In a December game in Seattle against the Seahawks late in the 2015 season Earnest Byner Jersey , then St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker decided it would be a good idea to hit Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril from the backside after punting the ball downfield.

Hekker came to immediately regret his decision as he cowered to the turf when Avril and Michael Bennett came after him on a later punt in the game.

Three years removed from the play, Hekker and Avril have buried the hatchet over the play and discussed the situation on Avrils radio show on Sports Radio 950 KJR on Tuesday.

Oh man, the Chappelle Show had a segment Keeping it real gone wrong. That was 100 percent the situation, Hekker said.

Because of the amount of trick plays on punts the Rams under Jeff Fisher had run against Seattle, the Seahawks elected to play a punt-safe return with most of their usual defensive players on the field. Thats why Avril and Bennett were on the field for a play they otherwise wouldnt take part in. After the punt, Hekker trailed Avril from behind and dropped him to the turf with a shoulder while Avril wasnt looking. The play drew a 15-yard penalty.

It was a perfect hit, Avril said. I fall to the ground and Im like theres no way its the punter but thats the only person behind me because it was a safe punt. So Im just trotting, next thing I know I just bust my behind. I look up and its oh Kyle Williams Jersey , Ive got something for you the next go around.

Then the ref actually comes to our sideline and is like hey, we talked to him or whatever and Im like ok, Ive still got something for him next time they call safe punt again. So I had to jump at you. And then Mike (Bennett) finds out about it on the sideline and hes like what? what happened? the punter did it? So Mike was really going out for blood.

Hekker, who grew up in the Seattle suburb of Bothell, said he immediately had friends and family asking him what he was thinking.

Theyre all Seahawks fans, he said.

Hekker reached out to apologize to Avril after the incident and donated money to his foundation as a gesture of good will, which Avril said ended any animus over the situation right away.

The two then ran into each other in person for the first time at the 2016 Pro Bowl.

Well it was a deal where him, Richard Sherman and Mike (Bennett) were all standing by the elevator Michael Irvin Jersey , Hekker said. And I kind of like puppy dog walk over like hey guys and I heard Mike just busting up laughing about it.

Its all good, said Avril. Its all squashed. Its fun. Obviously hes here, so were good to go.

Alvin Gentrys ability to coach the Pelicans into the second round of the playoffs despite the mid-season loss of All-Star DeMarcus Cousins persuaded the club that Gentry deserved to be under contract beyond next season. Gentry agreed on Thursday to an extension covering two additional years, running through the 2020-21 season.

He did a tremendous job last season, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said. When we faced adversity, Alvin and his staff continually discovered ways to place the team in situations where we could be successful.

Gentry has gone 117-138 in three seasons, including this seasons playoffs, when the Pelicans swept Portland before losing a second-round series 4-1 to defending champion Golden State.

New Orleans missed the playoffs in Gentrys first two seasons Danny Trevathan Jersey , during which the team dealt with a rash of injuries to key players.

During this past season, Gentry had to help the Pelicans adapt to the loss of Cousins, who played a central role in a system that revolved around him and fellow All-Star big man Anthony Davis. Cousins tore his left Achilles in the 48th game of the season. Without him, New Orleans still managed to go 21-13 and finish sixth in the highly competitive Western Conference.

The Pelicans late-season success stemmed in part from Gentrys integration of Nikola Mirotic into the starting rotation after a Feb. 1 trade that brought the fourth-year forward to New Orleans from Chicago.

The vote of confidence in Gentry comes as the Pelicans ponder their approach to retaining two key free agents: Cousins and veteran point guard Rajon Rondo.

Both players thrived last season under Gentry, and Rondo during the playoffs spoke highly of the way Gentry respects his players by giving them the latitude to play to their strengths and be who they are.

Cousins was averaging 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds before his injury. Rondo enjoyed his best production with New Orleans during the playoffs, when he averaged 10.3 points, 12.2 assists and 7.6 rebounds.

Gentry sounded confident that the Pelicans were prepared to move aggressively to build on what they accomplished this season, even if the price is high.

Ownership and management have provided us with the necessary resources to compete at the highest level Darrell Green Jersey , Gentry said Thursday, specifically mentioning Gayle Benson, who is now the sole owner of the Pelicans and NFLs Saints following the death of her husband, Tom, in March. I couldnt be happier to work for such an exceptional owner. I am excited for the great opportunities that are ahead for our organization.



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