Amid his Browns position battle against 'The Scottish Hammer,' 34-year-old Britton Colquitt shares frank talk about Super Bowls, life changes.

BEREA  It's OK with old pro Britton Colquitt that Browns fans are buzzing over "The Scottish Hammer."

He understands the oohs that went with "The Hammer" elevating practice punts to the stadium lights before last week's game against Washington.

Colquitt is like Browns fans in this sense: He likes Jamie Gillan, too.

"I've enjoyed Jamie's company and his youth," said Colquitt, 34, whose long career included punting in Super Bowls before he signed with the Browns in 2016. "We've had a lot of fun together.

"He's got a head start on me. He's honestly more consistent than I was as a young guy. He could play on this team or play somewhere else.

"He's definitely got what it takes to be in the NFL."

Colquitt knows the whole 45.5 yards (his career average) of what it takes to work in the league.

His father Craig, now 65, punted for Pittsburgh in the Steelers' final two Super Bowl wins of the 1970s. His 37-year-old brother, Dustin, was Kansas City's punter throughout John Dorsey's run as general manager and still is kicking.

Britton himself learned about life in the big city in seven seasons with the Denver Broncos. The latter two were capped by trips to Super Bowls, the first a 43-8 loss to Seattle, the second a 24-10 win over Carolina.

His first Super Bowl was based in New York City and played at the Giants'/Jets' stadium in New Jersey. It challenged every fiber of his punting soul. It steeled him for big games in which the Browns might find themselves.

"You're terrified,'" he said. "It gets in your mind that ... 'If I screw this up, I could lose the Super Bowl.' "

How he calmed himself on Super Sundays is a long story.

It links to his wild-oats days at Tennessee, which might be condensed into this 2008 statement released by then-Volunteers head coach Phillip Fulmer:

"I'm very disappointed that Britton doesn't appreciate the blessings he has been given from his family and his team (his dad and brother had been Volunteers). Along with the five-game suspension, I am taking his scholarship away and he will be required to undergo alcohol counseling as well as other internal punishments."

Britton got serious. He salvaged his punting career, got married, and had kids.

He became one of Peyton Manning's better friends on Denver's Super Bowl teams. They were in a Bible study group together.

Now, as a Brown, he shares a detailed account of trying to live a God-centered life. He says his bottom line as a pro is to honor God in the way he conducts business.

"God is not concerned with my performance as much as my attitude," Colquitt said. "I go out there with a thankful heart, knowing that so many people in the world would die to do what I'm doing.

"I'm humbled every day I get to go out and play a game for my living. I know He's going to give me what I need, strength-wise and mentally.

"We can relate that to everything in our lives. I'm a parent and a I've got four kids, so I've got to honor God in the way I live."

He connected the thought to the anxiety of his first Super Bowl, when he recalls countering the impulse of terror with, "All right, God ... let's do this together."

He clung to one thought: "Catch the snap."

"You're almost, like, frozen before that snap comes," he said. "I would be telling myself, 'Just catch the ball.' It was just calling on God to give me peace and do it with me. Then my body and all the work I've done kicked in."

Both Super Bowls have stayed with him.

"The first year, Seattle crushed us," he said. "That was hard. There's so much stress and anxiety leading up to it. The second time, we won. When you come out on the other side, you're better for it, and it's all worth it.

"I would say it ages you."

Gillan relates his quest to beat out Colquitt to rugby, which he played throughout his boyhood before taking up football at age 16. Colquitt is a football lifer whose dad has two Super Bowl rings.

"I always relate myself to a golfer," Colquitt said. "Those guys go into a tournament trying to beat the guy they're playing against. They try to put up their best score and hope it's better than the other guy. They don't dwell on the other guy.

"The competition does add another aspect. Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it can be distracting. You can find yourself, especially with a younger stronger guy, trying to put up those strong numbers.

"I guess it keeps me young, though."

Punter vs. punter isn't like a linebacker position battle.

"Position-player guys have the freedom to be wowed and excited, first down, second down, third down," Colquitt said. "Mine is one shot."

Gillan is taking his best shot. He has youth, a rocket leg, an amusing nickname and a cool Scottish accent.

Part of the mind game for the old pro has been to follow his advice to self, "Stay in your own helmet. Don't try to overpower every ball."

The man from the storied punting family and "The Scottish Hammer" are kicking into crunch time. After Saturday's game at Indianapolis, there will be just two weeks before John Dorsey must trim the roster to 53.

"The Scottish Hammer" isn't some sideshow.

"I'm not sitting here saying I have the job," Colquitt said. "I definitely think he's good. He's pushing me."

 

Reach Steve at 330-580-8347 or steve.doerschuk@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @sdoerschukREP