It is widely assumed, and for really good reason, that Vikings punter Chris Kluwe will be released following the fifth round investment the Vikings made in UCLA rookie punter Jeff Locke.

Kluwe was not the first punter shown the door, however, as it was T.J. Conley that was cut before ever even practicing once with the team.  Despite his very brief stay in Minnesota, Conley went out of his way to say some nice things on his way out.

The Vikings waited about eight days after drafting Blair Walsh last year before releasing veteran kicker Ryan Longwell. The move coincided with Walsh showing up to the rookie minicamp healthy, able, and willing.

Rookie minicamp begins at the end of this week and, at that point, the Kluwe watch will be in full force.

134 COMMENTS

  1. The NFL is really trying to embrace and support a culture of respect and inclusiveness for gay players…
    Kluwe has been an activist for gay rights… I hope he doesn’t claim the Vikings orginazation is not in support of gay rights if he gets cut.

    I hope the Vikings and Kluwe can part ways in a professional and classy way.

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  2. If there is any real evidance that the coaching staff was not supportive of Kluwe’s activism or “IF” they have consitantly made derogatory gay remarks to Kluwe… this could be viewed as a problem by the NFL many others.

    I hope our coaching staff has given Kluwe his due respect for his right to voice his opinion and be a leader in the community off of the football field.

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    • My concern, Karl, is that even if they have done so, he may still choose to play that card. I believe he has already headed down that road in a quote since the draft. If they let him go, a big part of this is going to be his integrity, because I believe the Viking leadership is smart enough not to have expressly chastised him for his views. Maybe somewhat in how he has gone about expressing them, yes, but not the views expressly.

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  3. Grant- I agree Kluwe may play that card… But it is my hope Kluwe is a standup guy and will tell the truth.

    I don’t think the Vikings’ organization has publicly chastised him or disrespected him for his activism… but how the coaching staff has handled him privately or in front of other players may become an issue. It is no secret the Vikings have not “embraced” Kluwe’s activism and off field interests.

    The problem is, most people feel Kluwe has a lot of talent and is still a top 10 punter in the NFL.

    I hope this doesn’t get ugly for the Vikings… but reporters have already questioned Spielman about drafting a punter and if it had anything to do with Kluwe’s support for gay rights.

    IMO, I don’t think the Vikings will cut Kluwe anytime soon (like the way they handled Longwell)… I think they will show him respect and allow him to compete in preseason – if that is what he wants to do. Kluwe has already stated he is ready for competition, so it appears he still wants to be a Viking.

    This will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

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  4. I think its funny how nobody will give Tebow a shot because of the attention he will bring due to his christianity yet I haven’t seen 1 espn report on that. When a gay player comes out, or a player might be cut due to the fact that he supports gay rights there is a news segment every three minutes.
    I also find it ironic how in 2013 its more acceptable to be/support homosexuality than christianity. How jokes are constantly made about a Christan player yet anybody who says something that isn’t in full support of homosexuality(like Mike Wallace) gets scolded and forced to apologize.

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    • You’re kidding right? What player has come out and denounced Tebow and Jesus in a public format that the club they play for would find embarrassing? Would love an example of that.

      Jokes about christian players and homosexuals both are standard for the fans. It’s a different thing when a player publically comments about it. The problem with Wallace was NOT the he didn’t come out in full support. You don’t see the difference between a slam on twitter, and keeping one’s mouth shut? You don’t have to publically support gay marriage (see Birk, Matt), but if the club you’re playing for doesn’t want you making comments that may potentially ostracize some of your fan base, then it may be a good idea to pay attention.

      Hell, I see lots of bashing Kluwe on this site for his pro-gay stance, but pretty much nothing on Tebow’s obsession with Jesus. I think you’re looking for a strawman.

      Personally, I think Kluwe’s gone because his substandard play doesn’t warrant the current paycheck…nothing to do with his socio-political views.

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      • I’m sure you could look on SNL, newspaper comic strips, espn writers and tv shows and find thousands of examples of jokes/cheap shots on him, where as I have never seen a newspaper make a anti-homosexual comic or SNL mock gays or espn tell gays to “focus on their sport and not beliefs” actually espn wants players to come out yet tell Tebow to shut up. No news outlet would tell a gay player his sexual preference is unacceptable and he shouldn’t share it where as they debate that weekly with Tebow’s religion.

        Even players would mock Tebow praying two years ago when he was starting. Multiple players would “Tebow” as a joke. I also don’t remember any Kluwe bashing on here other than saying it can be a distraction.

        As for Wallace he didn’t slam gays on twitter, he said he didn’t understand how they could choose a man over a beautiful woman (which I don’t understand either but…).

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        • The “mocks” players are doing (example tebowing after sacking him) is no different than a player making the “belt / discount double choke” after sacking Aaron Rodgers. It’s not against his belief it’s something against his “celebration-dance”.

          If player / coach came out and said I don’t get why you so strongly voice your opinion on God, I don’t understand why anybody preferes God over Buddah (just to compare it to make Wallace) wouldn’t you think the players would be forced to appoligiaze?

          I think part of the reason Tim Tebow is not as hot a commedity is because that he brings a circus (not because of his beliefs, but because he was so popular in college). He is a media darling. I just don’t think he is any good as a 100 % regular QB. However you might be able to get an offense to work if you build it completely around him. (in that case you might could get a Joe Webb offense to work as well)

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          • also sorry if there are a lot of spelling mistakes.. It’s a little late in Denmark and I’m very tired.

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          • He does bring a media circus, but watch espn, all that has been on the past 2 days is the NBA player who just came out as gay and how noble he is and how brave and strong ect… It is also different than the belt because Aaron Rodgers celebrates with the belt because he is a douche bag, Tebow is actually praying (Imagine if a player mocked a muslim’s prayer).

            I don’t think the god over buddah comparison works for the men over women either they are totally different things. Tebow does bring a circus, along with countless other players who still get to play.

            As for the talent level, Tebow isn’t a pocket passer, he is a read option QB, yet Wilson, Kapernick, Newton, and even RG3 to an extent run it and you cant tell me that they are THAT much better than Tebow and he isn’t even good enough to be their backup.

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      • He’s more than good enough to be a backup, and could probably push Gabbert. He’s got a great record and always finds ways to win.

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      • Wow, Freds…you’re usually consistent. You’re saying Tebow’s a good QB? I’m guessing that’s acceptable collateral damage to making political hay.

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        • I’m not saying Tebow is a top tier qb, he’s a solid backup and isn’t getting his due because of his religion.

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          • I see what you’re saying Skol, but I disagree, and hear me out.

            The beauty of the gridiron is it’s single-minded obsession with winning. Damn near anything you may believe outside of the arena seems to fall by the wayside when you are cheering for your team.

            I was stationed in Louisiana back in the late 80’s, and was astounded at acceptable racism was in day to day life. I wasn’t used to it at all, big culture shock for me. Yet, after all was said and done, the dude that just made a horribly offensive N word comment to me saw no issue with wearing a Joe Horn jersey on game day. Why? The Saints trumped his inherent racism.

            I personally think that’s a great start.

            Pushing along that vein, if Kluwe was still the league’s leading punter, tell me you wouldn’t find yourself a bit more tolerant of his views.

            Tebow’s religious views would maybe be still be met with an eyeroll if he played like Brady, but you can guarantee he’d be paid top dollar for evey single NFL team out there.

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          • If Tebow is a solid backup he will make a team and be that, regardless of his religious affiliation.

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  5. You got it Tomb, I watched Tebow for a couple years in Denver and he just can’t throw the ball. I really don’t care what his religion or sexuality is, I just don’t want him on my team because he can’t play. Same story with Kluwe, I think the guy is off the charts smart but all he talks about are his great statistical averages, while what’s gonna get him cut are the two or three clunker games that a pro punter just can’t have. Too inconsistent

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  6. I do think there is a chance they will bring him to camp just so they can line Locke up next to him and let him get his butt kicked. There has been a lot of things said here, but the bottom line is that the NFL is a performance based business. Kluwe is not a top ten player at his position and his consistency fell off greatly last year. He’s also entering the last year of his contract set to make a completely non-guaranteed $1.4 million. It makes a lot of sense financially for the Vikings to cut him. It makes a lot of sense from a production standpoint to cut him (again, the guy was 17th in the league last year, it’s as average as it gets). One thing that I haven’t heard anyone comment on is that besides advocating for gay rights publically, Kluwe has written humerous articles about tuning out his special teams coaches advice and complaining to the other kickers and punters about their coaches. In some parts of the business world, complaining about your boss or not following direction in such a public manner would be proof of insubordination and grounds for immediate firing. The team has a lot of reasons outside of Kluwe’s human rights quests to release him. The biggest one is that they believe Locke will be a better punter than Kluwe is, just like they thought Walsh would be a better kicker than Longwell.

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  7. I hate to be a broken record, BUT…

    1. Performance
    2. Cap hit
    3. Age
    4. Coming off injury

    If Kluwe’s activism for gay rights, or in favor of gun control, musical career, radio gig or video game habits are a reason for the Vikings looking to move on (and that is a BIG if) then it is the lowest ranking reason of them all.

    The Vikings never made any comments that I know of to suggest they disagreed with Kluwe’s stance. It was after he received a fine for a uniform infraction, stumping for Ray Guy to be inducted into the HOF, that Priefer made his “exhausting” comment. As a blogger… Kluwe’s off-field stuff IS exhausting to try and follow… it just simply is. He’s a busy dude.

    In fact, I am fairly certain that at one point Zygi Wilf himself released a statement in support of equality on behalf of the organization as a direct result of Kluwe’s campaigns.

    So, unless a 30+ year old punter being replaced is construed by some as an opportunity for people to get on their soapboxes in support, or opposition, of social issues… I don’t see why the conversation is even taking place. It is a football decision.

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    • Kluwe himself is the one who even brought this all up. I agree this is a football decision but I would have no problem if it wasn’t. Especially after he said it was about his support of gay marriage (it shouldn’t be called equality) I have no problem with Kluwe getting the boot.

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      • Well, I’ve been hard on the guy, but in fairness to him he did not bring “this all up.” The media, as they often do, pressed the issue for a cheap storyline. Also in fairness to him, he answered the media’s questions without ever saying it had anything to do gay marriage, the sanctity of football, equality or whatever semantics people choose to cling onto these days.

        He said it would be a shame if that’s why the Vikings were moving on… as a direct response to loaded questions… and NEVER said that is why the Vikings drafted another punter.

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        • Well said Adam.

          I’m going to extricate myself from this conversation, as I hate politics on a football blog. Believe me, I could vomit out pages of opinion on this subject, but here isn’t that place. I’d rather get along with fellow Vikes fans for the love of the game and the love of the sport. There are craploads of poli-sites out there to spew out opinion on these matters.

          HAVING said that, I want to just say, damn Skol, you actually would have Kluwe fired based entirely on his political stance? That’s…astounding. I completely disagree with Matt Birk’s viewpoints on the matter, but to want him fired for it? Not a chance.

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          • Tomb… I think your attempt to extricate yourself from the conversation wasn’t… really… all… that… successful. Just sayin’

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          • I don’t want him fired for what his political stance is, the distraction it can be along with the fact that he is using it as an excuse for losing his job is my issue. I just don’t like the guy now.

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  8. kluwe will sue for biased wrongful termination, get more name recognition, run for governor of mn, and of course, it’s mn, win. jesse ventura will be his mentor. then later, they will both come out and become WWF tag team world champions

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    • …orrrr, he will punt for four different teams over the next seven years, with most signings occurring during the season as a result of injuries to, or consistent shanks by, established punters.

      ….orrr, he will sign a long term deal to pair with Rush Limbaugh to do a “Pardon the Interruption”-type gig on Fox news.

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    • Ha, I didn’t mean to have any readers apologize by any means. I don’t mind the conversation, no matter how I feel personally on the subject, but I just feel like this Kluwe “issue” is fictitious… within the front office anyways.

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    • LOL. Great. Thanks Carl. Thought let’s do give some note to these “tweets” (I hate twitter).

      Chris Kluwe‏@ChrisWarcraft22h
      So my wife says me and Tebow should do motivational tours together. We’d draw ALL OF THE DEMOGRAPHICS.

      Chris Kluwe‏@ChrisWarcraft27 Apr
      Also, please don’t be mad at @JeffLocke18. This is a great moment for him, and when I met him he was a standup guy. #werestillfightingthough

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  9. I guess I am in favor of these player being able to express themselves.

    I don’t like the idea of the NFL or teams censoring or controlling what these guys say in social media.
    I am not an idiot… I realize what Mike Wallace said was not the view of the Dolphins… I don’t need the Dophins retracting his statement or asking him to apologize… or providing a more polish and politically correct statement.

    Let Tebow be Tebow… Let Kluwe be Kluwe… Let Mike Wallace be Mike Wallace!

    I don’t need all the politicaly correct watered down corporate statements from teams every time a player speaks his mind.

    Let’s give these plays some room for free speech….

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      • Agree to a point Carl. I have no problem with a guy expressing himself, it’s a free country. However, there are times when it’s best just to keep your mouth shut.

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  10. .. annnndddddd… let’s just walk back to the huddle after we make a tackle or score a touchdown. We don’t need to be Tebowing or discount double checking or calf roping or pulling a sharpie out of our socks…

    Thank you.

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    • Cmon now bud, you can’t group Jared Allen’s calf roping in with the discount double check.

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      • Sorry Skol. It’s all hot-dogging to me. After a sack, I want to see Jared get up, stroll back to the huddle and start getting ready for the next play. Which, by the way, does not include orchestrating crowd noise just before the ball is snapped.

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  11. I haven’t seen this much discussion about a punter since Mitch Berger pulled a Snickers out of his socks on the bench during a game.

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  12. Has anybody EVEN noticed that I have kept completely out of this conversation?
    Some will tell you it’s just too deep for me, others will tell you that I just don’t give a damn about punters (Especially if they have access to a Twitter account) HA!

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  13. Well, except for one; Ray Guy. When that guy punted, it sounded like 300 win Mag going off.
    But still, Kluwe couldn’t hold Sammy Baugh’s jock strap when it came to punting (AND passing, he led the league one year in punting AND passing)

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  14. Actually, the Salted Nut Roll is indisputably #1 in my book, Norse. Thanks for expressing your expertise on this topic The need for enlightenment is always present here.

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    • Salted nut roll is a solid choice but it lacks diversity in taste. After much debate I have decided to go with a giant KitKat bar as the best candy bar.

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      • The KK is not a bad choice at all, Skol, yet still second to the SNR (diversity in taste?), and neck and neck with the Snickers. We should consider giving Mitch his due – would an NFL player be wrong about which candy bar to carry in his sock during a game? I think not.

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        • See if he would have carried a SNR, he would not have to worry about the chocolate melting.

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        • Well maybe if he had a Kit Kat bar Gary Anderson would have liked it and taken a bite before “the kick” and we’d have a superbowl right now. So yes an NFL player could be wrong about which candy bar to keep in his sock.

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  15. Gosh, you guys remind me of congress. One minute discussing the liberties of man, the next minute debating the merits of salted nut rolls!

    By the way, 5th avenues are where it’s at.

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    • Personally, I was sort of hoping the conversation would organically morph into a discussion of the Alien vs. Predator movies. I have strong, and possibly controversial opinions.

      I’m disappointed that I haven’t heard a single shout out for Reese’s. Chocolate. Peanut butter. Quite possibly mankind’s greatest invention, after coffee and beer, of course.

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      • Not sure if there was any candy bars in those movies Tomb that stood out. Have to watch them again more closely. Reese’s are good, but it all salted nut rolls for this kid.

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      • Imagine that… a strong and possibly controversial opinion from you. Just so you know, I would put a Reese’s just beneath a medicated cough drop and a swig of Listerine on my list of snacks. Could you be any more wrong???

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        • Medicated cough drop, and a swig of Listerine.

          Wow.

          …and another piece of the B.Grant jigsaw is put into place.

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    • “The chair recognizes the distinguished blogger from Ohio. Your Fifth Avenue amendment to the Candy Bar amendment within the Human Liberties bill is hereby acknowledged. All those in favor…. The Nays have it, the Salted Nut Roll prevails.”

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  16. Thanks for asking, here are the government study results, Norse:
    1. Vanilla is best suited as an ingredient in ice cream and chocolate chip cookies. It should be restricted to these purposes.
    2. Chocolate syrup is best suited for ice cream, while peanut butter is best suited for bread. They should be kept separate at all times.
    3. Fifth Avenue is a location, not a food product. A Proper Naming Commission should be formed.
    4. Aliens and Predators are both threats to Homeland security, and movies about them should be banned.

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    • Coach,
      Thanks for separating the wheat from the chaff. I would like to point out a few things:

      1. Vanilla wafers are fantastic and should be excluded from those restrictions.
      2. Chocolate syrup is very useful when making chocolate milk and goes great with toast with peanut
      butter,
      3. Agreed that a Proper Naming Commission is needed. I thought Fifth Avenue was short for Saks Fifth
      Avenue. Why would anybody want to eat a department store?
      4. Alien and Predator movies should be allowed in case I want to remember how to defend my house from beings with acid blood and cloaking devices. Besides, what state besides Minnesota can say that their governor was in a movie lighting off a chain gun.
      5. At this point, maybe Adam is so confused about if his site is for football, or Food and movie critics.

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    • I motion to have everything but result 3 stricken from the record as vanilla is an excellent soda additive, peanut butter and chocolate go together better than Clay Matthews and Jason Collins, and aliens are nothing more than a nuisance as predators are the real threat (those guys can turn invisible).

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  17. Agreed. Sorry Adam. I will now endeavor to compose myself and put this tombfoolery behind me.

    I too appreciate an A & W root beer float from time to time.

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  18. I’m a “Coke Freeze” guy myself. Vannila ice cream in a tall glass filled with coke. It’s the best.
    86 posts and counting. . .
    Is everybody clicking on VT’s sponsers while they’re killing time with all these non-football posts??

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  19. 110+ comments?

    Time for a summary recap:

    Jeff Locke (punter)
    John Locke (Libertarian)
    Dead Lock (Congress)
    Dead Bear (no glock)
    Bare Hands (hungry bear(
    Hands down (5th avenue wins)
    Down Jacket (Fran’s next Birthday Present)

    Was that how things went?

    Stay tuned… tomorrow I’m going to write about a practice squad fullback… we’ll see where that threaf ends up!

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    • I think we can get to 200 if Bud makes a comment about how Ponder will be so much better next season and Tomb sees the comment.

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      • I’d like to debate the fact the Vikes took a punter before any OL help, because I know that irritates the hell out of him.

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    • Nice compilation, but you neglected:

      Adam’s Mock (not even close)
      Crusty Sock (teenage boys)
      The Anti-Spock (illogical, like coach)
      A shock (punter in the 5th)
      Crocs (what Favre was wearing when he….nevermind)

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      • You forgot about:

        Alaska Summer (fact or fiction) The Mosquito Diaries
        Soda ( Straight or with Ice cream)

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    • I guess I missed the part about Fifth Avenue winning. COACH!! WE NEED A RECOUNT!!! Unless Adam is referring to Saks Fifth Avenue.

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  20. You think we got Adam perplexed yet? Or maybe he is used to it by now by all of us commenting.

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  21. Practice squad fullback could cover:

    Who’s hotter. Ginger or Maryann
    The Brady that you hated the most
    Popcorn (butter or not to butter)
    Roadrunner and Coyote ( Favorite episodes/chases)
    WWF/WWE Referees (how do they miss all those illegal moves?

    and then time permitting, something about this fullback dude.

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  22. Trick Question for my VT friends to Ponder: Is the Salted Nut Roll a candy bar or a football conditioning drill?

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