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Redskins Punter is Fox Hunter photo.

Of all the paths punters have taken to the NFL, I'd have to imagine "mom selling Irish sport horse to NFL punting legend's daughter" and "son building leg strength by riding fox-hunting horses" has to be among the more unusual.

Brooks Durant--the Redskins' sixth-round draft pick and a future regular at the Gold Cup Races--got introduced to Ray Guy after his mom--an optician and horse breeder--sold a horse named Moe to Guy for his daughter. Soon, young Brooks was going to Guy's punting camp, where it became clear that he had exceptional leg strength. From the Augusta Chronicle:

With Brooks, it wasn't the water, but the fox-hunting horses he's been riding since he was 7 that built his uncommon leg strength.

"You have to have strong legs to stay on a horse, that's for sure," his mother said.

Guy agrees: "And you've got to have coordination too. That's why he's so natural. He was so rhythmic, so easygoing and relaxed. You've got to have ability and you've got to have rhythm in your whole body. That transposes with the riding. You have to have timing and coordination with the horse, or you'll find yourself on the ground at some time."

Tell a Brit you've got a horse rider who's one hell of a punter, and mass confusion will ensue. For that matter, tell an American you've got a punter who's one hell of a horse rider, and it won't be any less confusing.

In any case, the AP's draft-day chronicle makes it clear that this was Durant's destiny, in the same way that Fred Davis--whose mom still has his Redskins jersey from youth football--was destined to be the team's third tight end:

With the Ray Guy award.
In the past few weeks, Brooks expressed interest in playing for Washington to his mother, LuAnne Durant. She said it was his desire to play in that city that fueled her own hopes that he landed there.

"That's really where he wanted to go, and every morning that was my daily prayer; that he'd end up in Washington," LuAnne Durant said. "I wanted him to be wherever he and I knew was the place where he wanted to be."

Apparently, her prayers were heard.

Saturday, while playing golf in Atlanta with some of his high school buddies, Durant Brooks said that while retrieving a ball in two-foot thick rough, they found another golf ball Ð with a Washington Redskins logo.

Another eerie sign came in the form of a gift from his aunt, Ruthie Brown. Moments after taking the phone call Sunday, Brooks opened the gift, revealing a Redskins mug and keychain that Brown had picked up the day before.

Any punter who's inspired a misspelled Heisman Trophy t-shirt is all right in my book. Ramblin Racket explains the spelling: "Copyrights prevent us from spelling the award's name correctly. But Brooks wouldn't even want it spelled right cause he's straight GANGSTA."

Yup, that's the fox-hunting horse-riding punter for ya.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 29, 2008; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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