The New Orleans Saints lost their second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, but punter Blake Gillikin had a truly jaw-dropping performance that night.
On Friday, Gillikin dropped an 81-yard bomb from the Saints’ 19-yard line, sending the punt all the way to the opposing end zone.
This is *just* preseason, but Gillikin tied the Saints franchise record first set by Tom McNeil way back in 1969 and reminded fans why he was quickly becoming one of the best punters in the league.
Two days after his incredible feat, however, Gillikin shared a text he received that said he was “selected for a random in season drug test.”
Coincidence? We think not.
Saints punter Blake Gillikin ready to set new records in 2022 season
In the Packers game, Gillikin punted five times averaging 59.4 yards per kick, including one downed inside the 20-yard line.
That comes after his great preseason-opening performance against the Houston Texans when he punted six times and averaged 50.2 yards per kick.
Gillikin has endeared himself well to Saints fans so far and joins Wil Lutz as a key member of specials teams this upcoming season. In 2021, the Penn State product had 83 punts and averaged 47.7 yards per punt, good for seventh in the NFL.
Gillikin’s longest punt was a 63-yarder, so this 81-yarder sets a new record for what his insanely powerful leg can accomplish. NOLA heavily relied on Gillikin giving the team prime field position against their opponents last year, and though it’s an overlooked part of the game, Gillikin’s punts aren’t something to take for granted.
He enters his second season in NOLA with high expectations and, apparently, the head honchos of the league closely watching him.