With the arrival of Jon Gruden to Oakland came the exit of one of the team’s most gregarious players in Marquette King. The Second Team All-Pro punter spent the entirety of his six year NFL career with the Raiders but was released on March 30, likely for a variety of reasons: the $2.4 million he was due in 2018, his unprecedented knack for getting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties (King had four penalties in 2016 and 2017. No other punter in the NFL had one), and his perceived immaturity.
The 29-year-old King was blindsided by his release, likening it to getting punched into a daze in MMA.
“It was like you’ve been punched in that MMA game and you’re in a daze, and if you get hit one more time, you’ll get knocked out,” King said. “That’s what it felt like. I finished the meal, but everything was surreal. It’s one of those things where, God forbid, but if somebody calls and says somebody has died that you’re close to, there’s nothing you can do in that moment. It’s going to hit you a little later. But it definitely felt unreal.” [via NFL.com]
King even stopped by the training facility earlier that morning to visit the new coaching staff, bringing a box of Snickers for head coach Jon Gruden and a bottle of limoncello for special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.
“They always say Gruden gets intense, and Bisaccia is Italian, so I just tried to find things that would be perfect for them,” he said.
The Fort Valley State product does not want his character to be dictated by his flamboyant on-field antics.
“You can’t judge me by what you see on TV or social media, and sadly, a lot of people do that,” King said. “If those things were an issue, just sit down and tell me. I can be a zombie if you want me to. But everybody knows what they sign up for when they get into professional sports. You know there are going to be ups and downs, and you’ve got to be able to handle them regardless of the situation, with professionalism and a positive attitude.
King, who is coming off a season in which he ranked fourth in the NFL with a net average of 42.7 yards per punt, is beginning a three-year stint with Oakland’s AFC West rival Denver Broncos. He said ‘revenge’ was one of the reasons he decided to sign with the Broncos.