Broncos notebook: Punting the family business for Britton Colquitt

Staff writerJanuary 30, 2014 

Punting Colquitts Football

In this Nov. 25, 2012 file photo, Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt (2) and his brother, Denver Broncos punter Britton Colquitt (4) talk after playing each other in an NFL football game, in Kansas City, Mo. The Colquitts are to punting what the Mannings are to passing, and this first family of punters had an inauspicious start, a safety on the patriarch's very first punt at the University of Tennessee in 1975.

CHARLIE RIEDEL — ASSOCIATED PRESS

— Big legs run in Britton Colquitt’s family, although maybe not in the usual sense.

Colquitt is the punter for the AFC champion Denver Broncos. His father, Craig, punted for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brother Dustin punts for the Kansas City Chiefs. And his uncle, Jimmy, punted briefly for the Seattle Seahawks in 1985.

So, the obvious question: Nature or nurture?

“I think it’s a little bit of both,” Britton Colquitt said. “It’s somehow in the blood. But (it’s also believing punting is) the family business. My uncle Jimmy – when he was younger and my dad was punting at the University of Tennessee – he looked up at my dad and said, ‘Hey, I want to do what you’re doing, so teach me.’ And then Jimmy did it.

“And then we played soccer and other sports, but when it came time for high school and kicking, my dad was there to teach us, and we saw an opportunity to go to college and possibly make a living.”

Like his father, Colquitt punted at Tennessee. He signed with Denver as a free agent in 2009 but was waived by the Broncos and then Miami before returning to Denver in 2010. He has held the job ever since and is the franchise leader in gross (45.8) and net (39.3) punting average.

The net average is what he considers a punter’s top priority.

“The change of field position, that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you kick it 60 yards, if they return it to the house; or 40 yards, you only netted 20.

“The biggest thing is to help your offense out. When they can’t move the ball, you want to move the ball down field and put your defense in good position.”

Colquitt hasn’t had much chance to do that in this postseason. The Broncos didn’t punt at all in their playoff opener against San Diego, and they punted only once in their AFC championship win over New England.

“It’s a good thing when you’re team’s good on offense, that means you’re winning,” Colquitt said. “I’m cool with that.”

Those two wins put the Broncos into Super Bowl XLVIII where they will meet the Seattle Seahawks.

A Denver win on Sunday would make Craig and Britton Colquitt the fourth set of father-son Super Bowl winners, as Craig won two with the Steelers.

“The fact that he played in the NFL and won Super Bowl rings is a big part of the reason I’m here and my brother’s in the NFL,” Colquitt said. “Just to see that growing up – to see all the pictures of the Steel Curtain and Terry Bradshaw and all those Super Bowl teams – just kind of gives you a belief that it’s normal to play in the NFL. And it’s really not. … It’s truly an honor to think of how many father-sons have made it to the NFL, and then how few have even made it to the Super Bowl and how few have won it past that. … That would be really sweet.”

BRONCO WORK

Unlike the Seahawks, the Broncos practiced outdoors and in pads on Wednesday.

On Thursday, coach John Fox explained why.

“I think at the end of the day, that’s why you play the game,” he said. “I think our guys have reacted to it pretty well. They expect it. We have a couple of routines that you get into. Every year is different. Every team is different. I think this team reacts best when we’ve done that, and it’s going to be no different this week than prior weeks.”

His players seemed to like it.

"It was finally good,” safety Mike Adams said. “It was finally set in, like, 'You know what? It's time to roll.’ … And once we finally (got) to start running, because we had pads on – get to hitting a little bit, get the shoulders warmed up – it just felt good. It just felt good back in that groove, back in that same routine."

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808
don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com
@donruiztnt

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