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Behind the Scenes

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What the Browns' specialists do behind the scenes to stay sharp while rest of team is elsewhere

Britton Colquitt and Zane Gonzalez aren't on the same schedule as the majority of the Browns roster.

The Browns returning punter and kicker go through the same team-mandated workout as everyone else, but then, as a majority of the team practices and does a walk-through, the specialists do additional work with strength and conditioning assistant Monty Gibson, who has a background with track and field. Gibson works with the kickers and punters on their hips and flexibility.

"It's perfect for us," Colquitt said. "Strengthening the hip flexors and working out your hip mobility and flexibility. So we add those to our regular workout that everyone else is doing."

Flexibility is important; Colquitt claims he's the most flexible player on the Browns roster. Gonzalez thinks he's more flexible than anyone on the team besides Colquitt. Punters have to be more flexible than kickers, Colquitt said, because of the way punters have to swing their legs.

Gonzalez also added it's good for a kicker to not be too flexible, so your muscles can get accustomed to the snap and explosion, which is just as pivotal. To launch a football 50 yards in the air with your leg is a tall task; it takes a quick snap of the leg and elite technique. Colquitt and Gonzalez take tips from Gibson on how to increase their explosiveness.

As far as lifting goes, they can't work on leg strength as much as many would think. Their legs are their livelihood, and if those are sore, the specialists can't kick at a high level. But it's up to the individual specialist to find a comfort zone of lifting during the season. You can't just destroy your legs mid-season.

"There are guys out there that don't lift. There's guys out there that probably lift too much," Colquitt said. "I think it's just whatever your body tells you, whatever makes you feel good. I try to do more legs than some guys because I've got skinny chicken legs. I feel like if I could add a little size to those, it'll help me, at least in the winter months when it's cold and you need a little extra umph."

When is the time to lift and train their legs? Well, the day after a game is probably perfect for them, Gonzalez said. That makes it so their legs have the rest of the week to recover in time for the next game. It's a tough thing to balance.

But after the hip, flexibility and light leg work, the specialists make sure to add in the "gun show." They have to stay a little extra to work on the "show muscles," so they look good.

The common perception around kickers and punters in football is they only do legs, and they're largely small guys. But Colquitt and Gonzalez are changing that narrative, one upper-body lift at a time.

"The perception around here is that we don't do legs and that we just lift our arms every day," Colquitt said. "That's what everybody sees."

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