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NFL Punter Hanging Around Arlington, Waiting To Be Signed

by ARLnow.com — September 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm 4,817 30 Comments

“You never know when your last game is,” says 27-year-old journeyman NFL punter Jeremy Kapinos, as he chows down on a sandwich at a restaurant near his condo along Glebe Road in South Arlington.

In his four years in the NFL, Kapinos has punted for four different teams. An All-American at Penn State, Kapinos was signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie in 2007 and has been an NFL nomad ever since. He played for the Green Bay Packers from 2008-2010, with the Indianapolis Colts for one game in 2010, and for the Pittsburgh Steelers from December 2010 through this summer, when he was released after the preseason. Now, Kapinos is cooling his heels in Arlington while waiting for an injury or poor play to put another punter out of commission.

Though Kapinos maintains a home base in Arlington, while he’s signed he will move into an apartment in whatever city he’s playing for. It’s an experience not unlike Kapinos’ childhood. Born an Army brat in West Point, N.Y., Kapinos moved from city to city before his family settled down in Springfield, Va. By the time Kapinos became an All-Met punter for West Springfield High School, he had already attended 8 or 9 different schools.

“I orient to a situation fast,” he said. “I’m used to this routine.”

In Arlington, Kapinos spends much of his time staying in shape. His workout routine consists of running, lifting weights, and punting — usually back at his old high school in Springfield, but occasionally at the fields around Gunston Middle School. At 6’1″ and 235 lbs, Kapinos is an imposing presence. On the field though, he looks like your average punter.

“In relation to the other guys on the field, I look like a shrimp out there,” he admits.

When he’s not working out, Kapinos spends his off-season time golfing, taking care of his bulldog puppy and hanging out with a tight-knit group of friends. On weekends, he can sometimes be spotted at Clarendon Grill, Josephine (in D.C.) or “some place inconspicuous.” What you won’t usually find Kapinos doing on weekends is watching NFL football.

“I don’t really watch,” he says. “I’d rather be playing.”

Kapinos is hoping to get a chance to play soon. He worked out with the New England Patriots last week, but so far no contract offer has been reported. He also practiced with the Baltimore Ravens earlier this month, although that wasn’t so much a job audition as it was a temporary practice squad gig.

After setting a Super Bowl record for average punting yardage with Pittsburgh last season, and after an impressive preseason performance, ESPN.com declared that Kapinos “has a good chance to land somewhere else.” But in the NFL, few things are certain.

“Obviously, I’d like for it to be different, I’d like to be employed,” Kapinos said. “I think I’m good enough to be a guy that punts year round. I led the AFC in punting this preseason and now I’m out of work. It’s a tricky business, but I choose to do it and I love it.”

Kapinos only needs to play a couple more games to get his NFL pension, which would kick in in his early 50s. But even if he doesn’t get a chance to play another professional game, Kapinos says the experience of playing in the NFL has been “out of this world.”

“The benefits of playing in the NFL are tremendous,” he said. “I’ve experienced things in the past four years that are once-in-a-lifetime. It’s a special lifestyle.”

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  • Derek Dubbe

    This was awesome to see and read! I am 27 and live in Arlington (Courthouse) and have always been told I should take a shot at punting. I have played football all my life and was recruited to play football in college and punt! I work out all the time and also frequent Clarendon Grill but have never met Jeremy. I would love to give him a workout partner or challenge him to a game of Push-Back (Punters Game)! Inspiring that he choses to go it full time and sounds like he should be employed! Punters never get enough credit! If you see this Jeremy..Push Back..me and you!

    • chris

      seriously?

    • Rory

      LOL. A lot of people were recruited to punt in college. Only 1 or 2 a year become All Americans.

  • JimPB

    Terrific example for us all:

    What you won’t usually find Kapinos doing on weekends is watching NFL football.
    “I don’t really watch,” he says. “I’d rather be playing.”

    Yes, Play (do), don’t watch.

    • Jason F

      Considering that playing, for him, means a 20+K paycheck per game i would rather be playing too.

  • Yum

    nice gams!

  • Bender

    So how about some HS assistant coaching? Perhaps a punting camp for the various high school kickers around here?

    • Rory

      Hard to be a HS coach when you are gone every other weekend trying out and always on call. Not to mention you spend all August in training camp.

  • Rick

    I heard wakefield needs a punter. or anyone worth a damn on their team

  • charlie

    why is he punting on a soccer field?

    • R

      Why does it matter? He’s practicing and a field is a field.

      • Rosslynite

        If he cannot tell the difference between a soccer field and a football field that may explain his unsigned status.

        • charlie

          exactly.
          but more seriously, shouldn’t that soccer field be programmed for other uses??

          • Rick

            Someone should tell him to use a softball field instead

          • Rick

            and how many yuppies are gonna let their kids play soccer, during school hours on a friday, in the rain?

          • Josh S

            Arlington youth soccer games went on as scheduled Saturday morning in the cold, wind and rain. First games started before 9.

          • Kirk

            Rain is not an issue on artificial turf, unless there is lighting. Youth soccer teams that have practices on artificial turf do practice in the rain.

          • Kirk

            “lightning”

          • Kirk

            Gunston Middle School has use of it during the day on weekdays. Otherwise, it is mostly programmed, but not always.

    • Josh S

      Once a curmudgeon, always a curmudgeon. I hope you are already married, charlie….

    • Kirk

      Because it doesn’t really matter where you practice punting. Any open space will do.

  • J

    wish him the best

  • Sigh

    $600K, to kick a ball, on occasion.

    Really hating my life choices right now.

    • Rory

      Did you have the ability to make that your option?

      I seriously doubt it.

  • Charles

    Nice legs. But why are his shoes different colors?

    • steve85

      Wow you must not watch football. You gotta stop watching the cooking channel and watch some real tv!!!!

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  • FW

    Is there a professional kickball league he can join?

  • Mike R

    I’m big Steelers fan and thought he’d be our guy -must be politics…

    As far as PERFORMANCE goes, he should be playing on Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays).

    Glad Arlington is part of his root system!

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