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Sam Koch, Pro Bowl punter, placed on COVID-19 list with historic streak in jeopardy

Sam Koch
Dec 2, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch (4) punts the ball to the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens survived one of the NFL’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks this season, returning to form and delivering a four-game winning streak that has the club on the verge of making the playoffs for a third consecutive year.

It seems COVID-19 isn’t quite done with the Ravens, putting the availability of Pro Bowl punter Sam Koch in jeopardy.

On Wednesday, the team placed All-Pro punter Sam Koch on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Koch’s latest COVID-19 test came back inconclusive. The Ravens held Koch out of Wednesday’s practice as a precaution as they await further test results.

Often overshadowed by Baltimore’s legendary kicker Justin Tucker, Koch has been a staple in the Ravens’ always top-tier special teams play since being drafted in the sixth round in 2006.

Since that time, Koch has played in a franchise-record 239 straight games.

Sam Koch career stats

• Played college football at the University of Nebraska, setting the single-season school record, in 2005, with a 46.5-yard per punt average and finishing second in the nation.
• Averaged 51.5-yards on five punts in the 2005 Alamo Bowl, with five kicks over 50 yards.
• Named a semifinalist for the 2005 Ray Guy Award.
• Drafted in the sixth round in 2006 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
• Named to the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl.
• Owns Baltimore Ravens’ franchise record for most career punt yards (38,989), longest career punt (74), highest career yards per punt average (45.2)
Has played in a franchise-record 239 games, surpassing Terrell Suggs (229) and Ray Lewis (228) earlier this year
• He is 7-for-7 in his career as a passer

Baltimore has no other punter under contract and if Koch is forced to miss Sunday’s critical regular-season finale in Cincinnati, the punting chores will most likely fall to Tucker. At the University of Texas, Tucker handled both the punting and place-kicking duties, averaging 40.5 yards on 155 career punts.

Perhaps more critical would be the loss of Koch as the team’s holder on field goals and extra-points. Although there are tie-break scenarios that would allow the Ravens to make the playoffs with a loss, Baltimore’s most direct route to the post-season would be to defeat the Bengals on Sunday. Not having Koch could make that a little bit more difficult.

The team awaits the outcome of further testing to learn if it will be without Koch on Sunday.