Lee: 'I tried to keep it out of my mind'

Niners punter Andy Lee gives his takes on being selected as the NFC's punter for the 2008 Pro Bowl.

Q: Andy, where were you when you learned the news and what was your reaction?
Lee:
We had film study today and all that kind of stuff. The special teams had finished, so I was actually driving home when Coach Nolan called me and told me, so I was on 101.

Q: If you look at the numbers, you deserve this, but was there a little bit of fear that it might got to some other player?
Lee:
I mean you just never know. I'm always just trying to worry about what I can control. It's definitely something that you think about, but, then again, whatever happens, happens. You can only control your numbers and what you can do, so that's the only thing I worry about. Just praying a lot that everything will work our (for) the best towards me, and it worked out that way.

Q: What was your reaction when you found out? Was this something that's been in the back of your mind for awhile?
Lee:
After the first couple of games nothing goes through your head like that because the season is long. I think as it got closer and closer to it, as much as I tried to put it out of my mind, trying not to worry about it…even my wife, Rachel, she would talk to me about it from time to time. I'd tell her ‘please, I don't want to talk about that,' because I just didn't want that to be in my head and pressure me more in other games that I was playing. I tried to keep it out of my mind as much as possible. I would be lying if it wasn't in my head a little bit..

Q: What kind of influence did Ray Guy have on you? Didn't you go to some of his camps?
Lee:
Oh, yes. When I was a sophomore at Pittsburgh I went to Ray Guy's kicking camp. He helped me through some things and helped me out a little bit. I mean I had a really good kicking coach in high school that taught me how to kick. Through him teaching me the basics and Ray kind of reiterating some things, (it) really helped me out. Then, my junior and senior year, I actually went and taught; I was an instructor at Ray's camps for him. So I have a little bit of a relationship with him. I know him. If I saw him I could say ‘hey' to him, he knows me. He's a really cool guy. I really had fun doing that and it helped me out a lot.

Q: Have you taught any since you've been in the NFL?
Lee:
No, I haven't done any since I've been here. He has a couple out here, but when they're out here I'm not here. He has a couple back near my house, but when he's there I'm out here. So I haven't really been able to work it in. I have stayed in touch with him a little bit. One of my good buddies from college still goes to some of his camps. He kind of keeps my in the loop with all those things.

Q: You've got the Pro Bowl and you've also have a chance to set an NFL record with net putting. What would mean more to you?
Lee:
I would say the Pro Bowl right now, just because it's what's happening right now. I haven't set a record yet. That's kind of how I try to worry about things, on a basis of what's happening now. So I'm definitely excited about this more than anything else because I have two games left to go out there and do my job. I worry about all the other things that come along with the job at the end of the season. You never know what's going to happen in the last few games. Of course that thoughts in the back of my head too, but I try not to think about that as much as possible.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about Al Everest and how he's helped your game since coming on board this year?
Lee:
As far as my punting technique, he has continued to work with me, similar to the way Coach (Larry) Mac Duff did. As far as the punting technique goes, his ways of helping me out are very similar to that. It was just a continued progress for me. It's still something I'm trying to work on, some of my technique issues, when I have problems, the same things as I use to have. It's just working on that. As far as just our coverage team, our guys go out there and they cover so well, they do what they're supposed to do. Al's got a lot of different technique's he teaches the guys to get them in position to make plays. Everybody plays really hard for him. He's just a guy that inspires you and you want to go out there and play hard for him. I think the guys that we have on the punt team too, are just great guys that go and they give it 100% every time. No matter if they're playing defense that game or playing offense that game, they just go out there and really do a great job of getting to the ball and also protecting for me, like Brian Jennings. Who could ask for a better snapper than him? A bad snap for him is maybe six inches off the outside of my hip and that makes him mad when he snaps the ball out there. Everything encompassing the punting game has just been wonderful this year.

Q: Andy you improved your average three yards last year and four more yards this year. What did you do to increase the status that you've done over the last two years?
Lee:
I would say that it's based on years. Some years you have times you have a game like a couple years ago like Chicago, where the winds blowing like crazy. As far as my technique goes, it is getting more and more solid. I'm turning more balls over than I did last year and last year I turned more balls over than I did the year before. I hit balls better. My bad hits are going further. I mean it's just a consistency thing, like I've said to a lot of guys all year. I don't think my leg has gotten any stronger or I don't think I can hit the ball any further, I'm just more consistent with hitting a good punt, more than a bad punt now. Another thing I've started to understand this year too is why guys want a veteran guy. My first couple years I was like ‘well there's no difference in being in this league one year versus ten years,' but there's a big difference in the mental aspect of the game I guess you could say. When you go out there, you still have to have confidence when you go out there because you know you can do it rather than being down about the punt before. In a situation, being nervous, you just go out there and do your job mentally. I think that's a big key to having played, each year you get a little more mentally tough. Therefore, you're not nervous; you're not stiff or anything. So you can go out there and keep the same technique whereas if you're nervous you're stiff and you're technique might change a little.

Q: How often does Mike Nolan call you? And when you knew it was him calling you what was your immediate reaction before he told you the news?
Nolan:
I'm pretty sure this is the first time he's ever called me. And I'd heard that he would probably call me if I do make it. So when I heard his voice on the phone I got butterflies in my stomach because I thought ‘ok, I think this is a good thing.' But until he said it, it didn't really ring in. It was definitely a cool thing to hear his voice on the phone. I wouldn't want him calling me for a bad thing but it definitely was a good thing to hear his voice during this time of year.



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