Ravens, punter Koch agree on five-year deal

Having already reached pact with kicker Cundiff, team secures kicking game for years to come

February 01, 2011|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens signed punter Sam Koch to a five-year contract Tuesday, continuing the team's aggressive offseason approach to special teams.

Koch's deal means the Ravens have locked up two of the league's best specialists before the NFL season is officially over. The Ravens struck an agreement with kicker Billy Cundiff last week.

Koch, 28, likely would have been an unrestricted free agent once the new collective bargaining agreement is reached. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but it's believed Koch's deal is less than the one for Cundiff (five years, $14.7 million).

"We believe that we have the best punter and holder in the NFL, and we wanted to make sure he stayed a Raven," coach John Harbaugh said. "Sam is a hard worker, a solid person and a great family man. He represents the Ravens and the city of Baltimore very well. I am proud and happy that he will be a big part of where we are taking our team."

As a restricted free agent last season, Koch received a second-round tender worth $1.7 million. He repeatedly expressed his desire for a long-term deal with the Ravens.

Steve Mudder, Koch's agent, said the agreement was reached at midnight and he woke up Koch and his wife with the good news.

"They were so excited that I don't think they were able to go back to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning," Mudder said.

Mudder added: "I can tell you that Sam is very pleased with the contract and he is excited to be staying home in Baltimore for at least another five years. Sam is a Raven to his core."

A sixth-round pick out of Nebraska in 2006, Koch ranks first in Ravens history in career gross average (43.7 yards), net average (38.1 yards) and punts inside the 20-yard line (149).

Last season, Koch averaged 43.6 yards (17th in the NFL) and placed a career-best 39 punts inside the 20 (second in the NFL in 2010 and sixth best all-time).

"He is excited to continue playing for Coach Harbaugh and [special teams coach Jerry] Rosburg -- you can't stress enough the value and stability they offer to a specialist like Sam and their role in his development as an elite punter in the NFL," Mudder said. "He knows what they expect from him and what their standard of excellence is, and that certainty is added comfort."

Since 2006, his first NFL season, Koch's 149 kicks inside the 20 rank second in the NFL. Only the Kansas City Chiefs' Dustin Colquitt has more (151).

Koch, who replaced Dave Zastudil after the 2005 season, has already played more seasons (five) with the Ravens than any other punter in team history.

"Sam is a competitor and plays the game to win," Mudder said. "He believes in the organization, and he feels this team and this coaching staff is one step away from attaining the ultimate goal, a Super Bowl ring, and he looks forward to helping the team reach this goal."

Koch was a first alternate for the Pro Bowl behind the Oakland Raiders' Shane Lechler.

Note: The Ravens have mailed out their season-ticket renewal forms to permanent seat license owners. If the 2011 season is shortened because of a work stoppage, the Ravens will refund the games that aren't rescheduled. Also, accounts paid in full by June 1 will receive interest at a rate of 1 percent per annum on the refund amount from that date. Ravens officials had already announced that they wouldn't raise ticket prices in 2011.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jamisonhensley

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