Punters Trapasso, Colquitt bond over World Cup
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP)
With the World Cup in full swing, the conversations between a pair of Denver Broncos punters centered more on corner kicks than coffin kicks.
More on headers than hang time. More on countries capable of winning than coverage capable of stopping punt returners.
The soccer frenzy has swept up Britton Colquitt and A.J. Trapasso, who were competing for the starting job with the Broncos until Trapasso was waived Tuesday.
Heading into training camp next month, Colquitt had the advantage over Trapasso, Broncos coach Josh McDaniels admitted after the final minicamp practice Sunday.
It turns out, Trapasso had pretty much already run out of time to impress the Broncos. Two days later, he was let go as Denver was assigned running back Kolby Smith off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs. The Broncos also waived rookie linebacker Korey Bosworth.
``It's performance based, so we're trying to be the best every day,'' Colquitt said over the weekend. ``In this league, I'm learning that it's not what did you do for me yesterday, it's what did you do for me today and the future. I think we'll both play somewhere and support each other throughout our careers, whatever that may bring.''
During their time together with the Broncos, they were glued to coverage of the world's game.
As soon as minicamp practice ended Saturday, the two bolted into the building, intent on catching the U.S. game against England. Their passion has even been contagious, with other Broncos players gathering around the television set as the U.S. earned a 1-1 tie when England goalkeeper Robert Green fumbled in Clint Dempsey's kick.
``I don't know if they know anything about it, but they're getting into it,'' Colquitt said of his teammates.
Thanks to these two punters, of course.
``This has been a lot of fun to watch,'' Trapasso said.
Colquitt and Trapasso come by their fascination for soccer through years of playing the game. Colquitt even thought about possibly taking the soccer route, especially after helping Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tenn., to a No. 1 national ranking and an undefeated record his junior year.
But football was his calling, his destiny.
After all, his father, Craig, punted at Tennessee and later won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His cousin, Jimmy, also kicked for the Volunteers, briefly landing a spot with Seattle.
Then there's his brother, Dustin, who followed in the footsteps of his family members and likewise punted for the Volunteers. He is currently with the Chiefs.
Britton Colquitt couldn't resist traveling a similar path.
``The doors opened for my brother and it was like, 'Shoot, my dad played at Tennessee, my brother did,''' Colquitt said. ``I always wanted to play receiver or something. But after a couple of years of that, I realized there could be a future (in kicking).''
Trapasso played soccer until he was around 15, when he was asked to stop.
Too many red cards.
``A little too physical,'' explained Trapasso, who went to high school in Pickerington, Ohio. ``The league director said, 'We've had about enough of this guy.'''
No problem: His heart was set on football anyway. Trapasso said he had opportunities to possibly play tailback at Northwestern and Indiana, but elected to attend Ohio State as a punter, where he averaged 41 yards on 203 career punts.
``I appreciate the decision now - I can walk without any pain, I can raise my arms,'' Trapasso said, smiling. ``But I'm also not afraid to pick up the ball and run with it, if that were to happen.''
These two also have a burgeoning rivalry on the golf course, with Colquitt usually winning, but Trapasso posted the low score of the season, a 5-over 77.
``I did get my clubs regripped, so I'm good to go now,'' Trapasso said.
As for the punting competition, Trapasso figured he had his work cut out. Colquitt does have family pedigree on his side.
``Obviously, Britton's a heck of a punter,'' Trapasso said.
After each day of minicamp over the weekend, the two sauntered off the field and plopped down in front of the television to watch soccer matches.
Colquitt is a big Ivory Coast fan, as much for the country's star, Didier Drogba, as the fact the team colors resemble Tennessee orange. Trapasso is going with Italy to retain the title - ``or maybe Brazil,'' he quickly adds.
``This is fun to get into,'' Colquitt said. ``It's cool to watch.''