Orlando’s Townsend boys back together again as Johnny joins Chiefs

Chris Hays, Orlando Sentinel
·2 min read

Orlando’s Townsend brothers were reunited this week as teammates when the the Kansas City Chiefs signed Johnny Townsend to the practice squad, reuniting him with younger brother Tommy.

Tommy Townsend, an undrafted rookie, has been the Chiefs’ regular punter all season and has had a nice start to his professional career. Pro Football Focus named Tommy Townsend a midseason, second team All-Pro. He averages 47.6 yards per punt and has put nine of his 26 punts inside the 20.

Johnny Townsend was a fifth-round selection of the Oakland Raiders in the 2018 NFL draft and was the Raiders’ regular punter for that season before being cut by the team in 2019.

The Townsends are products of Orlando Boone High, where both achieved U.S. Army All-American honors. Johnny was a member of the 2013 recruiting class and signed with Florida out of Boone. Tommy, a 2015 grad, went a circuitous route, signing with Tennessee before eventually transferring to Florida and joining his brother.

Johnny was All-American at Florida and arguably the most decorated punter in Gators history. Tommy followed his brother and was UF’s punter for two seasons in 2018-19, but he didn’t gain quite the acclaim his brother did, although he only had two full seasons as the Gators’ punter.

Now Tommy is leading the way. Johnny has had a difficult time finding an NFL home following his release by the Raiders. Meanwhile, Tommy is making quite an impression in his first season with the defending Super Bowl champions.

Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub praised Johnny on Thursday after the Chiefs added him to the practice squad.

“Johnny, he’s a good punter,” Toub said. “We liked him coming out of [of college]. He’s a guy who was on the street and he was available. ... It was a really good idea by [GM Brett] Veach to bring a guy in just in case the COVID thing hits us. ... We have a guy that’s in the building, tested, that we can just plug in there, plug and play.

“He’s a guy who can come in a punt for us, he can be a holder ... He’s a practice squad player we would work in practice just in case. He’s an emergency guy strictly. It’s a good luxury to have a guy like that ... he’s a really good fit too. ... It’s a unique deal.”

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Chris Hays at chays@orlandosentinel.com.

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