On Monday, the Cincinnati Bengals waived historic punter Kevin Huber after benching him for the young Drue Chrisman. The Bengals knew it was always going to be tough to let go of the player with the most games started in franchise history.
From the moment he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Huber has been the definition of excellence as a punter.
Although he’ll likely be honored by fans and media over the next few days, there’s a bit of a plot twist to this news.
Huber, a First-Team All-Pro in 2014, leaves the Bengals’ 53-man roster knowing that this is a farewell more than it is a goodbye.
According to Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson, Huber is already eyeing a return to the team’s practice squad.
“It will be like I never left,” Huber said via the team’s website. “It makes sense for both sides. For (the Bengals), it’s a nice insurance policy if, God forbid, something happens, and it also keeps me in the loop and keeps me punting.”
There’s no denying that Huber could also provide a ton of experience to the table as an “extra coach” to Chrisman, who’s still learning the tricks of the business.
“I think the experience that Kevin brings and just the ability to relate to somebody in a different manner than talking to me would be invaluable to Drue,” said Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, whose been on the team for the entirety of Huber’s career.
If Huber clears waivers on Tuesday, the Bengals punter expects to be back at practice on Wednesday even though he understands what his role will be moving forward.
But as he gets ready for that, it’s important to understand why he wants to stick around.
Huber loves Cincinnati. Huber is Cincinnati. Remember what he wrote for The Player’s Tribune last January?
“I’m from Cincinnati. Grew up in Anderson on the east side. Went to Archbishop McNicholas High on Beechmont Ave. Went to UC. This city — it’s who I am. I’m proud to be from here, I always will be. And standing on our field last week after the game … I felt every bit of that pride. I felt it in my soul.”
Let’s hope Huber gets to stick around for what should be another great Bengals’ playoff run.