Flamboyant Free Agent Punter Eyeing Steelers
By Jason Zasky
Updated Oct 22, 2020 at 9:37pm
On several occasions this season, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has indicated that Dustin Colquitt’s punting has been, as he might put it, “below the line.” Or, as he said during his press conference on Tuesday, not “up to snuff.” That explains why the team had former Steelers punter Jordan Berry in for a visit early this week, and why rookie punter Corliss Waitman remains on the club’s practice squad, where he has been all season.
Not surprisingly, Colquitt’s punting struggles have attracted the attention of at least one free agent kicker, with former Broncos and Raiders punter Marquette King angling for the Steelers job via Twitter—and select Steelers fans lobbying on his behalf (see the replies in the tweet immediately below).
King, who is 31 and hasn’t punted in the NFL since 2018, has also been posting short video clips from his practice sessions—this one, for instance.Might the Steelers Have Interest in King?
But would an undefeated and drama-free Steelers team even consider adding a punter who has been described as “a flamboyant, expressive sort—[and] once drew an unsportsmanlike penalty for throwing a flag back at an official.”
Or one who, shortly after he arrived in Denver, tanked a radio interview and then trolled the hosts of the show with a suggestive, insulting tweet. The next day, things went further when “King sought out one of the Denver hosts and threatened him,” as the Mercury News explains.
Never mind the fact that King has a history of trolling and taunting opponents after exceptional punts:
More notably, perhaps, he once did the Ray Lewis dance at midfield after a punt in Baltimore:Marquette King’s NFL Career
King came into the league in 2012 as an undrafted free agent signee of the Oakland Raiders and between 2013 and 2017 he started 16 games for the Raiders each season, signing a five-year, $16.5 million contract extension in February 2016. But the Raiders released King (6-0, 195 pounds) only two seasons into the deal; in fact, it was one of the first moves Jon Gruden made after he became head coach.
At that point the Denver Broncos signed him to a less lucrative three-year, $7 million contract. But he landed on injured reserve with an abductor injury just four games into his Broncos tenure, and Denver cut him loose a month later.Marquette King is Fourth All-Time in Yards Per Punt
Over the course of his NFL career King has punted a total of 446 times for an average of 46.7 yards with a long of 72 yards. According to Pro Football Reference, he is tied for fourth in NFL history in yards per punt. Moreover, he has never averaged less than 44.1 yards in a season. He has had three kicks blocked and once punted 109 times in a single season (2014).
King played his college football at Fort Valley State in Georgia, the same school that produced former Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd, who in September was added to the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Honor.
In the spring of this year, King punted for the St. Louis BattleHawks of the XFL, averaging 45.7 yards per punt with a long of 63 yards.