On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Steelers held tryouts for a pair of specialists, as per journalist Howard Balzer, via the league’s daily transaction sheet. Former Ohio State punter Drue Chrisman is the more notable of the two, in part because of an unusual, if not especially useful, off-the-field talent.
Flipping the Field, Flipping Water Bottles
Chrisman, a two-time Ray Guy Award finalist in college, served as Ohio State’s punter between 2017-20, averaging 44 yards per kick over the course of 48 games. Of his 185 career punts, 83 (44.9%) finished inside the 20.
In May 2021 Chrisman signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent, but he failed to win Cincy’s punting job. In the time since, he has been on and off the Bengals’ practice squad.
Yet Chrisman—who starred as a punter and placekicker at Cincinnati’s La Salle High School—is almost equally well-known for his ability to flip partially filled water bottles, landing them on their base almost without fail.
He says he was inspired to take up bottle flipping after seeing Michael Senatore’s 2016 high-school talent show video go viral. And while Chrisman has described Senatore as the “water bottle flipping O.G. (original gangsta),” Chrisman has taken the pastime to a whole new level.
More notably, in January 2020 he flipped 16-ounce water bottles for 24 consecutive hours and raised over $14,000 for charity in the process. He has also posted a video online in which he performs a series of trick shots by kicking water bottles.
No doubt the Steelers are looking at Chrisman as a possible practice squad addition, insurance in case rookie punter Pressley Harvin III is suddenly sidelined for any reason.
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Steelers Try out Rex Sunahara, Again
Long snapper Rex Sunahara, who served as long-snapper for the West Virginia Mountaineers in both 2018 and ’19, is getting the same consideration. In 2019 Sunahara was a semifinalist for the Patrick Mannely Award, which goes to the nation’s top long snapper. All told, he played in 25 games and recorded four total tackles for West Virginia, having transferred from Rhode Island after his freshman year.
Sunahara spent time with Miami in August 2020 and signed a Reserve/Futures contract with the Dolphins in January 2021. This is not the first time the Steelers have worked out Sunahara; he was also called in for a tryout in late August 2020 while then-long snapper Kameron Canaday was dealing with an injury.
Pittsburgh’s current long snapper, Christian Kuntz, had a hip injury prior to Sunday’s 20-19 win over Baltimore, but it did not keep him out of action against the Ravens.
The Steelers already have a placekicker on the practice squad, that being former Los Angeles Rams draft pick Sam Sloman, who was added to the squad on November 27, 2021.
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Pittsburgh’s Week 14 Practice Squad Protections
Also on Tuesday, the Steelers named the four practice squad players who are protected this week. They are: