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49ers’ Andy Lee plans to unveil knuckleball punt

Andy Lee AP

San Francisco punter Andy Lee says he may unveil a tactic that he hasn’t previously employed in the 49ers’ preseason finale on Thursday: A punt that moves like a knuckleball.

Lee told CSNBayArea.com that he has been practicing the punt, which will be harder for returners to catch and may result in some turnovers for the 49ers, and is ready to see how it works under live game conditions.

“It’s definitely something I want to do in a game to see how it actually happens in a live situation,” Lee said. “In practice, you can do things and you can mimic as much as you can, but you never really know how a new thing you’re going to do is going to react in a game situation. So I’d love to hopefully be able to pull it out and try it and see if it’s something I can work in my regular routine.”

Of course, if Lee really thinks he has discovered a secret weapon, it’s probably not too smart to talk about it with the media, or use it in the preseason. I don’t recall Sean Payton bragging about what a great surprise onside kick he had planned before Super Bowl XLIV.

But 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams says Lee has kicked knuckleball punts to him in practice, and they catch returners by surprise.

“It’s just like a knuckleball in baseball,” Williams said. “It’s floating up there, and it will change direction probably three or four times within the last 5 yards, 10 yards, and then it’s right there. It’s tough to deal with.”

Lee isn’t the first punter to try a knuckleball — Craig Hentrich is credited with creating it — but he thinks the windy conditions in San Francisco may allow him to use it more effectively than it’s ever been before. Opposing punt returners have been warned.

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12 Responses to “49ers’ Andy Lee plans to unveil knuckleball punt”
  1. germanstingray says: Aug 28, 2013 7:22 PM

    Maybe the knuckleball is the one kicking the ball, not the style of the punt.

  2. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Aug 28, 2013 7:29 PM

    So basically a punt that looks like a Tebow pass attempt.

  3. mvpolamalu says: Aug 28, 2013 7:41 PM

    Lee is gonna have to give credit to Tebow, it’s just turning his pass into a kick.

  4. pgilbert15303 says: Aug 28, 2013 7:42 PM

    I don’t meant to be rude, but I can’t wait to see the knuckle ball in February during a the Farmers Almanac snow storm… Outstanding!!!

  5. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Aug 28, 2013 7:43 PM

    He should talk to Ponder, he’s almost done perfecting the knuckleball pass…

  6. jasjbb says: Aug 28, 2013 7:44 PM

    I suppose Kyle Williams knows a thing or two about fumbling punts, right New York Giants?

  7. officialgame says: Aug 28, 2013 9:30 PM

    Why let the cat out of the bag.

  8. dennisatunity says: Aug 28, 2013 9:50 PM

    As a Seahawks fan, if he really does have an effective weapon, I can’t believe he would announce it ahead of time. He could have really put us in a world of hurt in our first game against the 49ers. Now we can practice against it. Thanks, Andy!

  9. mn1288 says: Aug 28, 2013 10:11 PM

    So…lots of shanks. Got it.

  10. pgilbert15303 says: Aug 28, 2013 11:42 PM

    Jssbab, yes you are right… A painful evening ;-)

  11. datmilehighswagistoodamnhigh says: Aug 29, 2013 12:25 AM

    Wow a punter that actually wants to do something productive haha

  12. godofwine330 says: Aug 29, 2013 10:40 AM

    Interesing story, as well as the Craig Hentrick link. To have a punter that can do this effectively would be great. Hentrick can make himself some money.

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