Faith helps rookie punter’s out­look on foot­ball

Packer Plus - - News - Martin Hen­dricks

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.

ADAM WES­LEY / USA TO­DAY NET­WORK-WIS­CON­SIN

Rookie Packers punter JK Scott was drafted in the fifth round, but doesn’t feel extra pres­sure to suc­ceed.

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