Colton Schmidt holding his own in battle to remain Bills’ punter

PITTSFORD — Incumbent Colton Schmidt figured to get a strong push for the Buffalo Bills’ punting job from rookie Austin Rehkow.

The battle is far from over, but so far, Schmidt is holding his own during training-camp practices at St. John Fisher College.

“I think they’re both doing well,” special-teams coordinator Danny Crossman said Wednesday. “Obviously, Colton’s had two outstanding days.”

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Schmidt is looking to rebound after the Bills ranked 30th in net punting average in 2016 (38.1 yards), down from seventh the year before (41.3).

“Austin’s done a very nice job,” Crossman said. “But as we all know, we’ve got a long way to go in this process.”

In the spring, Rehkow, an undrafted free-agent signee from Idaho, did some place-kicking. He was thought to be competing with Stephen Hauschka, a major free-agent signing from the Seattle Seahawks, to fill that role.

Rehkow will continue to do some place-kicking this summer, but his primary focus will be on punts.

“His main purpose here is competition as the punter,” Crossman said of Rehkow. “The ability he has to do all three (punting, place-kicking and kickoffs) in training camp with as much work as we’re trying to get done — especially situationally when that stuff ties together — his ability to do everything really plays to our benefit, which is why he’s going to get work at all three both in practice and in (preseason) games.”

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