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Texans punter says “I’m not an actual ‘football’ player”

Donnie Jones

Houston Texans punter Donnie Jones punts against the Denver Broncos during an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)


Texans punter Donnie Jones injured his leg trying to tackle Pats receiver Wes Welker on Monday night. Jones has a fairly simple explanation for it, which he has provided to teammates inclined to give him grief.

“I told those guys, I said, ‘Look, you guys are NFL football players, I’m not,’” Jones said, via “So when I get a little bruise or something, it is what it is. I know my role. But it’s all in good fun.”

Jones’ remarks give credence to the beliefs of those who view punters and kickers as a step below the folks who don’t use their feet. (Except, of course, when stomping someone, or kicking them in the crotch.)

“Yeah, I mean I’m not an actual NFL ‘football’ player,” Jones said. “I mean, come on. We know our roles. I had the same type thing in 2008. I had to push DeSean Jackson out of bounds. Somehow I chased him down, don’t know how I did it, and I fell and my knee blew up. Every now and then you get one. We’re punters and kickers. We’re a different breed.”

Yes, they are. But they still deserve respect for their skills. And it will be hard for them to get it if one of their own is willing to agree with the outdated stereotype that these pro athletes aren’t really athletes.