Jose Maltos, a 21-year old rookie, kicked at the University of Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico and became only the 18th Mexican-born player to be signed to an NFL contract on May 13 when he agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints. He attended the pro day held at Southern Methodist University on March 27 where he caught the eye of NFL scouts as he made field goals from 45 and 55 yards. He also kicked in an all-star game of American players at the Aztec Bowl in Monterrey in December 2012. While representing Mexico at the Senior World Championships event, Maltos set a game-record with a 56-yard field goal.
Maltos, 5 feet 9, 201 pounds, was signed as an undrafted free agent and will be a long shot to make the roster. He will be competing against six-year veteran Garrett Hartley who has made some of the most significant kicks in Saints history including a game-winning 40-yard field goal in overtime during the 2009 NFC championship game vs. Minnesota to send the Saints to their first Super Bowl. Hartley went on to become the first player in Super Bowl history to kick three field goals of 40-or-more yards when he connected from 44, 46 and 47 yards in addition to two PATs during Super Bowl XLIV.
There have only been a handful of native Mexican players to clinch an NFL roster spot and most have been kickers. The most recent kicker was Tony Zendejas who was selected in the first round (27th overall) in the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Washington Redskins and went on to play for the Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. Throughout his 11 seasons, Zendejas made 186 field goals and 316 extra points.
Sean Payton on Maltos (May 23, 2013):
“He’s got a live leg (and) his get off times are good. I think early on he has been real solid, so I am anxious to see how he performs once we get going in team drills, but he is doing very well.”