DENVER, Colo. - As poorly as the Denver Broncos special teams unit had been playing lately you knew changes were in order.
Still, you couldn't help but feel a little sad when the news finally broke that longtime punter Tom Rouen had been released, in favor of punter/kicker Micah Knorr.
The news reached Rouen early Tuesday morning as he was enjoying some time off in the mountain community of Dillon. Needless to say, that enjoyment was short lived.
Head coach Mike Shanahan initially made the call to Rouen requesting a face to face meeting, but opting not to face possible hazardous road conditions due to the snow, the ten-year veteran chose instead to find out his fate via the telephone.
"Mike (Shanahan) just told me that he put a lot of thought into this, that I'd still be getting my salary this year, but he felt like this is a chance for him to get two for one," Rouen told reporters.
The two for one was a deal almost too good to pass up. By releasing Rouen, the Broncos were able to sign former Dallas Cowboys specialist Micah Knorr, who will handle both kickoff and punting duties.
"The thing is, I really think Mike started thinking about it last week because it was the two-for-one opportunity," Rouen said. "That's rare to find. There aren't many guys in this league who can punt and kick off."
This enables the Broncos to keep free agent Jason Elam for field goals, while hopefully improving their field poition on kickoffs with Knorr's average kick reaching the 2.2-yard line. His punting numbers look equally impressive, hitting on four touchbacks, 11 punts inside the 20 and seven fair catches.
Roune's numbers just couldn't quite compare. Four touchbacks, six punts inside the 20 and zero fair catches, ranking him dead last in the NFL for punting average.
It's a game of numbers, and unfortunately for Rouen, his number was up. Yet the native Coloradoan holds no grudges or hostility towards his former team.
"I've been blessed for 10 years to play in the city I grew up in, for the team I wanted to play for," said Rouen.
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