Steve Weatherford

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Steve Weatherford
SteveWeatherford.png
Weatherford with his Super Bowl XLVI ring.
No. 5     New York Giants
Punter
Personal information
Date of birth: (1982-12-17) December 17, 1982 (age 31)
Place of birth: Crown Point, Indiana, U.S.
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 211 lb (96 kg)
Career information
College: Illinois
Undrafted in 2006
Debuted in 2006 for the New Orleans Saints
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2013
Punts 535
Punt Yards 23,063
Punting Yard Average 44.1
Stats at NFL.com

Steven Thomas "Steve" Weatherford (born December 17, 1982) is an American football punter for the New York Giants of the National Football League. He was signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He played college football at Illinois. He also played for the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets.

Early years[edit]

Steve Weatherford.jpg

Weatherford attended Terre Haute North Vigo High School, where he played punter, kicker and safety on the football team. As a punter and place kicker, he set records for the most field goals in a career, longest punting average and longest field goal made (55 yards vs. Lawrence North High School). He averaged 45.4 yards per punt and held a 4.26 second hangtime average. As a kicker, Weatherford made 37 of 40 extra point attempts and connected on seven field goals from 40 yards or longer. He was named to the All-Conference team and earned All-State honors as a kicker twice consecutively. As a safety, Weatherford managed two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

He also played soccer, track and basketball, earning a total of thirteen varsity letters in his high school career. He was an All-County forward in soccer.

Track and field[edit]

Weatherford was an All-State track team member three times. He also set a Junior Olympics record in the 4x800 meters relay. He set a school record in the 300-meter hurdles (39.34 seconds).[citation needed]

Weatherford also ran the 60 meters and the 60 meter hurdles, recording personal bests of 7.00 seconds and 8.51 seconds, respectively. He also competed in long jump.

Personal bests[edit]

Event Time (seconds) Venue Date
60 meters 7.00 Champaign, Illinois February 8, 2003
60 meter hurdles 8.51 Ann Arbor, Michigan February 29, 2004
300 meter hurdles 39.34 Ann Arbor, Michigan February 25, 2004
Event Mark (meters) Venue Date
Long Jump 6.85 Ann Arbor, Michigan February 28, 2004

College career[edit]

Entering the University of Illinois in 2001, Weatherford redshirted his freshman year. He was named the starter in 2002, averaging 39.7 yards on 23 punts.

In 2003, Weatherford was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten Conference selection. Weatherford averaged 44.5 yards on 43 punts, breaking the school record held by Dike Eddleman since 1948 (43.0 yards per punt). This placed Weatherford at second in the Big Ten and 12th in the nation in punting average. He was also named the school's Special Teams player of the Year.

In 2004, Weatherford earned First-team All-Big Ten honors from the Coaches and Second-team honors from the media. Sports Illustrated named him the Most Underrated Player in the Big Ten. He finished second in the Big Ten in punting average, again, and fourth nationally. Weatherford averaged 45.4 yards per punt on 57 attempts, breaking the record he set the previous season. He was a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award. He also scored a touchdown on a fake field goal against Northwestern on November 20, 2004.[1]

In his senior season in 2005, Weatherford punted 64 times for a per punt average of 42.8 yards. Weatherford finished his collegiate career as the school's all-time leader in career punting average, with a career average of 43.6 yards per punt.

Weatherford was also a member of the men's track team at the University of Illinois. He placed 3rd in the heptathlon at the 2005 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships, setting a school record with 5,365 points.

Professional career[edit]

New Orleans Saints[edit]

Weatherford was signed as an undrafted free agent on April 20, 2006 by New Orleans. Weatherford was released by New Orleans on September 2 only to be re-signed on September 5, 2006.

Steve Weatherford played in all 16 games for the New Orleans Saints, punting 77 times for an average of 43.8 yards per punt, which ranked 15th in the NFL. He had a season-long of 59 yards, and 19 of his punts were inside the 20-yard line. Weatherford also recorded two solo tackles and a 15-yard rush for a first down.

On October 20, 2008, he was released by the Saints.

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Weatherford was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs on October 22, 2008, to replace an Injured Dustin Colquitt. The Chiefs then put him on waivers on November 4.

Jacksonville Jaguars[edit]

Weatherford was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 25 after Adam Podlesh went on injured reserve. He competed with Podlesh for a spot on the Jaguars' roster for 2009 but was eventually cut by the team on September 5, 2009.

New York Jets[edit]

Weatherford was signed by the New York Jets on September 7, 2009, and was the team's punter for the 2009 season. However, he was unable to play in the Jets' first playoff game due to problems with an irregular heartbeat. After the game, Weatherford explained that he had undergone surgery during college to correct a genetic heart condition that caused his heart to race, and that during his professional career the problem had not recurred until this game. Weatherford said he was taking medication to control the condition, was cleared to play in the Jets' next game, and would have minor heart surgery to address the problem after the season.[2] In March 2010 Weatherford underwent cardiac ablation at Morristown Memorial Hospital in Morristown, New Jersey.[3]

During the 2010 season, Weatherford tied the record for most punts inside the 20-yard line in a single season with 42.[4]

New York Giants[edit]

Weatherford with the Giants, 2012

Weatherford agreed to terms with the New York Giants on July 29, 2011.[5] For the 2011 regular season, Weatherford recorded a punt average of 45.7 yards with a net punt average of 39.2 (both career highs).[citation needed] Weatherford has been noted for his physique and strength, uncommon for a special teams player. He was featured in the December 2011 issue of Men's Fitness, where his "maniacal" workout routine was described. He is reportedly able to squat 475 pounds and bench press almost 400 pounds, and teammates call him the "strongest player pound-for-pound" on the team.[6]

Weatherford was the second player to enter the postseason with both New York teams. He also got his first Super Bowl title after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Weatherford averaged 40.8 yards per punt, and provided the Giants with integral field position, which led to a safety after an intentional grounding penalty by Tom Brady.[7]

After the 2011 season, the Giants used the franchise tag on Weatherford while they continued to negotiate a longer contract.[8] On March 16, Weatherford signed a five-year contract with the Giants.[9]

Broadcasting Career[edit]

In June 2013, Weatherford graduated from the seventh annual NFL Broadcast Boot Camp in Mt. Laurel, NJ, and has since held positions as substitute sports broadcaster on Good Day New York, ESPN SportsNation, NFL AM, SI Now, and many others. During the 2013 season, Weatherford will have a regular slot on WFAN radio on Monday nights.

In addition to his broadcasting roles, Weatherford has appeared on national and local television news and talk shows and in national sports magazines and major daily newspapers on topics including sports, health and fitness, family, fashion, and philanthropy.

Philanthropy[edit]

Weatherford is nationally recognized for his extensive philanthropic work, with his primary outreach focused on children, health and fitness, and family. Closest to his heart are the causes in the town of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he was born and raised. Weatherford has established several charities there, including Rush the Punter and Kicks for Kids.

He has also been just as generous in his current home of New York and New Jersey.

In 2013, Weatherford was named Health and Fitness Ambassador of the Boys and Girls Club in New Jersey, serving as a role model, mentor, and fitness and nutrition coach to more than 80,000 kids throughout NJ.

In 2013, Weatherford was also named “head coach” for Wellness in the Schools, leading the charge and acting as spokesperson for that organization’s recess fitness program for more than 77,000 students throughout the NY metro area.

He also serves as spokesperson for Second Chance Toys, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The Steve Weatherford Charity for Ghana, in addition to the charitable work he participates in on behalf of the New York Giants.

In 2013, Weatherford was recognized for his outstanding community service by the NY Giants organization with the coveted Wellington Mara Award.

Personal[edit]

He and his wife, Laura, have three children, Ace, Carney, and Aurora, and they split their time between New Jersey and California.

Steve and family following Super Bowl XLVI.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Player Biography: Steve Weatherford (University of Illinois)". 
  2. ^ Ackert, Kristie (2010-01-13). "Despite heart condition, New York Jets punter Steve Weatherford OK to kick vs. San Diego Chargers". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  3. ^ "Jets P Weatherford has procedure to fix erratic heartbeat". AP (CBSSports.com). April 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  4. ^ Porter, Steve (January 21, 2011). "NFL: Weatherford's goal is to punt Jets to Dallas". The Telegraph (Freedom Communications, Inc.). Archived from the original on February 9, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ Vrentas, Jenny (July 29, 2011). "Giants sign Steve Weatherford, former Jets punter". The Star-Ledger (Advance Publications). Archived from the original on July 29, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ The Giant of Strength From Toe to Head
  7. ^ "Manning's late-game heroics lift Giants over Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI". CBS Sports. 2012-02-06. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  8. ^ Youngmisuk, Ohm (2012-03-05). "Giants tag Steve Weatherford". ESPN New York. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  9. ^ Youngmisuk, Ohm (2012-03-06). "Steve Weatherford has 5-year deal". ESPN New York. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 

External links[edit]