It was obvious how much Sam Koch was respected by teammates and coaches after he announced his retirement as a player on Thursday.
Here's what they said:
General Manager Eric DeCosta: "One of the very best Ravens you'll ever see. I'm honored to have watched him all these years. I've been here a long time and so has Sam. I was actually overjoyed when he came in and said, 'You know what, I want to coach.'''
Head Coach John Harbaugh: "Congratulations on your retirement and your career that has led you to this point. Sam Koch changed punting. All the punters know it and all the punting coaches know it. People that study the game know it. All people ever did was punt it straight. Sam changed all that. Started developing all of these different rugby-style punts. The Koch Hook is probably the most famous one. But it's not the only one. When you change something, forever, to me that's kind of a revolutionary-type thing. That's the mark of greatness."
Former Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg: "We could always trust that Sam would be prepared; we could trust he would deliver in clutch situations; we could trust that he would be an exemplary teammate; and we could trust that his word was his bond. Sam will rightly be remembered in Baltimore as an elite performer. But he will also be remembered for his incredible creativity and execution of alternative ways of punting the football. Let it be noted that Sam Koch changed the game in this regard. He is also the greatest holder in the history of football."
Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton: "To spend 16 years with one organization says a lot about Sam as a player, what he's accomplished and his approach to the game. He came into the building every day with a mindset to get better. I watched as he continued to grow and achieve just that. Sam's teammates looked up to him and respected him for his workmanlike attitude each day. As a coach, I appreciated all his hard work and dedication. I've never been around a player who worked as hard as Sam Koch, and I look forward to watching him pour that energy into the next chapter of his life."
Special Teams Coach Randy Brown: "Sam has revolutionized the game of football. He introduced the idea that punters could have different types of punts, as well as have punts designed to place the ball inside the 10-yard line and to keep the ball away from returners – who have become much more dynamic in recent years. As a whole, every punter in the NFL owes Sam Koch a debt of gratitude for being the pioneer of change on how punting is executed in this league."
Justin Tucker: "Sam is the ultimate example of what it means to be a professional. 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. He is an outstanding teammate and leader in our locker room, and like many great Ravens before him, he has been essential to defining our culture as a team. Sam changed the way everyone in the football world looks at punting, and his consistency and proficiency are unmatched throughout the history of our game."
Morgan Cox: "Sam never took a day off from being the best punter he could possibly be. 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."
Joe Flacco: "Congratulations Sam. My gosh, time flies. Congratulations on an awesome career. Couldn't be more proud to call you a friend and a teammate for as long as I could."
Lamar Jackson: "Congratulations again, my guy."
Marshal Yanda: "Just wanted to congratulate you on one heck of career. Happy retirement bud."
Haloti Ngata: – "Best punter I ever had as a teammate. Enjoy it. Love you, bro."
Ozzie Newsome: – Congrats on your retirement. You played like a Raven."