November 23, 2007|By EDWARD LEE

The Ravens' Sam Koch is averaging 44.7 yards per punt - an average that would exceed Kyle Richardson's single-season franchise record of 43.9 set in 1998. Even though Koch has taken a few hits from opponents trying to block his punts, it's a task that is light years better than his first job back in Nebraska.

What was your first job?

The first job I ever had was detasseling. You go and pull the tassels off of cornstalks, the top things on the corn. That's what we do in Nebraska and the Midwest. I was 13 or 14.

Can you describe the job? It kind of stunk because some of the stalks could be anywhere between 7 to 8 feet tall, and you would have to bend it over and pull the tassels. Sometimes you would walk a mile and a half one way and then have to turn around and keep on doing that. You do that for eight hours. The more rows you did, the more you got paid, and the faster you did it, the more you got paid. ... You got paid per row. I think it was in the range of maybe $5 or $10 a row.

What did that job teach you? Go to school and get a good job so that you don't have to go back there. I know there's a lot of farmers in Nebraska, but that's just something I did not want to do. That's why I tried to get here, where I am at today, so that I wouldn't have to go do that.

If you were NFL commissioner for a day, what would you do? I would soak it all in. I'd also give everybody a raise, especially the special teamers. Those that go out there and make big-time kicks in pressure situations, we'll give them raises for a day. That would be nice. That's a good idea.

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