Catching Up With Colts: All Pro Dad Hunter Smith Interview


During this Father’s Day weekend, I had the special opportunity to interview former Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith, who was at the “All Chore Challenge” hosted on behalf of All Pro Dads and hhgregg yesterday. Always a special teams standout, Smith played for the Colts for 10 seasons from 1999-2008 and was a Super Bowl XLI Champion in 2006.

Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith (17) during the Colts’ 23-17 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC wild card playoff game at Qualcomm Stadium

As a popular Colts fan favorite during his playing days, Smith remains incredibly articulate and has always been a true “Horseshoe guy” both on and off the field. When Smith isn’t playing with the Hunter Smith Band these days, his very own accomplished country rock group, he’s often working with a truly special organization called All Pro Dads.

Founded in 1997 with the help of highly regarded former Colts coaching great Tony Dungy, All Pro Dads is a non-profit organization that features more than 50 NFL players including Smith. These players speak out on the importance of fatherhood and serving as a positive role model for children.

Fortunately, Smith was gracious enough to grant me the opportunity for an interview on what fatherhood means personally for him, playing football for the Colts, and what exactly he’s up to in his post-playing days:

Q: How exactly did you get involved with All Pro dads?

Hunter: I played 10 years for the Colts and 7 of those were with Tony (Dungy). And Tony and Clyde Christensen helped start me off with them. So, it was natural for me. I was not a dad when I first got on the team. After being on the team and being with Tony for a while, living life, I got married and had children. I have 4 children now. So, they asked me to be a national spokesman, and I had been a dad long enough to kind of discern that I had some idea of what I was doing and started doing it. Ever since then, I’ve done things off and on, here and there with Darrin (Gray) and Coach Dungy.

Q: Blessed with 4 kids of your own as mentioned, what does fatherhood mean personally for you?

Hunter: It’s a huge responsibility, but bigger than the responsibility is I think the privilege. I don’t think a lot of people realize this, but I think God entrusts people with children. I believe all people are ultimately God’s people, and so when he gives someone a child of his to rear, it’s a big responsibility. But bigger than that, it’s a great privilege. So I really view it as both a responsibility and a privilege.

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, left, chats punter Hunter Smith before the football practice at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie , Fla. Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007.

Q: What kind of role has Tony Dungy played for you as both a player and person?

Hunter: He’s been very supportive of the initiatives I’ve had in my life, and the kind of guy who would never try to jam some kind of counsel or wisdom down your throat. However, if he saw something that he really felt he needed to address, or something he needed to say, he wasn’t afraid to say it. So I can’t thank him enough. There are a lot of people who can talk, but there are very few people who can live what they say, and Tony Dungy is one of them.

Q: Are you still heavily involved with the Hunter Smith band? And specifically, what’s that transition been like going from NFL player to now playing in your own band?

Hunter: Yeah, we play tonight. It’s been great. One of the things I was concerned that I would miss about the NFL, really the only thing I thought I would miss, would be the camaraderie. Yet, I have that in my band, and music is a much larger passion than football ever was to me. The magnitude of what I did playing football maybe was bigger because of popular culture, but the experience I have in playing music to me is a far greater thing.

Q: You mentioned camaraderie, do you still keep in touch with some of your former Colts teammates?

Hunter: I do. With some of them, we try to keep in touch weekly. I mean a lot of guys still live around here. I talk on the phone to a lot of them. When you play somewhere for as long as I did, you make relationships that are lasting. A lot of them aren’t. A lot of times, guys play 3 or 4 years and then forget about each other, but when you play as long as I did, we had guys that I got close to.

As part of fan festivities, Hunter Smith signs autographs at the “Ultimate Chore Challenge”, serving as a spokesman on behalf of All Pro Dads and hhgregg

Q: What was your favorite memory as an Indianapolis Colt?

Hunter: Obviously, the Super Bowl was a big deal, but the AFC Championship Game was a much larger deal in retrospect. That moment when you won the game and realized it’s no longer we might go to the Super Bowl, it’s we are.

Q: During your playing days as a Colt, you were frequently listed as the emergency 3rd-string quarterback behind Peyton Manning and his primary backup, largely Jim Sorgi. Did you ever get worried that you may have had to actually play quarterback in a pinch?

Hunter: We had a game against Arizona at the end of the season, where Jim Sorgi had to play the whole game and got hurt. I was warming up on the sideline, and I thought I was going to have to go in. But that was as close as I got. I ran offensive plays when we ran fake punts, but as far as going in and running the offense, it was as close as it ever got. I’m thankful that Jim was able to pull it through because I would’ve handed the ball off 3 times and then punted.

Q: What was it like to play with Peyton Manning?

Hunter: Well, it was a great privilege for all of us, and there’s no one who was on that team that can possibly say that their career would’ve been what it was without him. I don’t know if anyone will ever completely understand the deficiencies we had on the team at multiple levels and just how much better so many other teams were than we were. But they didn’t have as good of a quarterback, and that was why we won.

So, I’m standing here today talking to you, and I’m interesting to talk to because of him. On a lot of levels, it’s probably true. I have a Super Bowl ring, and I got to play in the 10 winningest seasons in the history of the NFL up to that point. It was certainly because of him.

Q: How did you exactly learn the art of punting? Was it just kicking a ball in your backyard or something more?

Hunter: My dad was a punter, an old country guy, who I guess taught himself. He just knew what he was doing. He taught me how to punt when I was a kid. I grew up in Texas where everyone knows football. My dad was a great athlete and really the technique I used during my whole career was the technique he taught me when I was about 4 years old. So, it was just a very natural kind of thing.

Q: What’s next for you, Hunter?

Hunter: What’s next is a big album release for the Hunter Smith Band. We are withholding the actual release date, but it’s going to be later this summer. We’re going to drop it big! Just playing a lot of shows. We’re playing tonight in Lafayette. We’re playing next week in Fishers. We’re looking at a lot of stuff and have a lot of cool plans for the future.

While some former Colts players simply play football and seemingly fade away into relative obscurity, others like Smith choose to enrich the lives of those around them in their post-playing days.

Whether it’s in the form of good music or a genuinely great cause like All Pro Dads, Smith is clearly staying busy in his post-playing days and looking to make a positive impact by leaving his own lasting legacy.

Image Courtesy of

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