Chiefs' Dustin Colquitt unsung star for losing team
BY DAVE SKRETTA Associated Press
Friday, December 28, 2012
12/28/12 at 6:16 AM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The job description alone should scare away all but the most confident of souls.
Must be able to kick an awkwardly shaped ball at least 50 yards. Must generate enough hang-time to enable proper coverage.
Must do it all in the midst of thousands of screaming fans, with half a dozen defenders bringing pressure and the game's outcome hanging in the balance.
And the only time you'll receive any attention is when you make a mistake, when you mishandle a snap or shank a punt or hit one right into the end zone instead of spiking it at the 5.
Yes, it's a surprise anybody would be up for such a task.
Dustin Colquitt relishes it.
The veteran punter is arguably the Kansas City Chiefs' most unsung star. He's their inept offense's best friend for his ability to flip field position in a single snap, and their defense's secret weapon in pinning the opponent deep within its own territory.
"When you talk about field position, helping your team," said Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel, "he definitely does that."
Finally, he's starting to get some attention for it.
Colquitt was one of five Chiefs players voted to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday. He'll be joined in Hawaii by better-known stars such as running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry and linebackers Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson, all of whom have made it to the all-star game in the past.
This will be Colquitt's first trip, though.
He's certainly deserving of it.
In his seventh season out of Tennessee, the Chiefs' punter has had the finest season of his career. He's averaging 46.9 yards on 75 punts for a team that's 2-13, doing his job superbly even while those around him have struggled to do much with the prime field position he's created.
"That's my job," Colquitt said. "That's my role, and you have to be comfortable with that, regardless of what the offense or defense is doing. You have to be special."
He's been special at a record-setting pace, too. Colquitt has put 42 punts inside the 20 this season, which trails only Arizona's Dave Zastudil (44) for the most in the NFL. It also matches the record going into this season, shared by Ben Graham, Andy Lee and Steve Weatherford.
But the Cardinals' Zastudil has punted 106 times to break the record, while Colquitt has put an astonishing 56 percent of his kicks inside the opponent's red zone.
"It's awesome," Colquitt said of perhaps setting the record for punts inside the 20. "It was cool setting the Kansas City Chiefs record and tying the NFL record, and it would mean a lot to me. My dad always told me, 'If you do anything in football, be the defensive coordinator's best friend.' That's how I've always looked at it."
Original Print Headline: Kansas City's unsung standout
Chiefs up next
At Denver 3:25 p.m. Sunday
Kansas City's Dustin Colquitt punts during Sunday's game against Indianapolis. CHARLIE RIEDEL/Associated Press