Chumley: NFL dream not gone
Editor's note: Garrett Chumley is a recent graduate of Baker University, where he spent four years as a punter for the college’s football team. Chumley, a Tonganoxie native and Basehor-Linwood High School alum, is working toward punting at the professional level.
For any college football player who has played their last game of their senior year, the dream is to go on and be drafted a few months later in the National Football League draft. However, trying to get to the NFL as a punter tends to be a little different process than most other positions.
The reality of it is there are only 32 punters at the NFL level and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of up-and-comers trying to take their spots. NFL teams know this, and coupled with the turnover rate for punters in the NFL not being very high, the priority for drafting punters is rarely very high. It was apparent in this year’s draft, in which only two punters were taken, and can be seen in past years’ drafts as well.
In this whole journey, you have to remain a realist. I knew the odds were not in any punter’s favor for getting drafted, so I never got my hopes up too high. You have to keep a level head and control your excitement, otherwise you will become discouraged with the whole process. There is obviously some excitement felt during those few days, but I kept reminding myself that my time would, more than likely, come in the next few months as a free agent.
After the combine in Las Vegas, I moved back to Kansas to continue my training. Now that the weather will be warmer, I will have the opportunity to do the necessary training on a consistent basis here instead of out in Arizona and California. This will allow me to save up some money because, again, you have to be a realist, and pursuing my dream of playing football at the next level requires financing.
Looking to the future, I will continue training and traveling out to San Diego as much as I can to work with my coach out there. I am also looking to start with another coach closer to home, Louie Aguiar, who is in St. Louis. There have been some recent inquiries made by some NFL teams about my availability and readiness, so I have to continue to stay on top of my game in the event I get called to a team camp or tryout. My expectations and goals for the next phase are both long-term and short-term. In the short term, I’m going to continue training hard and get myself ready for any calls that could come in the next few months. I will also be working to get my name on more teams’ radars by increasing my exposure. Looking beyond that, if my name is not called this season, I plan on moving back out west during the winter months so I can continue to punt and train with my coaches on a consistent basis. As explained in this paper’s March profile of me, it’s understood by the punting and kicking community that you have to give yourself a few years out of college to get to the next level. At this position, it’s not uncommon for guys to get picked up three or four years down the road.
All you can do is work hard in doing what is necessary to reach your goal. Keep that goal in mind, and let the rest take care of itself. Just like with anything in life, your hard work and determination will pay off.