Here’s a name I bet you haven’t heard in a while, Marquette King. The punter played five seasons for the Oakland Raiders before being cut prior to the 2018 season by Jon Gruden.
Gruden was making his return to coaching and never met King before cutting him. It was reported at the time that his more than $2 million salary in 2018 and “the organization’s belief that the punter needed to show greater maturity on and off the field” played a role in his release.
King then signed a three-year, $7 million deal with the Broncos. His time in Denver didn’t last long though. He played in just four games for the Broncos before he suffered an injury that eventually led to his release.
He hasn’t played in the NFL since. He’s had several workouts with teams and played in the XFL in 2020, but hasn’t been offered another contract.
Last week King announced on social media that he was done fighting
He’s back in the headlines after appearing to announce his retirement. Last week King announced on social media that he was done fighting. According to the 33-year-old, that is not the case and he’s responded multiple times to say that he hasn’t officially retired yet.
After the multiple denials that he was retiring, King went on to suggest there might be some discrimination playing a role in his lack of an opportunity.
As he points out there have only been six African American punters in the NFL since 1920 to play an entire season.
King also discussed being blackballed by the league
King also discussed being blackballed by the league on the “I Am Athlete” podcast.
“I don’t want to stop playing. I love kicking the ball. I enjoy doing my job and setting the team up and everything. But for some weird reason, I’m not getting no sniffs, no anything. So I kinda feel like I’m being blackballed, blacklisted, whatever it is.”
He continued, “And it’s kind of like, taxing mentally because you consistently work your ass off everyday and putting in work, and you just don’t know. You just don’t know.”
There’s a lot of speculation that King’s swag on the field had something to do with him not getting another chance. He liked to celebrate and dance after punts. That might have played a role for some teams, the Raiders included.
Race gets thrown around a lot when swag is mentioned, but I’m going to guess it was the things he had to say about coaches after he was released that have limited his opportunities. No matter who you are, with some notable exceptions, we’re talking all-time greats in the league, football coaches don’t take that kind of thing lightly.
The bottom line is you’re not bigger than the game, and no matter how good a player is, the game will eventually pass you by. King was no doubt a good punter and fun to watch, but it looks like the game has already passed.