ALAMEDA – Jack Del Rio has long defended punter Marquette King’s antics. The Raiders head coach prefers to let players express themselves during games, especially in celebration of a job well done.
King has done prepared dances individualized for a specific opponent following stellar punts, that has received significant attention by the national press.
Those moments are fine. Del Rio takes issue when flags are thrown. That has happened twice in as many weeks, and Del Rio spoke to King about these issues.
He was flagged for taunting after an exchange with Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill, who returned King’s punt 78 yards for a touchdown. He was penalized a week earlier for picking up an official’s flag, using it as a prop and then spiking it into the turf.
“He cannot have another penalty,” Del Rio said. “I’ve allowed him to have his freedom, and I want him to express himself. I think that’s when he’s at his best. But we can’t have routine 15-yard penalties from our punter. We have had them two weeks in a row.
“I’ve talked to him. It’s unacceptable.”
Del Rio said he hadn’t had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in his playing career, and doesn’t want them showing up in key games down the stretch.
“We don’t want to see that,” Del Rio said. “We want to play smart, tough football.”