All-Pro punter supporting HBCU alumni while awaiting next opportunity

Jarod Hamilton

Jarod Hamilton, Editor-in-Chief

Marquette King is the only man to lead the NFL (2014) and XFL (2020) in punting yards for a season but is not on an NFL roster and has not been on one since 2018, when he spent his lone season with the Denver Broncos after five seasons with the Oakland Raiders. 

“I definitely agree with what you just said, like I should be in the NFL right now. It is super weird but it is what it is, all you can do is keep pushing,” King said.

In the meantime, while King prepares for his next opportunity, the Fort Valley State University alumnus stated that he finds comfort in seeing the influx of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) alumni in the league.

“It is hard to make it to that point [reaching the NFL] in your career period. So, that’s definitely nice to see other brothers playing in the league from there,” King said. “It is like a little group, like a little fraternity because we all know we had to go through the same things. We did not have the best weight rooms or the best materials to help us get better. So, we had to kind of use what we had.”

King made history in 2016 as he was named to the Associated Press All-Pro second-team, the same season the Raiders finished 12-4 and went to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. This resulted in King being the second Black man to be named an All-Pro at the punter position. The first man to do it was Reggie Roby in 1984 and 1994, respectively. 

Although King is an accomplished football player, many fans may remember him for more than his accolades but his dancing after nailing a good punt. Some people liked it while others did not but King says that he has been doing post-punt celebrations his whole career and it did not become a subject of controversy until they [the Raiders] started becoming more successful.

“I’ve always celebrated since I was in college. The only difference is the fact that we were winning more games I guess they were trying to find more things to look at,” King said.

King said in a Twitter post about his lone season in the XFL as a member of the St. Louis Battlehawks that he was admittedly bitter about having to play in the XFL despite being more than capable statistically to play in the NFL. 

Feeling that he was being omitted from the league because of his personality, King now says that the most important thing for him mentally is to not let football be the only thing that represents his purpose. 

“The most important thing is not letting the sport of football define who you are as a person, King said. “I think that is a mistake a lot of people have is letting whatever they do define them and it just messes them up when it gets taken away because they base themselves and their relevance off of that one thing.”