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NFL punter looks back on flattening Seahawks defensive end

This story originally aired April 2, 2016.  

Last December, St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams punter Johnny Hekker, an Edmonds resident who grew up in Bothell,  did not make many new friends in the Pacific Northwest. He punted the ball to the Seahawks, and after the play was over, he came up behind Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril and" target="_blank">drilled him to the ground.

Punters in football are not known for much other than kicking the ball. Most of their coaches would like them to stay as far away from any sort of contact as possible, especially since their legs are worth several million dollars. So this was out of character for someone in Hekker's position.

In addition to his team getting penalized for the play, several of the toughest Seahawks on the field took issue with it. The next time Hekker took the field, Avril and Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett, both trained killers on the football field, charged at Hekker, which resulted in Hekker hitting the deck and going into self-preservation mode.

Seattle fans and media were not kind to Hekker. Hekker, who as it turns out is actually a really good sport, sat down with Gabriel Spitzer to talk about the incident, and shared what part of that day he does and does not regret.

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.
Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.