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Toe-To-Toe

Posted Nov 13, 2010

The Colquitts form the NFL's First Family of Fourth Down

Anne Colquitt will attend Sunday’s game at INVESCO Field wearing one of those split-team jerseys; one that’s half Broncos and half Chiefs, stitched together to form a single jersey. One side will honor the older son, Dustin, and the other will pay tribute Dustin’s younger brother, Britton.

The proud mother, along with a load of folks from the Colquitt’s hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, will be on hand to witness the making of NFL history. Sunday’s game will represent the first known occurrence that brothers have punted against one another in an NFL game.

Apparently, Broncos special teams coordinator Mike Preifer just can’t get himself enough of the Colquitt punting pedigree and, really, who could blame him?

During Preifer’s three-season run (2006-08) as Kansas City’s special teams coach, Dustin and the former Navy helicopter pilot forged quite a working relationship. Colquitt punted his way into franchise record books while Priefer went through his first gig as the head of an NFL special teams unit. When Priefer left Kansas City for a position on Josh McDaniels’ staff in Denver, it wasn’t long before he found himself another Colquitt to join him.

“I remember when Priefer went to Denver and he called and said he was going to try and get another Colquitt out here in Mile High,” Dustin said. “I was like ‘unbelievable, you’ve got to be kidding me.’ I know how lucky Britton can get sometimes; he’s got either high air or is indoors.”

The younger Colquitt didn’t make the Broncos roster out of training camp in 2009, but he was signed off of Miami’s practice squad just before Kansas City visited INVESCO for the final game of the 2009 season. He was inactive that day, but won Denver’s punting job his off-season.

“Anything that’s happened in his life, Britton has been like water rolling off of a duck’s back,” Dustin said. “Nothing bothers him and you have to have that mentality to kick in the NFL. He is of that mold. Nothing bothers him. If he has a bad punt, he bounces back pretty quickly.”

Britton bounced back from a suspension at Tennessee that cost him his football scholarship and, unlike Dustin, entered the NFL undrafted. He’s fought an uphill battle to earn the opportunity to square off against his older brother on Sunday. Both brothers hope that the sibling rivalry becomes a bi-annual event for many years to come.

“It’s something we’ve talked about since my brother got in the NFL,” Dustin said. “Now it’s here. My dad – it’s his dream come true to see his sons both play against each other. It’s just really cool.”

Along with father Craig Colquitt, Dustin and Britton truly form football’s First Family of Fourth Down. Craig was the original pro, punting for the Steelers and earning two Super Bowl rings in the process during the late 1970s and early 1980s. To weave the story even deeper, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley would often spend Sunday’s as a young boy catching pre-game punts from Craig in Three Rivers Stadium.

“I’d catch four or five punts from him, the most memorable one being one that I didn’t catch that went through my hands, hit the turf and ricocheted up into a non-desirable part of my body,” Haley remembered. “Then, in front of a full-capacity Three Rivers, (I was) trying to show that nothing had occurred. That’s the most memorable.”

The Colquitt’s also have the punting market cornered in Knoxville. At the University of Tennessee, Craig is the fourth leading punter in Vols history, sitting behind Dustin (No. 3), Britton (No. 2) and nephew Jimmy Colquitt (No. 1). It makes you wonder how good of a soccer player Anne was growing up.

With such a rich family tradition of punting, one would think that a career in the game might have been expected. Not so, says Kansas City’s extension of the Colquitt family tree.

“He never forced us into playing football,” Dustin said of his father. “I started in my senior year and Britton started in his freshman year, the same year that I did. He’s been at it a few more years and he grew up going to my Dad’s punting camps, while I was off at soccer tournaments. He’s definitely has more of a punter background.”

Colquitt said that his already competitive brother has been a bit over-competitive this week. The two normally talk on the phone every week of the season, but Dustin has only managed to get a few text messages out of Britton this week.

Dustin admitted that, of course, he wants to out-do his brother as well this weekend. But he also realizes that it’s more important to for the two to concentrate on field position for their respective teams rather than measuring up legs against one another.

“Obviously, both of us have to punt well,” Dustin said. “The situation is that Denver needs a win bad in the division, just like us. Being a division game, it obviously has a bunch more weight on it. Both of us have to keep in mind that it’s about field position, not about me or him.

“It’s always going to be a competition, but it’s my Dad is always going to win (right now) because he has the two Super Bowl rings,” Dustin continued. “He’s always flashing those around to us.”

As for that jersey that Anne will be wearing, and for all of the people who traveled in the Colquitt caravan from Tennessee…which team will they be rooting for on Sunday?

“I think they’re just going for the fourth downs,” Colquitt laughed. “They want him to have good holds and punt well, and then they want me to punt well too.”

The Colquitt brothers are essentially the Manning’s of special teams. Father Craig is Archie with Dustin representing Peyton and Britton being Eli. This weekend, Craig and Anne Colquitt will sit through the somewhat odd, yet exciting experience that Archie and Olivia Manning have done a number of times already.

Hopefully there will be plenty more of these meetings to come.

“I talked to my Dad (Wednesday) night and he’s excited,” Dustin said. “He just wants us to both punt well.”  

 

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