The Minnesota Vikings released punter Chris Kluwe after eight years with team and after the team drafted a punter in this year’s draft. Kluwe has made headlines for being outspoken on his political views, especially on gay rights and some believe it had to do with his release from the Vikings. Kluwe talked with John Feinstein about his release and how the news blindsided him.
“Before the draft I had no idea,” Kluwe said. “No one had told me that that was kind of the direction the team was moving in.”
Though there is a lot of speculation Kluwe was released because of his outspoken ways, he can’t say for sure that the decision was based upon his actions.
“I don’t know,” Kluwe said. “I’m not in those meetings. I don’t know what’s said between management, what’s said between coaches. And all I can do is go out and punt to the best of my abilities and trust in the body of work I have compiled over the years and hope I get a chance to latch on with another team.”
If Kluwe is unable to land a job with a new team this offseason, he doesn’t think it will be because of his abilities, but because of the perception that he might be a public relations problem.
“I would agree with that,” Kluwe said. “I’m pretty much in my prime as a punter, at 31, and I feel I have at least four or five more years left in me. You look at most punters and they generally end up retitring around 36, 37. I feel like I can still contribute to a team.”
Kluwe’s release won’t change him as a person and if a new team signs him they will be getting the same punter and person the Vikings had for eight seasons.
“I would tell them, ‘Look there are things I feel strongly about and I’m going to speak out on those things away from the football field,’” Kluwe said. “But when it comes time to football, I’m there solely for football. That’s my only reason for being there. That’s what I’m being paid to do. That’s my job.”