Margus Hunt is playing in his eighth NFL season. His road to the NFL was unique and well chronicled.
Hunt came to the U.S. from Estonia to further his already accomplished shot put, discus and hammer career. His intention was to train with Southern Methodist University track and field coach Dave Wollman.
However, SMU dropped its men’s track and field program by the time Hunt arrived. Hunt then decided to walk on the SMU football team. It was the first time for him playing organized football. His raw talent impressed the coaching staff enough that he earned a scholarship.
The 6-foot-8 defensive lineman starred at SMU for four seasons before the Cincinnati Bengals drafted him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Hunt is now currently enjoying his second stint with the Bengals. Cincinnati signed the eighth-year veteran in October to add depth to its defensive line.
Hunt said some of the skills he learned as a thrower have assisted him during a lengthy and productive NFL career.
“Body control more so than anything else,” Hunt explained. “Understanding how the body works and how you can use it to your advantage.”
Hunt was a World Junior Champion in the shot put and discus in 2006. He hasn’t touched a shot put, discus or hammer in a decade but has fond memories of his throwing days. He conceded that being a world class thrower is more difficult than playing in the NFL.
“In some ways, I would say thrower because it’s very tedious,” Hunt said. “You are by yourself with your coach, maybe one or two other guys you are working out with. Over here there are all these people you meet. You make a lot of friends doing this. You get to work out. Go run around a little bit, play some football, tackle some guys. That’s it. All you do in the offseason is work out for a little bit, keep your body in shape and keep improving on that every year. Whereas in track we were out there for hours throwing 50 times a day. It’s tedious.”
Hunt’s compiled 112 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in 102 career NFL games.
As for his gold-medal winning 2006 world junior champion marks – he won the shot put competition with a toss of 20.53 meters and his first-place mark in the discus was 67.32 meters. His discus throw was also a world junior record at the time.
Perhaps he’ll dust off his throwing shoes when his NFL days are done. Track and field does have a masters division.
Other Bengals news and notes:
Brandon Allen: Allen practiced on Thursday. There’s a good chance that he’ll start on Sunday versus Houston.
Allen missed the team’s Week 15 win due to a knee injury. Ryan Finley replaced Allen under center last week.
Bengals safety excited for Christmas Day basketball: Vonn Bell is known for calling it a night around 9 p.m. and being an early riser. But the Bengals strong safety told The Enquirer he’s staying up late on Christmas to watch the Los Angeles Lakers host the Dallas Mavericks in a primetime matchup.
Bell is an avid Lakers fan.
Injury report: Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd remains in concussion protocol. Boyd was concussed during the team's Week 15 win.
Linebacker Logan Wilson (ankle) won't return this week. Wilson hasn't played since Week 14.