After completing training camp with the Broncos, rookie punter Britton Colquitt is returning to the club for the stretch run.
Denver announced the signing of Colquitt to its active roster on Wednesday from Miami’s practice squad. Colquitt entered the league with the Broncos as a college free agent on April 27, but was waived on Sept. 1, just before final roster cutdowns.
The rookie was out of football until Dec. 22, when the Dolphins came calling. Colquitt spent the holidays in the Florida sun, but admitted that it was difficult to remember that they were coming.
“I almost forgot about Christmas when I was down there because it is 80 degrees and there are no Christmas trees,” Colquitt said. “It is just palm trees with lights on them but being a Jimmy Buffett fan I kind of liked that — it was kind of cool.”
Colquitt’s surprise regarding the warm weather sights quickly shifted to surprise regarding his move to Denver. He made the 1,720-mile trip from Miami to the Mile High City, reuniting with a coaching staff that molded him out of the collegiate gate.
“(Special teams coordinator Mike) Priefer and I, we had a good thing going when I was here — working with him, he improved me a lot and everything like that,” Colquitt said. “Just kind of how the league is, I guess I’m learning you just never know what is going to happen and always have to stay ready.”
The Broncos were ready to bring Colquitt back after seeing strong signs in the preseason. The rookie appeared in three contests, booting six punts for 246 yards, with four of those kicks landing inside the 20-yard line. Colquitt also showed his versatility against the Seahawks on Aug. 22, converting a 39-yard field goal at Qwest Field.
As for what his role will be during the rest of 2009, Colquitt said he’s not necessarily sure, but plans to contribute in as many ways as possible. Head Coach Josh McDaniels said Mitch Berger will still handle the punting duties, but that Colquitt adds depth to improve the roster.
“He was a guy that we’re familiar with, so we felt like it was a good time to do that with the roster spot open,” McDaniels said. “We didn’t really have another guy who we felt like, at this point in time, we were going to bring in and send to the game. We felt like we improved our team there.”
A product of the University of Tennessee, Colquitt appeared in 43 games for the Volunteers, punting 209 times for 8,897 yards. Of those kicks, 73 landed inside the 20-yard line and only one was blocked. Colquitt also handled kickoff duties during his time in the SEC.
While he has yet to appear in an NFL game, Colquitt envisions Wednesday’s signing as paving a path toward a future in Denver.
“For right now it is more of a future thing,” Colquitt said. “To be here in the offseason program and not just come in where I was at the end of the summer, but at the beginning of the summer with everybody else.”
That future could include some games against another talented punter in the Colquitt family. Britton’s older brother, Dustin, is averaging 40.5 net yards on 93 punts for the rival Kansas City Chiefs this season. He is also tied for the NFL lead with 39 punts inside the 20-yard line.
During much of his free time before signing with the Dolphins, Britton said he was in Kansas City helping Dustin care for his two children, with a third on the way. Come Sunday, the brothers expect to meet and greet before their teams’ Week 17 battle.
As for squaring off in the same contest, that might be a little ways away.
“I’ll at least get to say hi to him because I’m probably not dressing,” Britton said. “But it would be a cool thing and of course my dad would like it. But I think there is a future where maybe, and hopefully that could happen.”
More news from Dove Valley, including reaction from the five Broncos who made the 2010 Pro Bowl and the Week 17 Injury Report, will be posted later this afternoon.
After a walkthrough on Christmas Day, the Broncos were back outside at Dove Valley on Wednesday for a full practice. Below are some photos from the session.
– Chris Gentilviso, DenverBroncos.com