Wizards

Chiefs' Colquitt unsung star for losing team

Chiefs' Colquitt unsung star for losing team

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) 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,'' 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 but 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.''

Colquitt's father, Craig, should know. He won a pair of Super Bowl rings while punting for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1978-84. His uncle, Jimmy Colquitt, also appeared in a couple of games as a punter for the Seattle Seahawks during the 1985 season.

On Sunday, the first family of punters will have another reunion in Denver.

Colquitt will be punting for the Chiefs in the thin air of Sports Authority Field, while his younger brother Britton Colquitt will be hammering punts for the Broncos, who have a chance to earn homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win and a little help.

``We kind of play it off and say it doesn't matter,'' Dustin Colquitt said of the sibling rivalry, ``but at the end of the day, you get on the plane or bus, it's like, `Hey, let me see that stat sheet real quick.'''

Colquitt is in the final year of an $8.5 million, five-year deal with Kansas City, which makes his future a bit uncertain. Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel could be out of jobs by Monday, so the chances of Colquitt signing an extension are slim at best.

He's good enough that some wonder whether the Chiefs will take the rare step of franchising a punter. Otherwise, he could be a coveted special-teams player on the free-agent market.

Colquitt isn't worried about that just yet. He's played his entire career with the Chiefs, and would rather focus on finishing up another lost season with one more solid outing.

Even if few people ultimately notice.

``We want to win this game, leave a good taste in our mouth this offseason,'' he said. ``Denver's already kind of set up with its postseason shot, so we have to put our minds to it, have a good game plan and execute it.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Steve Kerr unsure if Steph Curry is ready for a March 1 return against the Wizards

Steve Kerr unsure if Steph Curry is ready for a March 1 return against the Wizards

Earlier this week it was reported that former NBA MVP Steph Curry was going to make his return from injury this Sunday when the Wizards travel to Golden State. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr isn't necessarily convinced that is the best time to bring him back. 

"Nothing's official. Steph will play when he's ready," Kerr told reporters on Wednesday.

"He's been out for four months and he's done a ton of individual work, but to put somebody into an NBA game, you have to feel really, really comfortable that everything is there conditioning-wise, strength-wise. A lot of that you can't simulate unless it's actual basketball. He's done everything that [the Director of Sports Medicine] Rick (Celebrini) has asked of him and more."

In fact, the Warriors were not aware of Curry's return date being March 1 and that it was "news to us."

"That date has been something that's for sure on Steph's mind," Kerr said. "That's when he wants to play, but he'll play when we all feel like he's ready to go. I think he needs more scrimmage time."

Kerr admits that getting Curry on the court has been difficult with the Warriors' schedule over the past several weeks. Just before the All-Star break, Golden State played three games in five days. Since returning to action they've had another stretch of three in five with no practice days to allow for Curry to truly rejoin the team. 

Curry has been working out to himself ready on his own time. He's been out since Oct. 30 after breaking his left hand against the Suns. Videos of him doing individual drills and playing on the court have given encouraging signs of his return after he was cleared to resume contact last week. That's not enough for Kerr though.

"Two scrimmages against largely non-NBA players - no offense to them - doesn't exactly qualify as perfect preparation," Kerr said. 

Sunday is still an option for his return though. Kerr believes there is still a chance he plays against the Wizards but wants to do what is in the best interest of Curry's health. Understandable, considering they have the worst record in the league and have no aspirations at making the playoffs. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Ron Rivera describes situation with Trent Williams as 'fluid,' has no update on guard Brandon Scherff

Ron Rivera describes situation with Trent Williams as 'fluid,' has no update on guard Brandon Scherff

Redskins head coach Ron Rivera was asked a plethora of questions when he addressed the media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, such as what impressed him about quarterback Dwayne Haskins and what players the team will consider with the No. 2 pick.

While Rivera talked in detail about meeting with top quarterback prospects and what his view on free agency is, the head coach did not offer much insight about two offensive linemen: Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff.

Rivera confirmed recent reports that he had spoken with Williams, the team's cornerstone left tackle, but would not go much further than that.

"Trent Williams and I have talked. We had a good conversation," Rivera said. "Again, that's a work in progress and we'll see how things unfold. It's a fluid situation."

Williams, of course, did not play a snap for the Redskins in 2019, holding out after believing Redskins doctors misdiagnosed a cancerous growth on his head for nearly six years. But after the organization had practically a complete reboot this offseason, firing longtime team president Bruce Allen and athletic trainer Larry Hess.

Rivera stated he has a plan to get Williams to return. A report last week stated No. 71 will return to the Redskins because of Rivera. But thus far, nothing has amounted.

"I think where it is, we're still working through details," Rivera said. "We're in a good place. We had a good conversation and we're going to go from that."

The head coach was also asked questions about right guard Brandon Scherff, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Scherff reportedly turned down a hefty extension last year that would have paid him upwards of $13 million annually, but did tell NBC Sports Washington last October he wants to remain in Washington for the entirety of his career.

Rivera was asked about his plan with Scherff and whether the franchise tag was a potential option. The head coach gave a vague response while avoiding answering the question directly.

"Well, the biggest thing again, is that we like our guys," Rivera said. "We like our guys that are free agents. We want to try to bring those guys back, we'll see how things go."

The head coach's answer did not sound like he's confident the Redskins will be able to retain the three-time Pro Bowler.

"You have to look at everything," Rivera said. "What happens if they don't come back? It's a pretty fair free agency, but you never know, because guys are trying to re-sign their own players."

The Redskins have until March 12 to place the franchise tag on Scherff, should they decide to go that route. Until then, the two sides are expected to continue to work on reaching a long-term deal.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS