Colquitt brothers to be on opposite sidelines

It was the summer of 2005, and two punters on the University of

Tennessee roster were horsing around before practice

The senior-to-be drove one decent shot through the air, followed

by a slight misfire. That uneven effort prompted then-Vols coach

Phil Fullmer to give his redshirt freshman a look.

The youngster’s first attempt was a laser beam with no hang

time, but about 50 yards in distance. Then, in almost

instant-replay fashion, a second misfire occurred, just like the

veteran incumbent had done moments earlier.

Fullmer was incredulous, blaring, ”What are you guys from the

same mother or something?”

Well, actually they were. These were the Colquitts, Dustin and

Britton.

Looking back now, that pre-practice frivolity marks the only

time the siblings have even come close to competing against one

another in their chosen athletic specialty .

Prod. Push. Teach. Cajole. Those always were more regular

occurrences between the brothers.

But until Sunday, the two never had been measured against each

other statistically in competition. They’ll get to do it in an NFL

game, when Dustin’s Kansas City Chiefs visit Britton’s Denver

Broncos at Invesco Field.

”There’s going to be a lot of competition,” said Broncos

special teams coach Mike Priefer, who coaches Britton now and

previously spent three years overseeing Dustin’s development with

the Chiefs. ”They’re both very prideful young men and it’s going

to mean a lot to them. And the cool thing is it’s going to be twice

a year for the next few years to come.”

Nearly a year ago, the two Colquitts were in the same and very

different places.

Dustin was deep within his fifth season as Chiefs punter. But

his younger brother was contemplating his uncertain future after

Denver had let him go after training camp

Britton opted to live with his brother and his family outside

Kansas City. He helped around the house, including baby-sitting

three children; in return, he received room, board and the

encouragement to keep his pro dream alive.

”I told him, in the NFL it’s very rare for a punter to come in

and have a job and keep going,” said Dustin, who’s done just that

through a six-year stint with the Chiefs. ”He knew when you’re an

undrafted free agent like that, anything can happen. And so he just

kept a positive attitude.”

Britton would in his spare time work out and kick at a local

high school field, sometimes with his older brother in tow. There,

he got accustomed to battling the swirling winds and unpredictable

weather.

”My brother knew the talent that I had,” Britton said. ”He

was like, ‘Dude, I’ve seen you kick’ and he’d always say you’re

ahead of me at my age. Keep working at it. He wanted me (to live

with him) because he knew that was a period where he wanted me to

focus on the football part and not just, ‘What do I do now?”’

A tryout with Cleveland and a weeklong stint on the Miami

practice squad eventually would materialize for Britton before

Denver offered him a place on its active roster last December. It

had been the Broncos that had sent Colquitt into this uncertain

journey to begin with by cutting him at the end of the 2009

training camp.

”Like a lot of young football players he wasn’t mature enough

to make that next step,” Priefer said. ”And I think he’d be the

first one who’d say that and agree with that. He’s grown up a lot

since a year ago.”

Britton Colquitt now has a slight edge on his brother in the

current statistical rankings, rating 14th with a 44.4 gross (37.5

net); Dustin’s 17th at 43.9 (37.5).

And their eventual pairing also was predestined to some

degree.

Britton and Dustin’s father, Craig, also a punter, was a

two-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their

uncle, Jimmy, punted in 1995 for the Seattle Seahawks. Both will be

on hand to see the brothers Sunday, along with mom, who already has

a split jersey with both sons and their teams represented for game

day.

”It’s going to be cool to see that,” said Dustin, now in his

sixth year with the Chiefs. ”Obviously we have Peyton and Eli, the

Manning brothers, with their father. And that’s a cool thing every

time they play. This one won’t be as hyped up because they have the

ball in their hands more. But it will be fun.”