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49ers P Andy Lee hoping to unveil 'Knuckle Punt' in preseason finale

By John Breech | CBSSports.com

49ers punter Andy Lee hopes to unveil his 'knuckle punt' on Thursday against the Chargers. (USATSI)
49ers punter Andy Lee hopes to unveil his 'knuckle punt' on Thursday against the Chargers. (USATSI)

If your favorite part of the second Mighty Ducks movie was the 'Knuckle Puck,' then you might want to tune in to the 49ers final preseason game on Thursday where San Francisco punter Andy Lee is hoping to unveil the 'Knuckle Punt.'

If the 49ers find themselves in a fourth down situation around midfield, Lee plans on introducing the world to his unique kick.

"It's definitely something I want to do in a game to see how it actually happens in a live situation," Lee said via CSNBayArea.com. "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."

Lee has already showed off the knuckle punt in practice, just ask returner Kyle Williams, who was trying to catch them one day with former teammate Ted Ginn.

"I turned to Ted Ginn and said, ‘What the hell was that?'" Williams said. "It's just like a knuckleball in baseball. 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."

The Godfather of the knuckle punt is former Titans punter Craig Hentrich. Hentrich taught the punt to Tennessee kicker Joe Nedney and then Nedney showed it to Lee when he joined the 49ers.

However, Lee admits, he hasn't perfected it yet, "I still haven't gotten to a point where I've really solidified it," Lee said. "I can do it kind of on the side (in practice), and then when I get with the team it gets a little shaky. So I'm trying to really figure out how to get it done."

If Lee ever gets the knuckle punt down, opposing teams could be in trouble.

"It's literally sideways, and then it just kind of shifts around," Williams said, describing the punt. "It moves around. It's tough. If he can get that down all the time, that's going to be tough to deal with."

The knuckle punt would just make one of the NFL's best punters even better. Lee led the league in 2012 with a 43.2 net punting average.


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