San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee hopes to unleash ‘knuckle punt’ in preseason finale

Let's face it: Punters have a lot of time on their hands to work on their foot crafts.

And in this fascinating story from's Mindi Bach, San Francisco punter Andy Lee might be ready to show the world what special tricks he has been working on.

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Is the world ready for a "knuckle punt," a kick that seemingly wobbles and darts — without actually rotating, like a Charlie Hough pitch, we'd assume? We could find out Thursday in the preseason finale against the Chargers, in San Diego.

"It's definitely something I want to do in a game to see how it actually happens in a live situation," Lee said. "In practice, you can do things and you can mimic as much as you can, but you never really know how a new thing you're going to do is going to react in a game situation. So I'd love to hopefully be able to pull it out and try it and see if it's something I can work in my regular routine."

Who says preseason games are boring? Chargers rookie punt returner Keenan Allen, who boffed a punt attempt against the Bears, might want to load up on the Stickum for this one. But there's one big caveat before Lee unleashes his version of Mr. Miyagi's "Crane Kick" — Lee hasn't exactly mastered the aerodynamics of the punt just yet.

"I still haven't gotten to a point where I've really solidified it," Lee said. "I can do it kind of on the side (in practice), and then when I get with the team it gets a little shaky. So I'm trying to really figure out how to get it done."

Still, he already has victimized 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams with the maneuver in practice, and the swirling winds of Candlestick Park could make it a beast of a time for opponents this season, if the conditions are suitable.

Maybe it's ill-advised. After all, Lee has forged a reputation as one of the league's best punters, and last season was signed to a six-year extension for his prowess without the benefit of the knuckle punt. But if it works, it seriously could be a fun thing to watch.

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