New York Jets veteran punter Steve Weatherford plans to hit the open market once the lockout ends. And a consistent veteran punter like him, will be in high demand nationalfootballpost reports. Last season Weatherford averaged 42.6 yards per punt with a 38.1 net average, 42 punts downed inside opponents' 20-yard line and 27 fair catches.
“I would like to think there’s a few teams out there looking for a guy like me." Weatherford stated in a response to being asked if he anticipates a lot of interest in you when free agency opens?, "I've been very healthy during my career. Durability has never been an issue. I bring a degree of athleticism to the position. In college, I was an All-American decathlete. I can kick off. I can kick field goals in an emergency. There's a lot of upside to me."
Weatherford who at only 28 years old still has about 10 more years left in him, maybe even more if the veteran punter can remain healthy and in shape. "Not until these last two seasons have I really started to flourish as far as doing the finer points of punting like Jeff Feagles later in his career. I can shut the returner down. Kicking in a place like New York, there's tough weather conditions, but we have a great coverage team. I'm ready for whatever comes next."
When asked if there was a particular team he might be interested in, Weatherfrod responded “I love playing for a defensive team. Obviously, a defensive team that just appreciates great punting, all the better. I'm on a defensive team now. In New Orleans, there were couple games where I didn’t punt at all and we'd still lose. That was always frustrating . I've had a couple games with the Jets where I punted 10 times and we won. It's funny how the dynamic on defense works. I like watching defensive teams. It's cool to watch somebody throw six touchdowns, but the toughness level of a guy like Bart Scott is amazing. I love the tough, nasty, what Rex Ryan represents. I really enjoyed playing for him. Who knows where I’m going to be? Hopefully, I land on my feet.”
Although Weatherford clearly praises the Jets and would prefer to remain with them, Weatherford proclaims, "At the end of the day, you've got to take care of your family. I'm not in it only for the money, but I can’t play forever and it's not like I have a second career to fall back on. There’s two things that I would like to do during the course of my NFL career. I would love to win a world championship and take care of my family. I'm very fortunate."
If the Jets are not in the running financially, there is still a possibility Weatherford could remain in New York. The Giants are in need of a punter to replace the young inconsistent Matt Dodge, the Giants are also known as a strong defensive team.
"The nice thing about playing in the same stadium as the New York Giants is they can’t say, 'Well, can he play in this stadium?' Looking at my statistics in the new Meadowlands stadium, I had a 42.3 net and 52 percent inside the 20-yard line. Those are stats you can’t argue with. It's not an easy place to play. We always had a decisive edge over teams in New York whether it was earlier in the year or freezing cold with swirling winds. We always had an edge in the head to head punter competition.”
Weatherford later gave even more hope to Giants fans everywhere that they would not have to endure another season watching Matt Dodge drive literally punt the game away (DeSean Jackson anyone),
"I’ve got a lot of respect for Tom Coughlin. He’s old-school. He runs a great defensive unit. That team would be a blast to play for. I've got a lot of good friends on that team. I think that would be a good fit for me."
Giants fans, its time to start campaigning to bring Steve Weatherford to the Big Blue.
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See Matt Doge's infamous punt to Eagles return man DeSean Jackson, all Dodge had to do was punt it out of bounds...