Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt missed two games last season but managed to still have a very respectable year. But as Bob Gretz reports, the only reason Colquitt’s numbers were down at all was because of injuries that most of us were not allowed to know about during the season.
There are some fans who think being mysterious about injuries is something new to the Chiefs under the direction of GM Scott Pioli. Not so. Last year under Herm Edwards players were told specifically not to talk about their injuries. Sometimes they slipped and revealed too much to the media. They ended up hearing about it from the coaching staff and one player said he was fined for giving away information on his health.
Attempts to keep an opponent from knowing there might be a physical problem is understandable. But it leaves a player hanging when he struggles through a season and the fans and media do not know why he has problems.
So how does a punter get hurt? In Colquitt’s case it wasn’t from kicking. It was from holding. Go back to the ‘08 off-season and the Chiefs were trying to find a kicker. They were auditioning three for several months: Billy Cundiff, Nick Novak and rookie Connor Barth. Along the way other kickers came to town to workout, guys like Mike Vanderjagt and Jay Feely. It was Colquitt who held for all of those kickers, working out of a crouched position for hours.
“I was holding three days a week, 70 some kicks every day for those three days and I started experiencing some weird feelings in my groin…At the Carolina game I came back out at halftime and I had that firecracker feeling going on in that area. I didn’t know what it was.”
That firecracker feeling was a sports hernia. Then in the second half against the Panthers, Colquitt got off a good punt. That’s when his groin muscle pulled away from the bone. That was followed by problems with his pelvic region.
“Everybody thought it was just a groin injury, but it was pelvic floor damage and the sports hernia too. I couldn’t run at all. Getting out of a chair was tough.”
Right now, the best thing for Colquitt as he prepares for the 2009 season is that he’s healthy. The groin is fine. The sports hernia was taken care of with surgery and his pelvis is back to normal. He’s free and clear to bomb all those hard to handle punts that he wants.
“Going through last season was tough, but I learned a few things. I’m proud of what I got done under difficult circumstances, but I look forward to kicking this year without pain and being even more effective.”
I’ve said it before and I’m not ashamed to say it again: Colquitt is one of my favorite Chiefs. He has been on the field more than any Chief over the past three seasons seasons — he punted 95 times (95!) in 2007 and over 70 times in ’06 and ’08. It’s also a great nugget from Gretz, about Herm Edwards and his staff telling the players not to reveal any information about injuries. Hopefully Colquitt doesn’t get to work nearly as much as he has in years past and can stay healthy. If the offense does stall, it will be good to have a bomber coming off the sidelines to give the defense field position to work with.