Faith helps rookie punter’s outlook on football
Green Bay — JK Scott is seated by his locker after a Packers’ training camp practice in late July, with a subtle smile on his face.
The rookie punter from the University of Alabama was recounting the day’s practice session, when he shanked an early kick before consistently averaging 50-plus yards on the rest of his punts.
Scott keeps it simple and his focus on his faith.
“The next kick is all you can control,” Scott said. “If you have a bad kick, you can’t dwell on it and can’t get emotional about it. That’s really the hardest thing... you’re mad at yourself but you got to let it go. Once you get emotional, you make irrational changes. Sometimes when you punt the ball and mess up, it’s not that you have to change something, it’s just that you got to go back to your fundamentals.”
Green Bay’s fifth-round draft choice has lived up to his billing and general manager Brian Gutekunst’s investment, turning heads on the practice fields with booming punts from his 6-6, 208-pound frame. His youthful face and soft voice belie the competitor underneath, an AllAmerican who honed his craft in the glaring spotlight of a college football powerhouse for the opportunity to prove he could punt in the National Football League.
His perspective on the game of football and his life’s priorities align with the credo of the legendary Vince Lombardi: God, family, and the Green Bay Packers.
It took a life-changing moment as a college freshman, when the Denver native struggled with the transition and being away from home.
“The first time I genuinely prayed was at Alabama,” Scott said. “I was on my own for the first time in college. I grew up in Colorado and we’d go to church every once in a while. It wasn’t something I really had a desire for.
“But when I got to Alabama, I was alone. I experienced being alone and the sadness from being alone. That’s when everything changed: when I went to the Lord with a real genuine heart and exposed everything. I said, ‘God I don’t have this love for you that everyone talks about.’ It’s amazing, Jesus paid a price to actually live inside us and give us a new heart. It says, ‘Take your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh.’ That’s just my story.
“(At the beginning of college) Football, football, football was my life. That can be an issue. If everything is based on your performance and you have a bad practice, you’re depressed for the rest of the day. A bad game, you’re depressed for the week. That’s not what’s life is about, that’s not why I was created. There is so much more for me. Football is where God has me now. Football is amazing and fun and it’s growing, but it’s not my life.”
Scott’s transition to Green Bay and professional has gone much smoother. He and his wife enjoy Green Bay, including decorating their apartment and ordering new furniture. “She picked it out. I want her to be happy,” Scott said with a laugh. The playbook on JK Scott Full name: John Kimball Scott III Nickname: JK College: Alabama Degree: B.S. in General Business Born: Denver, Colo. Age: 21 Status: Married, wife Sydney
Movies I’m watching: I kind of go through phases... Me and my wife have been watching the Marvel movies, the superhero movies. Those are probably my favorite type of movies right now.
My favorite meal: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, man. My wife can make some really good ones.
What I listen to: My favorite music is worship music, all about Jesus. That’s really what music was created for in the first place: to praise the Lord and glorify God. So that’s my favorite and what I listen to all the time. Books I’m reading: The Bible for sure. I can’t make myself read another book. I’ve never been a big reader, but it’s more than just reading a book and the words on a page. It will transform you and grow you. Reading the Bible is more than just reading — it’s a relationship.
My hobbies: I like to swim and go to the lake. Lake Owen (in northern Wisconsin) is amazing. It’s so peaceful and boating, swimming, and water skiing. We grew up water skiing and swimming there with my family.
My heroes: Jesus Christ. My dad. He’s really helped me to prepare and train. My dad is a land developer in Colorado and my mom is a pharmacist. Handling the pressure of being a
fifth-rounder: To be honest with you, I never really think about being a fifthround draft pick or any of that. That’s what they say here: once you are here, doesn’t matter how you got here everyone is on an equal playing field. Whether you’re a first-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent... it’s not like college where guys are on scholarship and you have to keep them. Everyone here is trying to win and so helpful. Mason (Crosby) is a veteran and I listen to his advice and what the coaches are teaching me.
Rookie Packers punter JK Scott was drafted in the fifth round, but doesn’t feel extra pressure to succeed.