View Full Version : Steelers punter won't make knee-jerk reaction

05-27-2009, 11:53 PM
WEDNESDAY MAY 27, 2009 :: Last modified: Thursday, May 28, 2009 12:15 AM EDT
Steelers punter won't make knee-jerk reaction

By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff

PITTSBURGH — Daniel Sepulveda isn’t getting a kick out of OTAs.

He’s still dealing with complications from an injury to his right knee that forced him to miss last year’s Super Bowl season.

Sepulveda is still rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on April 22 to repair torn cartilage and has missed all seven of the Steelers’ organized team activity practices — the seventh finished up Wednesday — and their three-day mini-camp in May.

But Sepulveda isn’t worried.

“Obviously, there’s no reason to rush it right now,” he said. “It’ll probably be another week or two before I start (punting). To be honest with you, I can do it right now. But it’s not necessary.”

It’s not important that Sepulveda kick during voluntary off-season workouts. That’s why Dirk Johnson, an eight-year journeyman, is on the roster.

After 12 games last year, Johnson was cut by the Arizona Cardinals because his punting (41.8 yards per kick) was so poor. He likely doesn’t figure into the Steelers’ plans this year.

Then again, with Sepulveda on the injured reserve list, the Steelers’ punting game was dreadful in 2008. Mitch Berger, who was cut once only to be brought back, averaged 41.3 yards per kick.

Paul Ernster, who filled in for three games late in the season when Berger pulled a hamstring, averaged only 31.3.

“Last year was no fun,” said Sepulveda, a left-footer who performed well as a rookie in 2007 with a 42.4 yard average and 28 kicks downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

“I was really looking forward to last season, given the fact I got so acclimated my rookie year ... knowing what to expect, knowing the guys, knowing just how game day works, and just being comfortable with the surroundings. It’s a shame I had to miss that especially given the fact that I knew we had a special group of guys.”

Sepulveda’s chance to punt in the Super Bowl ended last July on just the second day of training camp when he tore a knee ligament in his right, non-kicking leg.

His rehab was coming along well until early spring when that torn cartilage surfaced and needed to be repaired.

Now, a month later, it’s apparent he’s close strength even though he has yet to punt this spring.

Last week after an OTA practice, he zipped through a series of sprints with ease.

“It’s good to be back on my feet again,” he said as he wiped the sweat off his brow.

It will be even better for Sepulveda once he starts punting again.

Mike Bires can be reached online at mbires@timesonline.com.

Galax Steeler
05-28-2009, 03:42 AM
I want to see Sepulveda punting again this year after what we went through last year I don't want to see that again.

05-28-2009, 06:41 AM
Hope he's better. When I went to the Chargers game in November, he was on the sidelines in sweatpants holding the ball the whole game for Jeff Reed. Hahahaha, he needs to be out there kicking not holding all the time.

05-28-2009, 07:22 AM
still got a while to Tc.. no need for him to push himself, for some ota's.. just get better for the season

05-28-2009, 10:17 AM
This will be a huge bump to not only the special teams, but the defense. They could have quite a few more opportunities with the opposing offense pinned back behind the 20 or even 10 yard line.

05-28-2009, 01:38 PM
i still believe it was a wasted draft pick.

05-28-2009, 02:06 PM
Punting was the most glaring weeks spot last year. Hoping Danny boy makes a full return this year to help out the D.

05-28-2009, 02:33 PM
i still believe it was a wasted draft pick.

You can't really "waste" a fourth-round pick.

05-28-2009, 02:36 PM
Also, did anyone notice that statistically, there was only a 1-yard difference between Sepulveda's punting average and Berger's? It sure seemed like a hell of a lot more than that to me.

Maybe it was the fact that when Berger or Ernster had a bad punt, the timing was usually atrocious as well.

05-28-2009, 03:50 PM
“It’s good to be back on my feet again,” he said as he wiped the sweat off his brow.

I'd sure like to help ya out with that, Danny. :naughty::lust:

I feel strongly that Sep is going to make a difference this season. He more than has the leg and potential to pin 'em back.

05-28-2009, 04:13 PM
I'd sure like to help ya out with that, Danny. :naughty::lust:

I feel strongly that Sep is going to make a difference this season. He more than has the leg and potential to pin 'em back.

He has to make a big difference. Seeing how our punter last year couldn't put inside the 20 if he kicked it from their 30 yard line.

05-28-2009, 04:14 PM
The number that stands out is 28 punts in the 20, and he had very few punts his rookie year when our offense was really good. Now that's impressive. Im still worried about that right knee, but i'll cross my fingers. I love the kid, and as long as he continues what he did in '07, he's far from being a wasted 4th round draft pick.

05-28-2009, 11:08 PM
Punting was terrible last year and hurt us on field position quite a few times when we really needed it. Special teams for the Steelers has been an achiles heel in the past and using a fourth round pick to take the best punter in the draft was a solid move. We need him to have a full recovery.

05-28-2009, 11:36 PM
Danny's the man. And with Frank the Tank Summers running down KRs and pulverizing them, the special teams will be even better. Go Danny. Ernster and Berger SUCK.

05-28-2009, 11:44 PM
I'm suprized someone didnt beat up Berger in the locker room.