Sam Koch is retiring as a player, but he isn't going far.
Koch will now join the Ravens staff as a special teams consultant, meaning he will help coach his successor, rookie punter Jordan Stout.
Koch said he appreciated General Manager Eric DeCosta calling him before picking Stout in the fourth round of this year's draft. DeCosta told Koch there was a chance the team could draft a punter that day.
Koch and his wife had long talked about that moment when he realized his long career, which spanned 16 years, would come to an end. Koch said he has "no doubt" he could continue punting in the NFL, but he didn't want to leave Baltimore and it had to come to an end eventually. Now, he can smoothly transition to helping the organization in a different way.
"First and foremost, I'm just excited to work with Jordan," Koch said. "We're going to try to make him the next best punter of the Ravens and do everything we can to make him the best punter in the league."
Koch said he has already worked with Stout on some punting and holding aspects of his game. The rookies and veterans have been together for a couple weeks now since the draft.
"I'm going to try to teach him everything I have," Koch said. "I'm going to put everything I have into making him the best punter this league has seen."
It's the perfect situation for Stout, who the Ravens viewed as the best punter to come out of college in a long time. In addition to Special Teams Coach Randy Brown and Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton, Stout will now have a mentor that not only revolutionized the game but is also meticulous about his preparation and technique.
Koch's teammates, including kicker Justin Tucker, often talked about how the 16-year veteran pushed them to constantly get better.
"Sam is the ultimate example of what it means to be a professional," Tucker said. "The great memories we created together start with him and his work ethic, his abilities and his attention to detail. I owe much of my success over the last 10 years to Sam, and many Ravens' victories over the last 16 years are very much because of Sam's efforts."
"Sam never took a day off from being the best punter he could possibly be," former Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox said. "Whether it was a practice day in March or the Super Bowl, he approached every rep the same. Everything had to be perfect. If it wasn't, he'd then spend all his energy figuring out why – and he'd fix it."