Chris Kluwe, the self-proclaimed best punter in Minnesota Vikings history, expects to be released on Monday. Unless rookie fifth-round pick Jeff Locke absolutely tanked at rookie minicamp over the weekend, the Vikings have indicated publicly that Kluwe should be let go.
Kluwe's age, salary and Locke's talent all are factors in Kluwe's release. So is Kluwe's willingness to be outspoken on a variety of issues, despite the usual "Punters are seen, not heard" mandate. Kluwe says he wouldn't change a thing.
"I think the sacrifice would be worth it," Kluwe told Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune on Saturday. "Now, I would hope that I would get the chance to play football again, because I think I can still play. But if it ends up being something that costs me that position, I think making people aware of an issue that is causing children to commit suicide is more important than kicking a leather ball."
Kluwe has been vocal in his support for same sex-marriage rights. He is coming out with a book this summer and believes it's silly that he's been admonished publicly, sometimes by Vikings coaches, for having other interests.
"When I'm at the facility, I'm concentrating 100 percent on my job because that's what I'm being paid to do," Kluwe said. "But when I'm away from the facility, I'm no longer at my job. I get to live my life. This idea that you have to spend 24 hours a day thinking about your job frankly is unhealthy. It's insane."
Kluwe is quick to note that his punting averages remain very good, which is why I suspect he'll find work soon enough. NFL teams are willing to overlook long criminal records when hiring a player if that player is talented. They certainly can look past the crime of having an opinion.
So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish!â Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 6, 2013
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Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn't have traded it for anything.â Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 6, 2013