Hekker with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016
|No. 6 – Los Angeles Rams|
February 8, 1990 |
|Height:||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Weight:||225 lb (102 kg)|
|High school:||Bothell (WA)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 14, 2017|
John Robert Hekker (born February 8, 1990), is an American football punter for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Oregon State. He was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
Hekker played for the Oregon State Beavers football team while attending Oregon State University. In 2008, Hekker was named the Sun Bowl Special Teams MVP after averaging 45 yards on 10 punts, including boots of 57 and 52 yards in the fourth quarter of a 3-0 win for the Beavers. He was a four-year starter and finished his college career as one of Oregon State's most prolific punters. As a Beaver, he set a single-game school record with a 52.5 average (6 punts for 315 yards) against Utah in 2011.
Hekker ranked third-best in career-punt yardage at OSU with a solid 41.3 yards average per punt. In 2011, he earned College Football Performance Award Punter of the Week and was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List - given annually to the nation's best punter. In 2009, he was semi-finalist for the Ray Guy Award and the Phil Steele All-Pac-10 Second Team. As a senior, Hekker recorded a total of 52 career punts over 50 yards, including 17 when he had six different games with at least one punt of 60+ yards.
Hekker earned Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention with 87 career punts downed inside the 20-yard line in 2011.[clarification needed] He also had at least one punt of 50+ yards in every game but one in 2010.
Hekker had several memorable kicks as a Beaver. One was the second-longest punt in school history. The punt went for 74 yards in 2010 against USC. Another was a negative-yardage punt when he shanked the ball for a loss of 4 yards.
In Week 4 against the Seattle Seahawks, Hekker threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Danny Amendola on a fake field goal. He became the first Rams punter to throw a touchdown pass since the merger.
In Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals, He set a Rams franchise record with a gross punting average of 56.9 in one game, beating the old mark of 56.0 set by Donnie Jones on three other occasions. He recorded 7 punts for 398 yards in the game, placing three of his punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. He had two punts of 60 plus yards. In doing so, he stopped Patrick Peterson from returning a punt for a touchdown against St. Louis, as he did in both rivalry games last season. Hekker was again nominated for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.
In Week 10 against the San Francisco 49ers, Hekker converted on two fake punt passes for 40 yards, while having 4 punts with a 31-yard average and placing one of his punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line in a 24-all draw. Hekker was again nominated for Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.
On December 5, 2014, Hekker agreed to a six-year, $18 million contact extension with the St. Louis Rams, $9 million of which was guaranteed. Hekker's deal is the largest contract ever given to a punter.
On December 27, 2015, early in the second quarter of a game between the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks, Hekker was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness for shoving Cliff Avril after a 45-yard punt. Later in the game, Hekker dropped to the ground when he thought Michael Bennett was going to hit him as retaliation. Bennett later said that Hekker acted "like a little girl" in a post game interview.
In the 2015 season, Hekker again led the league in net punting average  and was named as an All-Pro by the Associated Press for the second time.
In 2016, Hekker set NFL records for punts downed inside the 20 (51), had only one touchback, and broke his own record for net punting yardage (46.0). Some speculated his performance ranked as the greatest punting season ever.  Hekker was named to his third Pro Bowl and his third First-team All-Pro.
On September 11, 2017, Hekker signed a two-year contract extension with the Rams through the 2022 season. In a Week 2 game against the Washington Redskins, Hekker recorded a 28-yard pass to Josh Reynolds on a successful fake punt.
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