OK, so maybe not all of Jon Gruden’s castoffs found a soft spot to land.
Khalil Mack, Amari Cooper and Bruce Irvin, yes.
Punter Marquette King, not so much.
King, a flamboyant, expressive sort — he once drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing a flag back at an official — averaged 46.8 yards per punt during his five seasons in Oakland. He was one of Gruden’s first casualties upon his return to the Raiders.
“You can’t judge me by what you see on TV or social media,” King told NFL.com’s Jim Trotter after being cut. “If those things were an issue, just sit down and tell me. I can be a zombie if you want me to.”
Doubt it. But I digress.
King signed a $6 million, three-year contract with the Broncos and embarked on a season he is unlikely to remember fondly.
For starters, he had to be restrained from confronting a Denver-area radio journalist at training camp. Then he was limited to four regular season games in which he averaged a career low 44.1 yards per punt. He was placed on injured reserve Oct. 6 and subsequently released.
King seemed to be in good spirits even though he was out of work, telling nfl.com’s Kevin Patra that he had an adductor injury and was planning to “rest and rehab” for three months. He even posted an upbeat farewell to the organization.
I’d like to thank John Elway, and the Broncos organization for the chance, injuries suck…
— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) October 8, 2018
Now King is changing his tune, saying the Broncos radically changed his punting technique and seemingly hinting the changes could have contributed to the season-ending injury.
“We have our first couple practices of OTAs and it’s like, ‘All right, what we’re going to do is we’re going to change some things in your technique,’” King said in an interview with Fresh Focus Sports. “We are going to punt regular to the right, and when you want to punt left, you’ve got to drop the ball like this and swing the ball across your body.
“My whole career I’ve always walked the same direction I was going to kick the ball to. And now they are telling me to walk this direction and kick the ball over here if I want to kick it that way. And the more I kept doing it, the more my leg started to hurt.”
Which brings to mind the old joke:
“Walk this way.”
“If I could walk that way I wouldn’t need a truss.”