Just three weeks after the death of the legendary Cortez Kennedy, ex-Seahawks punter Rick Tuten has also passed away. Ocala.com in Florida confirmed with friends and family on Tuesday that the 52-year-old died unexpectedly in Costa Rica earlier in the week. Further details are currently unknown.
Known as “Bootin’ Tuten,” Rick’s NFL start came in 1989, when he played his rookie season with the Eagles before a one-year stint in Buffalo. In 1991, after going through two punters, the Seattle Seahawks picked up Tuten for the final ten games of the season, and he turned that into a successful seven-year run with the franchise, culminating in a spot on Seattle’s 35th Anniversary Team.
Due to the Seahawks offense ranging from mediocre to historically lousy for much of the 1990s, Tuten’s services were called upon quite frequently, and he was more than up to the task. He punted a whopping 108 times in 1992, leading the league in total punt yardage in ‘92 and ‘93. Tuten earned Pro Bowl honors in 1994, having pinned opponents inside their own 20 on 33 of his 91 punts. To this day, he remains the only punter in Seahawks history to be selected to the Pro Bowl.*
Tuten’s days in Seattle ended following the 1997 season, and he wrapped up his career with the St. Louis Rams, with whom he won a Super Bowl with in 1999 (but didn’t play in the game itself). At the time of his departure, Tuten was the Seahawks’ all-time leader in punts, punt yardage, yards per punt average, and punts inside the 20. Those records are now all held by Jon Ryan, who surpassed Tuten has the longest-serving Seahawks punter in 2014.
Rick Tuten is survived by his wife and three children.
* - Jon Ryan was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2009, but ultimately didn’t make the NFC team.