Daniel Dwire always loved punting the football growing up in Lynd.
He loved it so much he’d go out during the winter and punt barefoot just because he wanted to be a barefoot NFL punter.
Now, he’s giving his dream of punting in the NFL a shot in a professional environment.
Dwire, 35, a former placekicker for Marshall High in the early 1990s, attended the Louie Aguiar NFL Free Agent Tryout Camp last week in Dallas. The camp was for punters, long snappers and placekickers.
Dwire, who also played semi-professional football for two years, kicked in front of “eight to 10” NFL scouts for four days from March 12-19.
There, he got tips from Aguiar, an NFL veteran punter, and other former NFL kickers in Paul Edinger and Leo Araguz.
“If you’re good enough, you can make the pros out of this camp,” Dwire said by phone Thursday. “I didn’t quite make the cut. I had a couple of pretty good days. I basically relearned my punting mechanics there. I’m finding out that it takes a lot of work to get there. But overall, it turned out pretty good.”
Dwire said he was the oldest person at the camp. He didn’t divulge his age to many people.
To impress scouts, Dwire had to have a 40-yard average on his kicks along with a 4.5-second hang time. He also had to try to get off each kick in an average time of 1.4 seconds.
Dwire ended up having a 41-yard average, but had an average of a 3.85-second hang time and a 1.7-plus second average in getting off each kick.
Dwire said he got a lot of good tips from Aguiar, Edinger and Araguz to improve his times.
“I wish I would’ve had this type of coaching earlier. That’s why I’m going to these camps. Special teams definitely don’t get the same emphasis in college or high school that they do here,” Dwire said. “This was really a unique situation. It was kind of fun. If you go back and ask anybody I played with in high school, they’ll tell you I probably had a strong leg. But if they heard I was getting this opportunity, they’d probably be dumbfounded.”
Dwire got into the camp due to some connections he had with an old semi-pro league teammate. That friend was also a punter and he hooked Dwire up with Aguiar.
Dwire, who had to pay to try out at the camp, went through serious training beginning in December to prepare for the camp.
Dwire said he hopes to continue to work with Aguiar in the future. Aguiar punted for the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears from 1991-2000.
Despite going to college full time at Normandale Community College in the Twin Cities, Dwire still thinks his dream can come true. His next goal is to punt for the Augsburg football team. He’ll be attending the school next year as a nontraditional student.
Dwire, who is divorced and lives in Minnetonka, is an Iraqi War veteran and is still in the National Guard. He served in Iraq for 15 months and was away from Minnesota for 23 months.
“You live one day at a time over there,” Dwire said of his time in Iraq. “I learned a lot of life lessons over there. This summer, I might start writing a book about my experiences.”
Dwire said he’s going to try and get in touch with the Augsburg football coaching staff over the next few weeks. You can tell in his voice that he has mind set on kicking there while he attends school. He plans to major in international relations at Augsburg.
“I’m hoping to talk to their coach in three weeks,” he said. “That time in college would definitely help me work on my mechanics.”
But time is a factor for Dwire. He was already told he’s too old to make an NFL team.
“I still haven’t given up on my dream,” he said. “I was told that I’m too old and that I would have to wow the scouts. But, I’m not giving up. I’m realistic, but I want to work on my mechanics and see where it goes. I know I’m mentally tough enough and have the body to kick.
“If you look at different sports, you have people like Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong who defy the odds. That could be me, but I won’t know unless I try.”