Forrest remains confident NFL in his future

FORMER COUGAR PUNTER Reid Forrest woke up Tuesday morning unemployed and back home in Ephrata, about as far removed from the National Football League as humanly possible. That situation, Forrest assures us, will not last long.

"I am not done," Reid Forrest promised. "The NFL has not seen the last of Reid Forrest, I can tell you that right now."

Forrest, Washington State's all-time leading punter, spent most of the day and night in airports and airplanes Monday after being cut the previous day by the Buffalo Bills.

The odds of making it in the NFL are extremely long for most players.

Particularly punters... Particularly rookie punters.

Particularly undrafted, free agent, rookie punters like Forrest.

"I'm good enough to play in the NFL," Forrest said. "I will get another shot. I'm going to continue to work out.

"This is just how it goes for the life of a rookie punter … it ain't easy."

Forrest lost out to Brian Moorman, who appears set for an 11th season in the NFL, all with Buffalo.

"There's a reason he's been in the league for 11 years; the guy's good," Forrest said.

"I went in there and did really well against him. He just didn't give them a reason to get rid of him and go with me."

Forrest led Moorman after two preseason games and ranked seventh in the NFL with a 49.3 punting average. However, Forrest followed coach's orders and directed both his punts out of bounds in Saturday's game with Jacksonville, and the first one – "I hit it really well, but it went about 24 yards before it went out of bounds" – cost him mightily in the stats department.

Forrest dropped to 44th among 50 punters with a 42.3 average. Moorman ranks 22nd at 48.7.

"I don't think that (Saturday's performances) made their decision at all," Forrest said. "Brian Moorman really gave them no reason to get rid of him."

Forrest's remarks seem quite classy in light of the way Moorman treated him at training camp.

"I didn't really talk with Moorman at all," said Forrest, an affable, upbeat sort who could strike up a conversation with a telephone pole. "He was pretty stern. This is the first time he's had to compete for his job in six years, I think it is, that they've brought a punter in in the preseason.

"The coach (special teams coach Bruce DeHaven) told me before I left, ‘You know, this is some of the best punting we've seen Brian do in his career. A big part of that is that you came in and he really thought you were going to threaten his job.'"

Forrest caught DeHaven's eye at the NFL Combine last spring. It was DeHaven who pushed for Forrest to be signed and brought to camp.

Forrest said DeHaven told him "he had no doubt I'd end up on a team and that he'd be more than willing to talk to other teams and recommend me."

Forrest said he enjoyed renewing acquaintances with former WSU star Rian Lindell, the Bills' longtime kicker. Lindell had the rookie over to his house for dinner one night.

"He was great to me," Forrest said.

Small world department -- Lindell is married to a former Ephrata neighbor of Forrest. In fact, Forrest worked at the wedding reception his mother catered for the Lindells in Ephrata years ago.

"I was scooping meatballs," Forrest said with a laugh.

Barring an injury, Forrest said he doubts a job will open up for him in the immediate future. He tentatively plans to return to the Phoenix area, where he trained last winter, in a few weeks.

"I could get a call today or I could not get a call until (next) summer," he said. "You just have to wait and see. I'll get another shot. I'm confident with that. I'll walk in there a lot better than this time. It's going to happen. I know it will."

Forrest said the best thing about being cut by the Bills is that it gives him a chance to attend WSU's season opener Saturday. Forrest said he'll fly to Pullman in the plane of former WSU baseball pitcher Michael Ratigan, a private pilot in Ephrata, to watch his beloved Cougars.

"We're going to go check 'em out and watch 'em beat up on Idaho State," Forrest said.

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