. Sometimes when you're in that situation the competition is so close you go with your gut. We've got a guy who we think can do it. We'll find out."
After the Rams game, Novak said he had done all he could.
"All I can do now is go home and pray about it," he told The Associated Press. "I personally think I can help this team this year and contribute to wins."
"My confidence is very high because we've competed against so many veterans, like Jay Feely and numerous other kickers they brought in. This is the team I want to play for. Whatever happens, I can accept it."