O'Hara: Punters Sam Martin and Blake Clingan show off their leg strength

Posted Aug 12, 2013

Detroit's punters showed off leg strength during Monday's practice when their kicks reached the roof of the indoor field

Sam Martin and Blake Clingan didn't bring down the house with their practice punts Monday, but they rattled the roof beams at the Lions' indoor facility.

Martin and Clingan showed off their leg strength. Martin hit the roof twice, and Clingan hit it once.

Sam MartinP Sam Martin (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

It isn't rare for a punter to hit the facility's roof, which opened in 2002, but it's not common, either.

Martin and Clingan both said they weren't aiming for the roof, but hitting it meant they'd gotten off good punts.

"The punts I hit in the game would have hit the roof," Martin said, referring to his three punts in Friday night's preseason game.

The practice facility roof is higher in the middle than on the sides.

"A five-second (hang time) punt will hit the sides," Martin said. "The dead middle takes a higher punt. When we punt in there, most days we'll ding it off there a few times."

Hitting the roof has become old hat for Smith and Clingan. It was a novelty when they first joined the Lions this year.

"When we first got here, it was, 'Let's hit it off the roof,'" Martin said. "We both get pretty good hang time on our punts. We don't really try to hit it. It just happens."

Clingan wasn't as nonplussed as Martin about hitting the roof.

"Obviously, we have pretty strong legs," Clingan said. "When we do hit the roof, it's fun. Not a lot of guys can hit the roof, so when you do hit it, you know you're doing your job."

The Lions have big plans for Martin. They drafted him in the fifth round in April. He also can kick off. He put all three kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks Friday night.

Clingan signed as a free agent in the offseason. He has a strong leg and has shown in practice and the first preseason game that he has the talent to punt in the NFL.

Martin averaged 43.7 yards for his three punts. Clingan averaged 43.3 yards, also for three punts.

Veteran long snapper Don Muhlbach says there is one drawback to banging a punt off the roof.

"When you're covering, look out," Muhlbach said. "Because it's coming right back at you."