The Cleveland Browns solved their temporary roster vacancy at punter by singing veteran Dustin Colquitt on Friday.
Colquitt’s services were in need after punter Jamie Gillan landed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and was subsequently ruled out for Sunday’s home game against the Baltimore Ravens.
We've signed P Dustin Colquitt— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 10, 2021
Colquitt has been in the league since 2005, the first of his 15 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Colquitt has a career average of 44.9 yards per punt, with 477 punts inside the 20.
Following his release by the Chiefs after the 2019 season, Colquitt was with the Jacksonville Jaguars for one game and with the Pittsburgh Steelers for five games in 2020. He spent six games with the Atlanta Falcons this season, averaging 47.7 yards on 23 punts, with a long of 66 yards.
He was released by the Falcons on Monday.
Holding meeting with new punter/holder Dustin Colquitt.#Browns pic.twitter.com/tbSXZEeYSn— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) December 10, 2021
Colquitt also has experience holding for extra points and field goals, which is nice as that was a role that Gillan also filled.
His significant experience, along with a familiarity with special teams coach Mike Priefer from their time together in Kansas City, made Colquitt an appealing option on such short notice, head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Friday (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“With the specialists in particular, you have a lot of guys and you have veterans in those roles oftentimes who have been there and done that. With him, he has a good understanding of what we do. (Special teams coordinator) Coach Prief (Mike Priefer) worked with him in (Kansas City) so there is a familiarity there, as well.”
In an interesting twist, Colquitt lost his job with the Falcons after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and seeing his replacement, Thomas Morstead, earn NFC special teams player of the week honors in Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. A week later, the Falcons released Colquitt.
Gillan is in his third season with the Browns and has seen his punt yard average decline each year, from 46.2 yards per punt as a rookie to 43.9 yards this season.
If the Browns like what Colquitt does in Gillan’s absence, it will be interesting to see if they decide to make a switch for the final four games of the regular season.