“I don’t care about my life”
Returning a punt is one of the scariest things you can do in sports. Just ask Colts return man Nyheim Hines.
Imagine standing all by yourself in the middle of a football field keeping one eye on the ball plummeting back to Earth and the other on the guys bearing down on you with 40 yards of steam while you stand rooted to your spot, completely exposed. You have a split second to decide if you’re going to take your chances with a return or call for a fair catch to avoid getting blown up by a vicious hit.
That sounds terrifying, so perhaps it’s not a surprise that Hines, who led the league in punt returns last season, takes a fatalistic approach to his special teams duties. Speaking with reporters Thursday, Hines revealed what he tells himself as he lines up for returns.
“Before I go back there, I say, ‘I don’t care about my life.’ Every time,” he said.
“Every time, before the ball’s kicked, I say that,” he continued. “It’s something you have or you don’t have. I’ve been doing punt return my whole life. I haven’t seen many guys just randomly start and continue it. It takes a special person to look up in the air and have a load of people trying to rip your head off.”
Sure, returning a punt sounds scary, but so does covering a punt when the returner doesn’t care whether he lives or dies. I’m sure the Ravens’ gunners will have that quote in the back of their minds every time Hines lines up for a return Sunday.
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