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Chiefs’ punter Tommy Townsend wants to be ‘a wizard with the football’

Kansas City’s fourth-year punter was named an All-Pro in 2022.

NFL: JUL 23 Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Meeting the high standards of the Kansas City Chiefs’ special teams coordinator Dave Toub has paid off for punter Tommy Townsend, who was nominated for the Pro Bowl and named an All-Pro during the Kansas City’s championship season in 2022. Speaking to reporters after Monday’s training camp practice at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Townsend said that for his boss, it’s all in a day’s work.

“[Coach is] always putting a lot of pressure on me,” he observed. “That’s one thing that he always takes pride in: making practice harder than the game. I think he does a really good job of that because I do get a little nervous out here — especially the first couple [of] practices back.”

Townsend believes that he doesn’t necessarily have to change anything to repeat the success he had in 2022.

“It’s not really about trying to do anything different,” he said. “It’s just about trying to do the same things that I did [last year] and replicate it.

“But every season’s different, so [I’m] just gonna take what comes at me and just do everything I can to have another good season.”

One thing Townsend is changing involves holding the ball longer before punting, in order to better navigate the tricky wind currents above GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

“Kansas City is one of the windiest places to play,” he explained. “[I’m] just trying to hold on to the ball as long as I can and just really pull my leg straight through. But a big thing [is to] try and work on a bunch of different kicks... try and be a wizard with the football — [like] Harry Potter with the football.”

Townsend said that his ankle — which “twisted up a little” during a practice last week — is now “feeling really good.” He’s ready for the 2023 season, in which he will be playing on a one-year restricted free agent (RFA) contract worth $2.6 million. After that, well-known agent Drew Rosenhaus — whom he recently hired — will be representing him.

“I would love to stay in Kansas City as long as I can,” he said of his next NFL contract, “so I mean, we’ll see.

“At the end of the day, I have to play well. So that’s my focus at the moment. That’s part of the reason why I hired Drew: so he can handle everything off the field. [That will] allow me to focus on football 100% and do the best that I can.”

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