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Former Florida Punter Tommy Townsend Leaving Kansas City for Houston

Former Florida Gators punter Tommy Townsend is set to sign with the Houston Texans via NFL free agency.

Former Florida punter Tommy Townsend plans to sign a free agent contract with the Houston Texans when the NFL's new league year begins on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Townsend, who began his pro career in Kansas City and spent four seasons with the Chiefs, is expected to ink a two-year deal worth $6 million with Houston.

From Orlando, Fla., Townsend originally signed with and enrolled at Tennessee to begin his college career, from the 2015 recruiting class. He transferred to Florida and reunited with his brother, former Gators punter Johnny Townsend, in the summer of 2016, forcing him to sit out of that season.

Upon Johnny's jump to the NFL, Tommy ascended the starting punter role for Florida in 2018, keeping the position in the family. 

The younger Townsend punted 51 times in his first season of play, averaging 45.4 yards per attempt with 24 being pinned inside the opponent's 20-yard line. 14 of Townsend's punts went for over 50 yards, with a long of 71.

Townsend saw his statistics decline marginally in 2019, his final season of eligibility, but not enough to remove him from the conversation about the best punters in the country. He punted 42 times, averaged 44 yards per attempt, pinned 20 punts inside the 20-yard line and tied his long punt record with another 71-yarder. 

This goes without mentioning Townsend's four career rushing attempts for a combined 23 yards. He converted twice on fourth-down fake punt rushes, against Vanderbilt in 2018 and Miami in 2019. 

Townsend was twice a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, given annually to the top punter in college football. 

Despite his undrafted free agent status the following offseason, Townsend signed with Kansas City to become its starting punter following the 2020 NFL Draft, taking over for 15-year Chief Dustin Colquitt. Townsend's original contract included $82,500 in guaranteed money, an amount considered significant for an undrafted player at the time.

Townsend occupied the position for four years, winning Super Bowls with the Chiefs in back-to-back seasons, 2022-23.

Over 66 games between 2020-23, Townsend averaged 47.4 gross yards per punt and 42.8 net yards per punt, with single-season career-highs of 50.4 gross yards and 45.6 net yards per attempt in 2022, which earned him All-Pro and Pro Bowl recognition. 40.8% of his 201 NFL punts have been pinned inside the 20-yard line. 

Townsend is not the only former Gator set to cash in when the new league year begins. Edge rusher Jonathan Greenard, formerly with the Texans, plans to sign a four-year contract worth $76 million with Minnesota on Wednesday. 

Although the Townsend brothers have graduated from UF and moved on from the football program, their legacy remains intact in Gainesville. Their cousin, Rocco Underwood, is the Gators' active starting long snapper. 

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