Listen Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press discusses Chris Kluwe's dismissal from the Minnesota Vikings
Long-time Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe was released by the team Monday.
"So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish!" he said on his Twitter account this morning. Then he added: "Thank you to all the fans, my teammates, and the Wilf family for the past 8.5 years. I wouldn't have traded it for anything."
"Chris has meant a great deal to the Vikings both on and off the field in his eight seasons here," said Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman. "He contributed to many victories and we wish Chris and his family the best and thank him for his contributions to the Vikings organization. Out of respect to Chris, we decided to release him now and allow time for him to sign with another team."
The Vikings drafted another punter, UCLA's Jeff Locke, in the 5th round of the NFL draft last month, setting up a potential rivalry for the position with the Vikings.
The team tried Locke out during a mini-camp last week, held in part to get an initial look at the players the team had taken in the draft. Locke was brought to Minneapolis to show his skills in the Metrodome, and was widely expected to be Kluwe's replacement.
Kluwe, who had ranked as high as 6th in the NFL for season-long average punt distance, had fallen to 24th in that category last year. He'd been in the top 10 for three of his eight seasons on the field, according to stats from ESPN and the Elias Sports Bureau
Recently he became notable for his outspokenness on the same-sex marriage issue. He was a high-profile opponent of the constitutional amendment on the ballot in Minnesota last year that would have restricted marriage to one man and one woman. He made appearances on MPR, CNN, and the BBC, among other outlets, to talk about his support for same-sex marriage.
"And thank you everyone for your support," Kluwe offered in a third tweet. "Remember, one label does not define who you are as a person :)"
So long, Minnesota, and thanks for all the fish!— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 6, 2013
|Chris Kluwe's Punting Record||Average Yards||NFL Ranking*|
|*Among players with at least 10 punts/season|
Source: Elias Sports Bureau, ESPN statistics