10 Minutes With Nick Folk

Dallas Cowboys kicker Nick Folk came out of the gates fast as a rookie, earning a Pro Bowl appearance. Scout.com's Ed Thompson talked with Folk about his career to date, quarterback Tony Romo, the Cowboys' bumps and bruises at the running back position and his efforts to help kids with an unusual disease.

Ed Thompson: You started out with a bang in your rookie year and made it to the Pro Bowl. Talk about what that experience was like.

Nick Folk: It was a lot of fun. The Cowboys brought me in and just let me do my thing. We have a great group of specialists--Mat (McBriar), our punter, and L.P. (LaDouceur), our snapper, did a great job of helping me out and getting me used to the NFL life. I had an awesome holder in Brad Johnson our first couple of years here, and they made the transition really easy. I just have to kick the ball. I don't have to worry about anything but kicking it. 

Thompson: Then you followed it up in 2008 by hitting 90.9 percent of your field goals, third best for a season in team history. You had to be proud of that accomplishment.

Folk: That was one of my goals, to have a better percentage than my rookie year. I know I didn't have as many kicks, but I had a lot better percentage, only missing two. My misses weren't terrible either. I hit one off the upright and the other one I just narrowly missed in St. Louis. It was a good feeling and I had a good little rhythm going there with the snap and the hold. I'll try to keep building on that this season.

Thompson: You bring up an interesting dynamic for a kicker that I think a lot of the fans overlook, the fact that you're part of a trio of people who have to make sure that everything goes right. But usually, if you make the kick, everybody is crediting the kicker. And if you miss a kick, they are usually moaning and pointing their finger at you, not the other two guys.

Folk: I've got a group here with Mat--and he's now holding it for me--and L.P., we're all real accountable to ourselves. If they get the ball down and I miss it, then it's my fault. And L.P. and Matt will do the same thing. L.P. knows if it's a bad snap and Matt can tell if it's a bad hold. Thankfully, they've perfected it to where it's not really a problem and I don't have to worry about it anytime when I'm out there. They are very professional at what they do, take pride in it, and they're awesome at it. 

Thompson: You're also on a streak as the team record holder in successful consecutive point after attempts.

Folk: That's what I hear. I try to stay away from the numbers as much as possible and just try to do as much as I can to help the team win. I tell the guys all the time that I'll kick extra points all day if we're winning and it will get us to the Super Bowl. And if they need me to, I'll kick as many field goals as possible. 

Thompson: Looking back at the games you played in so far, do you have a favorite memory?

Folk: I'd have to say probably the Pro Bowl or the Buffalo kick so far. Those were two big ones. And we played in Arizona last year and there was a 52-yard kick to tie the game. I think those three would probably be the biggest because of the significance of the events and the team's outcome. We didn't win the Arizona game, but it helped put the team in the position to win.

Folk earned Pro Bowl honors during his rookie season in 2007.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Thompson: I know you were also a punter in college. Are you unofficially or officially the backup punter for the Cowboys?

Folk: Officially, I am the backup punter. I am on the depth chart. In camp, they gave me one punt during the team period just so I could get a feel for it--and that was it. That's all I've really done in a while. I don't practice it too much. If I need to, I can fill in for a game. I just have to make sure I stay true to my form and I think I would be a decent punter for half of the game if that's what's needed--but I'm hoping we don't need that.

Thompson: Let's divert from football for a couple minutes because I know you've been doing some great work in the community. Talk about some of your most recent charitable and community work you've been involved in.

Folk: I was just announced the head spokesperson for the Children's Tumor Foundation, which is a foundation that helps kids with neurofibromatosis. It's a disease that causes kids to get tumors in their nerves. It's real close to me and my family because my little cousin has NF1 and he has had three brain surgeries. He is doing a lot better now. He is in school, so he's doing well. I just feel lucky and privileged to be in a situation where I'm able to help out not just my family, but other families and people around the world. We have a program called Kick for a Cure, it's on the foundation's website (http://www.ctf.org/). I'm donating $75.00 for every field goal made and $25.00 for every point. But you can go donate and win certain gifts on there. Hopefully, we'll get a lot of people to donate a lot of money and we can find a cure for it. 

Thompson: I saw that you were a guest narrator for the Irving Symphony Orchestra.

Folk: They wanted someone from the Cowboys, and one of the PR ladies called me up and said they need somebody who's not afraid to be in front of people and read and talk. She said I was the first one that came to mind. I'd never done anything like that before, but I thought it would be fun and interesting to do. We did The Lincoln Portrait. The maestro and the whole orchestra was awesome.

Thompson: What's the buzz among the team about the running back position since you've been hammered by some injuries there this season?

Folk: I know the team is confident in all three running backs, confident in whoever they have back there. I think teams are realizing that we are able to run the ball real well, so they are trying to do as much as they can to stop us from running the ball. They are all great guys and effective running backs, so it's a good trio.

Thompson: Nick, talk a little bit about your quarterback Tony Romo. He's certainly an accomplished quarterback, but he's had some ups and downs already this season. Talk about all the good things Tony Romo does for this team from the perspective of someone who is around him every day.

Folk: Tony has done an awesome job since I've been here. He led us to 13-3, and last year he got a little dinged up and it was hard for him to throw. This year he stepped up and has been both a vocal leader and a leader who leads by his actions--and guys are responding to it. He's bounced back well and managed the game for us really well. Guys are happy that he is our quarterback and hopefully he can take us to a division championship, and we'll go from there.

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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.

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