Glenn Pakulak, who’ll punt for the Redskins on Sunday if Hunter Smith’s groin doesn’t heal in time, has been around more than one block.
Since finishing third in the nation with a 45.6 yard average as a Kentucky senior in 2003, the 29-year-old Pakulak had spent time with Seattle, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Tennessee, Chicago and Oakland before debuting last year with New Orleans. He averaged 47.7 gross and 37.8 net in eight games but knew he was in trouble in April when the Saints traded up to choose SMU punter Thomas Morstead in the fifth round.
“You wait six years for an opportunity, you average 48 for half a season … [but] anytime a specialist is drafted, you know it’s going to be tough,” said Pakulak, whom Washington signed to its practice squad on Tuesday. “[I’ve got] a big strong left-footed leg and a lot of resiliency waiting to get that shot to prove to people I can do this. I thought I did that last year. I’ve been making my rounds [trying to] find a home one of these days.”
Indeed, the 29-year-old Pakulak has been popular since his half-season with the Saints which followed stints as a construction worker, waiter and bartender on Bourbon Street. He worked out for Tennessee, Minnesota and Baltimore (twice) last month.
“A team [saw] me punting good in games and it’s, ‘Hey get him in here,’ ” Pakulak said. “I’ve been punting that way [all along]. My competitive nature hasn’t given me a chance to give up on it quite yet. Sometime I wish I wasn’t quite as competitive, but it’s kept me going and I’m here today so I guess that’s good. When you know you’re capable of doing something, it’s hard to walk away from it.”
— David Elfin