Sunday, December 4 2022

Former Nebraska Cornhusker punter Sam Koch is retiring after a 16-year NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens.

Koch, 39, retired as the oldest and longest tenured player in Ravens history. He was a sixth-round pick by Baltimore in the 2006 NFL Draft after a standout, record-shattering career at Nebraska.

Koch started his career with Nebraska as a redshirt freshman in 2002. During his sophomore year, he played in the 2003 season’s final seven games and handled Nebraska’s kickoffs before taking over the starting punter role in 2004 as a junior. That year, Nebraska ranked No. 16 nationally in net punting at 38.39 yards per attempt.

During his senior season, Koch had the finest season ever by a Nebraska punter, obliterating the single-season punting average record. Koch’s punting average placed him second nationally and helped Nebraska rank No. 2 nationally in net punting at 39.85 yards per attempt. 

In his professional career, Koch appeared in a Ravens franchise-record 256 regular-season games, including a record 239 consecutive games from 2006-20. He was a member of Baltimore’s 2012 Super Bowl-winning team and appeared in 20 postseason games. He became a Pro Bowler in 2015. 

Koch set franchise records in punts (1,168), punt yardage (52,868), career gross average (45.3), career net average (39.7) and punts inside the 20 (453). His 1,168 career punts are the most by a punter with a single team in NFL history.

What’s more, Koch completed 7 of 8 passes for 82 yards on fake punts, scoring one rushing touchdown and one 2-point conversion on fakes, as well.

Koch was the holder on all but one of Justin Tucker’s 326 field goals made, including 17 game-winners, helping Tucker put together the best success rate (91.1%) in NFL history.

“Many Ravens victories over the last 16 years are very much because of Sam’s efforts,” Tucker said. “He is an outstanding teammate and leader in our locker room, and like many great Ravens before him, he has been essential to defining our culture as a team. Sam changed the way everyone in the football world looks at punting, and his consistency and proficiency are unmatched throughout the history of our game.”

Koch’s playing career might be coming to an end, but this isn’t the last fans will see of him, as he is set to join the Baltimore coaching staff as a special teams consultant.

“Trust is a word that describes the deeply held relationship that Sam has with the Ravens,” said former special teams coordinator and associate head coach Jerry Rosburg. “We could always trust that Sam would be prepared. We could trust he would deliver in clutch situations. We could trust that he would be an exemplary teammate, and we could trust that his word was his bond.

“Sam will rightly be remembered in Baltimore as an elite performer, for he holds all the relevant records of his position. But he will also be remembered in the colorful history of the NFL, and football at large, for his incredible creativity and execution of alternative ways of punting the football.”

Here’s how the sports world reacted to Koch’s retirement news.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Source: FOX Sports

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