Chris Kluwe

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Chris Kluwe
Chris Kluwe 2012-12-30.jpg
Chris Kluwe in 2012 with the Minnesota Vikings
No. -     Free Agent
Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: (1981-12-24) December 24, 1981 (age 32)
Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: Los Alamitos (CA)
College: UCLA
Undrafted in 2005
Debuted in 2005 for the Minnesota Vikings
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Punts623
Punt Yards27,683
Punting Yard Average44.4
Stats at NFL.com
 
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Chris Kluwe
Chris Kluwe 2012-12-30.jpg
Chris Kluwe in 2012 with the Minnesota Vikings
No. -     Free Agent
Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: (1981-12-24) December 24, 1981 (age 32)
Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)Weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school: Los Alamitos (CA)
College: UCLA
Undrafted in 2005
Debuted in 2005 for the Minnesota Vikings
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Punts623
Punt Yards27,683
Punting Yard Average44.4
Stats at NFL.com

Christopher James "Chris" Kluwe (/ˈkli/; born December 24, 1981) is an American football punter who is currently a free agent. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2005 before playing the next eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He played college football at UCLA.

Career[edit]

High school[edit]

Kluwe played three years of varsity football for coach John Barnes at Los Alamitos High School in Los Alamitos, California and was selected to play in both the California-Texas Shrine game (where he kicked a 57 yard game winning field goal with no time left) and the CaliFlorida Bowl. He also made the USA Today first-team All-American as a punter. He kicked an Orange County and CIF Playoff record 60-yard field goal vs. Loyola to force overtime in an eventual 30-23 victory. Averaging 46.6 yards as a punter, he had 10 punts of at least 60 yards and placed six kicks inside the 10-yard line. As a placekicker, he made 16 of 22 field goal attempts and 39 of 41 PATs. Prior to his senior year, he won the punting competition at the National Kicking Invitational with a 63-yard punt that had 4.98 seconds of hang time. Kluwe also played one year of baseball as a pitcher.

College[edit]

Kluwe developed into one of the top punters in the Pac-10 while playing for UCLA, graduating in 2005 with a double major in political science and history.[1] He set school records for both total punt yardage and total number of punts in a season in 2003. In his senior year, he ranked 3rd in the Pac-10 and 12th in the NCAA in yards per punt (43.4). He was selected as special teams player of the game in the Silicon Valley Football Classic against Fresno State after averaging 44.3 yards on nine kicks. He also tied the bowl record with his nine punts and placed three kicks inside the 20-yard line. Kluwe was a finalist in his senior year for the Ray Guy award that recognizes the best collegiate punter.

Varsity Stats at UCLA
YearPuntsYardsAverageIn 20Long
200112525.0025
200214444.0044
200391390842.91966
200461264743.42468
Totals154662443.04368

NFL[edit]

Kluwe punts in a game against the Detroit Lions in 2012

Seattle Seahawks[edit]

Kluwe was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seattle Seahawks in 2005. Kluwe had been notified by both the Seahawks and St. Louis Rams that either team might draft him in the late rounds. As soon as the draft ended, Kluwe signed a free agent contract with Seattle. Kluwe had an excellent training camp with Seattle, to the point where Donnie Jones was released after the first week of OTA's and Kluwe and Luis Aguilar (a 7-year veteran) split time during the pre-season games for punting duties. Kluwe was told by the Seahawks prior to the final pre-season game they were going to take him to the practice squad as Aguilar had a history over the prior 3 seasons of going on IR during the season and the Seahawks wanted Kluwe both as a potential back-up and for developmental reasons (n.b., Aguilar did go on IR during the 2005 season and Jon Ryan was brought in to take over punting duties for the Seahawks). Due to NFL rules, the Seahawks had to place Kluwe on the waiver wire for 24 hours prior to signing him to a practice squad contract. The Seahawks waited until the last minute to place Kluwe on the waiver wire as they knew 3 teams had been scouting Kluwe as a potential punter for their team. The Seahawks concerns were well founded as Kluwe was claimed off the waiver wire early the next day by the Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings[edit]

Kluwe became one of the most surprising pickups for the Vikings, finishing his first season with an average of 44.1 yards per punt, ranking second in the NFC and sixth in the league. He punted 71 times during his first season. Kluwe was also named NFC special teams player of the month for September, 2005 - a first for any Vikings special teams rookie.

During a Week-13 game in Detroit, Lions safety Vernon Fox dove towards Kluwe during a punt and collided with Kluwe's plant foot. Although initial concerns were that Kluwe had a broken ankle, tests showed Kluwe had a sprained ankle. What the tests did also show was that earlier in the game when the ball was snapped over Kluwe's head and he had to make a running and jumping rugby style kick to avoid being blocked, he tore his right ACL when he landed after the kick. Kicker Paul Edinger was the punter for the remainder of the game, but a few days later the Vikings signed 42-year old veteran Darren Bennett for 1 week. Kluwe then returned to play the final 3 games of the 2005 season with a torn ACL in his kicking leg, which prompted his then coach Mike Tice to reply to a reporter's question about Kluwe's injury that "My punter is a tough guy." As Tice was not known to be sympathetic towards punters and kickers, this showed the amount of respect he had for Kluwe's willingness to play with a serious injury. During the 2006 off-season Kluwe had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair the ACL. The operation was successful and Kluwe returned to the Vikings in full health for the 2006 season.

On October 25, 2007 Kluwe signed an $8.3-million contract extension through 2013. The deal made Kluwe, who would have been a restricted free agent in the 2008 offseason, one of the 10 highest-paid punters in the NFL.

Kluwe after a game in 2010

On December 20, 2010, Kluwe had the dubious distinction of punting the ball that the Chicago Bears' Devin Hester would return for a touchdown, breaking the all-time NFL record for combined punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns. Previously in the game, Kluwe had successfully kept the ball out of Hester's hands on four punts.[2]

In 2011 Kluwe changed his jersey number when the Vikings acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb previously wore #5 for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, and requested the same number when he arrived in Minnesota, which was then being worn by Kluwe. Kluwe agreed on the condition that McNabb make a $5,000 donation to charity, to mention Kluwe's band Tripping Icarus a total of 5 times during McNabb's press conferences, and to buy Kluwe an ice cream cone.[3] Kluwe took up #4 which had been worn by quarterback Brett Favre in 2009 and 2010. Following McNabb's departure from the team, Kluwe reclaimed his old #5 for the 2012 season. McNabb did mention Kluwe's band 3 times and did write the check for the donation, but never bought Kluwe the ice cream cone.

During the 2013 off-season, Kluwe had minor arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. Recovery was uneventful and Kluwe was back to full health in a matter of weeks. During the 2013 NFL draft, the Vikings drafted Jeff Locke (UCLA) in the 5th round of the draft as a punter. Speculation immediately surfaced that Kluwe's days were numbered with the Vikings due to the use of a relatively high draft round pick for a punter. Although GM Rick Spielman stated there would be a competition for punter, on May 6, 2013, Kluwe was released by the Minnesota Vikings.[4] This is a similar move to what the Vikings had done the prior year when Blair Walsh was brought in to replace Ryan Longwell as place kicker for the Vikings. Kluwe is likely to be considered one of the best punters Minnesota has had based on the number of punt records he holds for the team (see list below).[5]

  1. #1 Career Punt Avg., 44.4, 2005-2012
  2. #1, #3, #5 Season Punt Avg., 47.6 / 45.7 / 44.7, 2008 / 2011 / 2007
  3. #1 Rookie Season Punt Avg., 44.1, 2005
  4. #1, #3 Game Punt Avg., 57.5 / 54.3, 2007 / 2005
  5. #1 Rookie Game Punt Avg., 54.3, 2005
  6. #1 Career Playoff Punt Avg., 45.2, 2005-2012
  7. #1 Most Punts in a Season, 93, 2006
  8. #1 Average Punts per Season, 78, 2005-2012
  9. #1 Career Punts Inside 20, 198, 2005-2012
  10. #1, #2, #5 Season Punts Inside 20, 34 / 32 / 28, 2007 / 2010 / 2006
  11. #1 Game Punts Inside 20, 5, 2007
  12. #2 Career Blocked Punts, 1, 2005-2012
  13. #2 Career Punts, 623, 2005-2012
  14. #2 Rookie Season Punts, 71, 2005
  15. #2 Season Fewest Touchbacks, 2, 2012
  16. #2 Career Net Yds. Avg., 37.2, 2005-2012
  17. #2, #3 Season Net Yds. Avg., 39.7 / 38.9, 2012 / 2010
  18. #3 Game Net Avg., 47.5, 2011
  19. #3 Punts in a Game, 10, 2006 / 2010

Oakland Raiders[edit]

Kluwe signed with the Oakland Raiders on May 15, 2013, less than 2 weeks after being released by the Vikings.[6] Kluwe signed for a veteran minimum contract for 1 year. Kluwe was given his old number (#5) by the Raiders and competed with Marquette King for the position of punter. Kluwe expressed thanks to the Raiders for picking him up and stated that "I am glad to be a Raider and playing back in California, where I grew up." On September 1, Kluwe tweeted that he had been released by the Raiders.[7]

Controversies[edit]

2011 NFL labor dispute[edit]

During the 2011 NFL lockout, the Boston Globe reported that an agreement between owners and the players' union was being held up by special considerations for a few top names,[8] Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Vincent Jackson, and Logan Mankins. Kluwe tweeted his frustration at this impasse, assailing their greed and calling them "douchebags."

After Nate Jackson wrote an article for the sport website Deadspin, excoriating Kluwe for talking "out of turn",[9] Kluwe responded with his own article, highlighting the contrast between his own fruitful career and Jackson's lack of statistics, while reiterating his opinion that four people endangering the livelihoods of the 1,900 affected by the dispute was "pretty much the definition of greed".[10]

Protest against Pro Football Hall of Fame[edit]

During a December 2012 game against Chicago Bears, Kluwe covered the Pro Football Hall of Fame patch on his uniform with a post-it note with a message "Vote Ray Guy" as a protest against the Hall's 50th Anniversary celebrations due to the lack of pure punters in the Hall.[11] Kluwe was fined $5,250 for a uniform violation by the NFL.

Personal life[edit]

Kluwe and his wife Isabel had their first daughter in July 2008, and their second in 2010. He also wrote a blog named "Out of Bounds," which appeared on the website of the St. Paul Pioneer Press until 2012. He quit the column in protest after the paper published an editorial in support of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment which would have amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage: Kluwe was not surprised at the paper's position itself, but felt that the editorial was derogatory to amendment opponents while feigning neutrality.[12]

Kluwe is well known as an avid Guitar Hero 2 player, having once made an appearance on Minnesota's 93X radio station while playing the game with Andy McNamara from Game Informer magazine.[13] He is also a frequent guest on Minnesota sports station KFAN for "Video Games Weekly" on Wednesday nights. During a KFAN interview on the PA and Dubay show, he admitted he was not very good at sports games.

Kluwe at one time immersed himself in the MMORPG World of Warcraft, playing a troll rogue named Loate[14] and has been a member of one of the formerly top-ranked US guilds, The Flying Hellfish, for over four years.[15] Kluwe is not currently active as a player in WoW, but very actively plays other computer games, both on-line and off-line, and occasionally writes game reviews for gaming magazines. Kluwe is also active in fantasy board gaming and card gaming and owns a store in Costa Mesa, CA (Mercenary Market) that is dedicated to non-computer related fantasy games. In recognition of his support for fantasy gaming, Wizards of the Coast in 2012 developed a specific player card for the Magic: The Gathering game based on Kluwe's Loate troll character.

In his 2013 Reddit "Ask Me Anything" interview, Kluwe responded that his favorite book is Ender's Game, despite his opinion that the book's author, Orson Scott Card, is a "turd." His disfavor of the writer is most likely a reaction to Card's highly publicized views on gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Kluwe appeared in a video promoting Riot Games's League of Legends game, stating that he plays the AD Carry position, and that his favorite champion to play in the game is Vayne. He described how he believes that eSports is a "burgeoning culture of actual sports," and believes it will only continue to grow into a legitimate sports scene, based on low barrier to entry, entertainment value of watching professional players, team-based engagement, and continued social acceptance.[16]

Kluwe is a civil libertarian[17] and describes himself as "cheerfully agnostic."[18] Despite holding an openly cynical view towards atheism,[18] Kluwe has nevertheless agreed to speak at the 2014 American Atheists Convention.[18]

Other ventures[edit]

Music[edit]

In addition to his full-time job as punter for the Vikings, Kluwe is the bassist for the local Minneapolis alternative/progressive rock band, Tripping Icarus. Kluwe formed the band in 2009 with friends Andrew Reiner (guitar) and Matthew Marshall (drums), and later recruited Jesse Revel to join on lead vocals. Tripping Icarus recorded their debut EP, The Sideshow Sessions, in the summer of 2009. A year later, they recorded their first full length LP, Perfect Citizen, which was slated for an early 2011 release. When Donovan McNabb was traded to Minnesota before the 2011 season, Kluwe offered McNabb the number 5 jersey in exchange for mentioning Tripping Icarus in at least 5 press conferences, as well as donating $5,000 to Kluwe's charity, and an ice cream cone.[19] McNabb didn't mention the band in five separate press conferences, but Kluwe concedes that "in his very first press conference, he mentioned it like twelve times".[20]

Writing[edit]

Kluwe has written a book, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies (Little Brown & Co.), that was released on June 25, 2013. The book is a collection of essays on various topics and the book title comes from the public consumption version of Kluwe's Deadspin letter to state assembly delegate Emmett Burns. The book has achieved moderate success to date, climbing to #2 on Amazon's categories for political humor and sports humor. Kluwe is currently in process of writing the first novel of a science fiction trilogy (with co-author Andrew Reiner) that is planned for release some time in 2014.

Same-sex marriage activism[edit]

On September 7, 2012 Kluwe released a bombastic and profanity laced letter[21] via sports website Deadspin he had sent to Maryland state assembly delegate Emmett Burns, defending the opinions of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and condemning Burns on his attempt to stifle Ayanbadejo's free speech. Ayanbadejo has been a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage and Burns had sent a letter requesting that the Ravens ownership "inhibit such expressions" by their employee.[22]

On October 1, 2012, Kluwe published a letter to the editor[23] that responded to a video statement[24] released by former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk in supporting a ban on same-sex marriage. In the letter, Kluwe outlined six principal reasons why he disagreed with Birk's statement.

Kluwe was also featured in a documentary called "The Last Barrier" which aired on NBC Bay Area on December 8, 2012 at 3 p.m. PST. During this interview he spoke about his feelings towards equality.[25]

On the January 18, 2013 The Ellen Degeneres Show, Ellen Degeneres inducted Kluwe as the first inductee in her Hall of Fame for his support of same-sex marriage.

Kluwe and Ayanbadejo filed an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court on February 28, 2013 regarding Hollingsworth v. Perry, in which they expressed their support of the challenge to California Proposition 8.[26]

On April 16, 2013, in recognition of his steadfast support of same sex marriage and for starting a conversation about LGBT issues in athletics Kluwe was named the Grand Marshal of the 41st annual Twin Cities Pride festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gervino, Tony (October 19, 2012). "The punter makes his point". New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "Hester runs into the NFL record book", http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=7408, retrieved 12-23-2010
  3. ^ Novy, Eben (2011-08-02). "McNabb Gets Vikings No. 5 Jersey for Donation, Kluwe Band Pitch, Ice Cream". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  4. ^ "Minnesota Vikings release outspoken punter Chris Kluwe". UPI. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Minnesota Vikings 2013 Media Guide". 
  6. ^ "Outspoken punter Chris Kluwe excited to join Oakland Raiders - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com. 2013-05-17. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  7. ^ "Twitter / ChrisWarcraft: Thanks to everyone at the Raiders". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  8. ^ Bedard, Greg A. (July 19, 2011). "Brees, Manning request own settlement terms". The Boston Globe. 
  9. ^ Nate Jackson (2011-07-21). "Dear Chris Kluwe: When We Want The Punter's Opinion, We'll Ask For It (We Won't)". Deadspin.com. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  10. ^ "Chris Kluwe Responds: Can I Kick It? (Yes, I Can)". Deadspin.com. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  11. ^ "Chris Kluwe calls out Hall of Fame for ignoring punters". Nfl.com. 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  12. ^ Jason Linkins, Chris Kluwe Quits St. Paul Pioneer Press Over Marriage Equality Amendment Editorial, The Huffington Post, November 3, 2012.
  13. ^ "93X ROCKS! Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota radio station website". 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ Schramm, Mike (2008-12-30). "Vikings punter Chris Kluwe plays WoW". Wowinsider.com. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  16. ^ "LoL and NFL". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  17. ^ Shackford, Scott (2012-12-27). "NFL Player Chris Kluwe on Being a Libertarian". reason.com. 
  18. ^ a b c "Chris Kluwe to speak at American Atheists convention | ProFootballTalk". Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  19. ^ By MJD. "If McNabb wants No. 5, he’ll be promoting a punter’s rock band - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  20. ^ "Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe Plays Not My Job". NPR. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  21. ^ Kluwe, Chris. "They Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster". Deadspin. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  22. ^ Burns, Emmett C. "Letter to Baltimore Ravens". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  23. ^ Kluwe, Chris. "Out Of Bounds Blog No. 14 – Problems". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  24. ^ Birk, Matt. "Matt Birk speaks on the Minnesota Marriage Protection Amendment". YouTube. Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  25. ^ "Nbc Media Centre - "The Last Barrier" Examines Challenges Facing Gay Athletes During Their Playing Careers". Nbcuniversal.presscentre.com. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  26. ^ McManus, Jane. "NFLers show support of gay marriage". ESPNNewYork.com. ESPN.com. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "CHRIS KLUWE ANNOUNCED AS TWIN CITIES PRIDE GRAND MARSHAL". Twin Cities Pride. Twin Cities Pride. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Darren Bennett
Minnesota Vikings Punters
2005–2012
Succeeded by
Jeff Locke