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02-03-2011, 06:33 AM
Kapinos' journey takes him to Super Bowl
By: John Perrotto
Beaver County Times

Thursday February 3, 2011 12:07 AM

FORT WORTH, Texas — Ninety players will suit up for Super Bowl XLV on Sunday.

Of those 45 with the Steelers and 45 with the Packers, few will have persevered more to reach football’s grandest stage than Pittsburgh punter Jeremy Kapinos.

Kapinos has punted for four teams in his four-year career — Jets, Packers, Colts and Steelers.

What makes Kapinos’ story so interesting is the number of teams that he hasn’t punted for. Thirteen times, he was called in for tryouts either during the season or in the off-season but was sent packing.

He has been looked at by more than half the teams in the 32-team NFL.

“It’s been quite a ride,” Kapinos said Wednesday.

The 26-year-old was not drafted following his senior season at Penn State in 2006 or even invited to the NFL scouting combine. However, he landed a one-game gig with the Jets in 2007 and appeared in four games with the Packers in 2008.

Kapinos spent his lone full season in the league with the Packers last year, then was beaten out by Tim Masthay in training camp this season. Kapinos got a chance to punt in one game with the Colts this season in a Week 7 victory over the Texans when former West Virginia standout and Plum native Pat McAfee was suspended by the team after being arrested for drunken driving.
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“I feel good about that game with the Colts because it was a key game in their division and they probably wouldn’t have gone to the playoffs without that win,” Kapinos said.

Kapinos has helped the Steelers in a bigger way, signing as a free agent on Dec. 7 when star-crossed Daniel Sepulveda was placed on injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Sepulveda also missed Super Bowl XLIII after sitting out the 2008 season with a knee injury.

Kapinos, who has had to lean on his parents, brother and sister for financial support between gigs, finds himself in the right place at the right time. He is on a Super Bowl team, making the rejection he faced in the previous four years worth it.

“I know people who are bitter because they wonder how things might have been different if they would have done this or done that,” Kapinos said. “I didn’t want to be one of those people. I want to punt in the NFL for a long time and I don’t want to look back some day with any regrets.

“I don’t know what is going to happen here with the Steelers beyond Sunday because I know they already have a good punter (Sepulveda). Regardless, I’ll keep trying until I’m totally out of chances.”