Former Raiders punter Marquette King hasn't kicked in the NFL since 2018, and he has a theory on why his career was cut short despite putting up impressive numbers during his six seasons.
In a recent string of tweets, King said that when it comes to trying to get another NFL job, he was "done fighting." King, who is one of just six Black punters to ever make it to the NFL, then insinuated he was done fighting because he felt like the league was discriminating against him.
First, King noted that he hasn't been able to get another "fair opportunity" since playing his final down in 2018.
Not calling it a career just settling with the fact that I haven’t been able to get another fair opportunity. https://t.co/ccUma2s29l— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) June 29, 2022
King's final year in the NFL came in 2018 with the Broncos. His one season in Denver followed a five-year stint with the Raiders that included a 2016 season where he was voted second-team All-Pro.
In another tweet, King wasn't shy about bringing up discrimination, noting that "a lot of brothers" still aren't getting a fair shake in the NFL when it comes to kicking and punting.
I tried but it’s a lot of brothers still not getting fair opportunity as well in the League as punters n kickers. Some of the ones that got a shot I’n preseason would hit me but me but what could I say? I was cut with a successful resume 😬🤷🏾♂️ https://t.co/1Cj2gs0vWD— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) June 30, 2022
The NFL didn't see its first Black punter until Greg Coleman signed with the Browns in 1977. After one year in Cleveland, Coleman spent 10 seasons in Minnesota before closing out his career with one year in Washington.
Since Coleman's debut, the only other Black punters to ever make it to the NFL are Reggie Roby (1983-98), Rodney Williams (2001), Reggie Hodges (2005-12), King (2013-18) and current Steelers punter Pressley Harvin III, who is the only active African-American punter in the league. Harvin was selected in the seventh-round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Roby is one of the most decorated punters in NFL history -- he was voted first-team All-Pro twice -- while Williams still holds the record for fourth-longest punt in NFL history.
Rodney Williams sets the Giants single-game franchise record with a 90-yard punt against the Broncos on 9/10/2001. #TogetherBlue pic.twitter.com/YVF4A3Uguc— WBG84 (@WBG84) May 12, 2021
As for King, even though he's now 33, he still thinks he could "out-punt" any punter in the NFL right now, but he hasn't gotten a chance to prove that because NFL teams haven't been calling him.
Still will out punt the best punter in the NFL “now” but are u gonna keep chasing someone u tryin to holla at if they purposely continue to ignore u? Life is way bigger than that. https://t.co/TVGlJm5XCc— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) June 30, 2022
King is clearly frustrated with the fact that he hasn't been able to find an NFL job or at least compete for one.
It’s only been 6 African American punters 2 play in the NFL since 1920 n earn at least 1 credited season. Over the last 3 seasons I havent been able to get a job but still have a top 5 punting average. Blaming me not having a job because of antics n attitude is surface thinking. pic.twitter.com/R5qm0vo7On— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) June 30, 2022
King isn't exaggerating when he says he has a top-five punting average. Over the course of his six-year career, King averaged 46.7 yards per punt, which is tied for the fifth-highest total in NFL history. The only active punters ahead of him on the list are Seattle's Michael Dickson (47.4), Washington's Tress Way (47.0) and Houston's Cameron Johnston (46.9).
Not only does King have a booming leg, but he also had a pretty impressive net punting average of 40.8 yards during his six-year career, which ranks 37th all-time. During his five years with the Raiders, he ranked in the top 10 of net punting average a total of five times, including a 2017 season where he ranked third overall in the NFL with a net average of 42.7 yards per punt.
If there's one knock on King, it's that his leg was so strong that he regularly out-kicked his coverage. In three of his six seasons, opponents were able to average more than 10 yards per return against his team. Of course, it's not fair to pin all the blame on him for those numbers because a lot of the blame also falls on the coverage team.
So why hasn't he been given a chance to earn a job?
As King notes in one of his tweets, he's clearly aware that his actions off the field may have kept him from getting invited to an NFL camp. If there's one position an NFL team doesn't want to see headlines from, it's definitely punter. During his one season in Denver, he took verbal shots at Jon Gruden, almost fought a local radio personality and blamed the Broncos for causing an injury that led to him being put on injured reserve. (He said the injury happened because the Broncos changed his kicking style.)
The Broncos ended up releasing him in October 2018, just six months after he had signed a three-year, $7 million deal. King was only available to sign with the Broncos in 2018 because the Raiders surprisingly cut him in March of that year, and based on his comments about Gruden, it's possible that move happened because King didn't get along with the then-Raiders coach. (King was cut less than three months after Gruden got hired.)
Teams don't want to put up with drama from their punter, so it makes some sense they have stayed away from King in the short term after the Broncos let him go. But with his huge career numbers, it's crazy to think he hasn't received at least one tryout since his final NFL season.