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March 15, 2012

Jason Baker on his release, time with Panthers

In the press release announcing the Panthers had cut punter Jason Baker, general manager Marty Hurney called Baker “the model Panther.”

Though Baker's average slipped last season as the Panthers tried higher, shorter punts to compensate for their coverage shortcomings, he took the high road Wednesday in responding via email to questions about his release.

Baker said he was grateful for his time with the Panthers, predicted they would be “very good, very soon,” and said he's already had some good discussions with other teams.

On his experience with the Panthers:

"The last couple days were tough, but that does not compare to the enjoyment of the past 7 years. It was a true blessing from God to come to the Carolina Panthers. This is the place where I was able to get on my feet in the NFL. I am very appreciative of the Richardson family and Marty Hurney and both coaching staffs for the opportunity I have enjoyed here. I was able to play with some great players and grow with a lot of good men in that locker room. I will miss all of the fine people on the football staff and stadium operations. I have loved being a part of the Charlotte community and have considered this home. It is a tough time to leave as these guys are going to be very good very soon. I am excited for my friends on this team that have worked so hard over the last couple of years. I truly wish the best for this organization and I am proud to have been a part of it."

On whether he had a sense he might get released:

I've never approached one day in this league thinking that I had a guarantee for tomorrow. The later you get in your contract and the higher your cap number gets, the more likely this kind of thing becomes. This is a business and we all know what we signed up for.”

On the shorter, often rugby-style kicks affecting his average:

The reality of the situation is that in too many games our special teams didn't get the job done. I was not happy with the way our punt team performed last season. No one has greater influence on the performance of the punt team than the punter. My job is not to give my opinions of the game plan but to do my best to execute it regardless of what it is. … Though I felt like I was successful in a lot of areas last year, there were times that we would have benefited from better execution from me.”

On whether Hurney saying it was a salary-cap decision made it any easier:

This is not an easy situation. Not sure anything said makes this easier to take ...”

On immediate future:
We have had some good discussions already.
My wife (Carol Lindsey) and I are looking forward to the next chapter. We trust in God's plan.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on March 15, 2012 at 12:01 AM | Permalink


The decision is only good once you have a viable alternative in place .. who is the replacement Marty ??? We don't have many alternatives..

Posted by: shaun nj | Mar 15, 2012 12:33:36 AM

bad moveee

Posted by: Ryan | Mar 15, 2012 10:40:35 AM

Ryan were you trying to type bad movie? If so I agree, having Baker here in the first place last season was like watching a bad movie. a Marty Hurney Production.

Posted by: Frank | Mar 15, 2012 11:17:00 AM

you guys that complain about hurney clearly don't watch the rest of the league. the guy is a top 10 nfl GM year in, year out. and our fanbase complains regardless.

baker wasn't a bad punter, but he was super mediocre. super replaceable.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 15, 2012 4:11:47 PM


Posted by: Rocky | Mar 15, 2012 4:27:03 PM

Hey Jason I am sorry to inform you but there is no god! If there was don't you think he would have helped your punting average last year?

Posted by: Rocky | Mar 15, 2012 4:29:12 PM

Hey Rocky,I am sure you realize you are a moron,now all the Charlotte Observer readers that fact.

Posted by: Black--Panther | Mar 15, 2012 4:43:51 PM

I agree with Rocky. So tired of athletes thinking that they're so special that a supernatural figure would take a guiding hand in their life. Should the kids in the pediatric ward dying of cancer be happy because it's a part of gods plan? It's evident that the special teams coaches couldn't teach anyone to tackle outside of the wedge and SP crumbled. Getting rid of the punter won't be the total solution but it's a part of it.

Posted by: Keeping it 100 | Mar 15, 2012 6:40:30 PM

Rocky, Black-Panther, Keeping it 100, all of you need to leave God out of your football responses. Since some of you do not believe in God, then that would imply that you do not believe in Satan (adversary). If a player or whomever, wishes to give God the credit for their success and the path of their life, let it be. I believe in God and I know that He is not the cause of evil (cancer, tornadoes, hurricanes, terrorism, etc.) as suggested by Keeping it 100 because God is love. “Keeping it 100” stop trying to influence kids suffering in the hospitals and wherever else who might read your post, from having faith in God and taking hope from their lives.

Posted by: Baby Huey | Mar 16, 2012 9:56:56 AM

Giving the punter the boot, no big deal. I honestly can not recall a game that he really stood out in. Not even a deep kick or touchback that iced a win.

Posted by: Sports don | Mar 16, 2012 6:17:00 PM

Billy Beane woud protest here. A few stats and then a character point re the religious comments:

1) A punter/holder's greatest quality is consitency and experience: Baker is the most consistent punter statistically in the last 5 seasson from a gross and inside20 standpoint. Plus incerdibly he has no fumbled holds (ask Romo if that is important).

2) Baker, unlike most NFL players lives by his beliefs. From his comments, he gives credit to God in all situations, is modest in his accomplishments, and puts family and teammates first. @Soprts Don - this is what most teams should value as a big deal.

Posted by: Bern | Mar 17, 2012 12:43:08 AM

But they don't really care about anything but winning...

Posted by: Sports don | Mar 17, 2012 8:11:16 AM

@Sorts Don: I agree re winning - a punter rarey wins or directly decides a game (sans matt dodge and desean jackson run back against giants) - but I pay attention to these transactions because someone like a baker is the intangible team cohesive glue that is often the difference between a talented team on paper and and bunch of individuals. From what I hear he is the real deal - a leader on special teams and more broadly. Anyway, what it boils down to is that i just feel character is undrevalued. peace.

Posted by: Bern | Mar 18, 2012 12:40:15 AM

Frank, thank you for that comment about Hurney. He is one of the better GMs in the league and yet year in and year out, he gets berated by our fans. It just tells me they don't know as much about the ENTIRE game of football as they THINK they do!!

Posted by: RealFootballFan | Mar 23, 2012 7:14:46 AM

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