Danny Smith Says Christian Kuntz Is Fine After Getting Hurt Sunday: ‘Me And Him May Be The Two Toughest Guys In This Program’
The Pittsburgh Steelers had a scare last Sunday when long snapper Christian Kuntz was rolled up on and appeared to suffer a leg/knee injury. Kuntz got it taped up but was walking with a limp on the sideline, although he didn’t miss a snap in the Steelers’ win over the Green Bay Packers. Speaking to reporters today, special teams coach Danny Smith, who tore his rotator cuff in three places at the end of the Packers game, said that Kuntz is “fine.”
“Me and him may be the two toughest people in this program,” Smith said via transcript provided by the team.
With Kuntz hurting and backup long snapper Cole Holcomb out for the season, there was concern about what the Steelers would do if Kuntz wasn’t able to return to the game. Smith said the Steelers have a contingency plan in place but that the idea of that happening makes him “very nervous.”
An injury to a long snapper during a game is a tough thing to plan for, and it’s such a specialized position that the talent drop-off between the first guy and the second guy is going to be dramatic. Teams do not carry two long snappers on their 53-man roster, so the backup is almost always someone who plays another position and can snap in a pinch when needed.
It’s not an ideal situation, but Kuntz didn’t appear on the injury report this week and the Steelers have yet to bring in any long snappers for workouts this week. It doesn’t appear they will, so Kuntz will be the guy against Cleveland on Sunday.
For Kuntz, being compared to Smith when it comes to the level of toughness is one of the ultimate compliments. Smith is 70 years old, tore his rotator cuff in three places on Sunday and comes out joking about the whole situation to reporters on Thursday. He’s got a whole host of other injuries he’s suffered from getting railroaded on the sideline, including a tibia plateau fracture that he suffered in 1993 while coaching at Georgia Tech.
While Smith might not be comfortable about the idea of Kuntz going down in-game, he can at least rest knowing the team doesn’t need to bring in someone new to snap in Week 11 with the Steelers making a playoff push.