ST. LOUIS (FootballStL) -- As a punter, Johnny Hekker has a perfect passer rating of 158.3 after completing two more passes during Sunday’s 24-24 tie to the 49ers.
Both passes went for first downs to keep separate drives alive, including a pass from inside his own end zone. His official stats as an NFL passer: 3-for-3 for 42 yards and a touchdown. Not bad for a punter, but it shouldn’t be too surprising.
Hekker was member of two teams that reached the state championship while playing at Bothell High School in Washington. His position? Quarterback, of course.
The now-punter thinks he threw anywhere between 25 to 30 touchdown passes during his time as a high school quarterback. Coaches even had Hekker throw a few passes and run a few routes on his Pro Day. And now we know why.
Only a few lockers away sits his inspiration to become a better passer, Sam Bradford.
“My idol is Sam Bradford, one of the best quarterbacks around, no doubt about it. Sam is a great guy. If I could be half the quarterback is, I would be really happy,” Hekker said.
For what it’s worth, his idol was pretty impressed with him after Sunday’s performance.
“He did a great job on Sunday,” Bradford said of Hekker. “I’m not sure that the first one was called. I think that was on his own. That’s pretty gutsy. He did a great job on the second fake, just to keep that drive going for us and allow us to go down there and take the lead.”
Asked if Bradford was concerned that Hekker could take over his job at quarterback, the quarterback simply stated “no.”
Hekker admitted that current Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was his favorite player while growing up. It explains why he wore No. 18 in high school, but told reporters he wouldn’t dare utter his own name in the same sentence as Manning.
“I’m not in a position to tease anybody,” Hekker said. “I’m a punter. I know my place.”