Trapasso, Colquitt contend for Broncos punting job |

Trapasso, Colquitt contend for Broncos punting job

AP Sports Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
Denver Broncos punter Britton Colquit jokes with teammates during drills in the second day of a weekend NFL football minicamp at the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Saturday, June 12, 2010. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – With the World Cup in full swing, the conversations between a pair of Denver Broncos punters center more on corner kicks than coffin kicks.

More on headers than hang time. More on countries capable of winning than coverage capable of stopping punt returners.

The soccer frenzy has swept up Britton Colquitt and A.J. Trapasso, who are competing for the starting job yet glued together by the world’s game.

As soon as minicamp practice ended Saturday, the two bolted into the building, intent on catching the U.S. game against England. Their passion has even been contagious, with other Broncos players gathering around the television set as the U.S. earned a 1-1 tie when England goalkeeper Robert Green fumbled in Clint Dempsey’s kick.

“I don’t know if they know anything about it, but they’re getting into it,” Colquitt said of his teammates.

Thanks to these two punters, of course.

“This has been a lot of fun to watch,” Trapasso said. “I’m really excited to see what happens between Germany and Australia; that should be a good game.”

Not really. Germany rolled to a 4-0 win.

Colquitt and Trapasso come by their fascination for soccer through years of playing the game. Colquitt even thought about possibly taking the soccer route, especially after helping Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tenn., to a No. 1 national ranking and an undefeated record his junior year.

But football was his calling, his destiny.

After all, his father, Craig, punted at Tennessee and later won two Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His cousin, Jimmy, also kicked for the Volunteers, briefly landing a spot with Seattle.

Then there’s his brother, Dustin, who followed in the footsteps of his family members and likewise punted for the Volunteers. He’s currently with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Britton Colquitt couldn’t resist traveling a similar path.

“The doors opened for my brother and it was like, ‘Shoot, my dad played at Tennessee, my brother did,'” Colquitt said. “I always wanted to play receiver or something. But after a couple of years of that, I realized there could be a future (in kicking).”

Trapasso played soccer up until he was around 15, when he was asked to stop.

Too many red cards.

“A little too physical,” laughed Trapasso, who went to high school in Pickerington, Ohio. “The league director said, ‘We’ve had about enough of this guy.'”

No problem: His heart was set on football anyway. Trapasso said he had opportunities to possibly play tailback at Northwestern and Indiana, but elected to attend Ohio State as a punter, where he averaged 41 yards on 203 career punts.

“I appreciate the decision now – I can walk without any pain, I can raise my arms,” Trapasso said, smiling. “But I’m also not afraid to pick up the ball and run with it, if that were to happen. That’s something I bring to it.”

Heading into training camp in July, Colquitt holds a slight advantage over Trapasso.

However, the race is far from over.

“It’s always good to have young players pushed,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said. “That’s a competitive situation.”

These two also have a burgeoning rivalry on the golf course, with Colquitt usually winning but Trapasso posting the low score of the season, a 5-over 77.

“I did get my clubs regripped, so I’m good to go now,” Trapasso said.

As for the punting competition, Trapasso knows he has his work cut out. Colquitt does have family pedigree on his side.

“Obviously, Britton’s a heck of a punter,” Trapasso said. “He comes from a good family line. I knew it was going to be a good competition, a day-to-day-thing. It’s going to be hard to tell who’s going to win the job.”

Colquitt couldn’t agree more.

“We watch each other. We even point out things that each other are doing right and wrong,” said Colquitt, who averaged 42.6 yards on 209 career punts at Tennessee. “I know we’ve both made each other better.”

After each day of minicamp over the weekend, the two sauntered off the field and plopped down in front of the television to watch soccer matches.

Colquitt is a big Ivory Coast fan, as much for the country’s star, Didier Drogba, as the fact the team colors resemble Tennessee orange. Trapasso is going with Italy to retain the title – “or maybe Brazil,” he quickly adds.

“This is fun to get into,” Colquitt said. “It’s cool to watch.”

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