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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Mesko: Competition keeps us on toes

By Mike Reiss

Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko was a guest on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s "Toucher and Rich" program on Wednesday morning, promoting the upcoming Zolioke event.

One of the topics that Mesko discussed was facing competition for the first time in his four-year Patriots tenure, as rookie Ryan Allen – a two-time Ray Guy Award winner signed as a free agent out of Louisiana Tech – is also with the club.

“I’m a pretty friendly personality. I will talk [to him], but at the same time we both understand it’s business and make the best of healthy competition,” Mesko said on the program. “We know it’s going to get us both better at the same time. We may say we don’t like competition, but deep down inside we like it because it gets us better and keeps us on our toes.”

In 60 attempts, Mesko ranked 28th in the NFL last season in punting average (43.1) and 24th in net punting (37.9). He had six touchbacks and 28 punts inside the 20.

Mesko remains the strong favorite to win the punting job in 2013 (he's also the team's holder on field goals and extra points), but one factor the Patriots might be considering is that he is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the season. Mesko is scheduled to earn $1.3 million this season, while Allen would earn the minimum $405,000 if he is on the active roster.

When asked his reaction to the Patriots signing Allen, Mesko responded by saying that he keeps his focus inward.

“It’s what can I control besides myself? And what can I control [with] what happens to the ball down the field? What I can control is my technique,” he said.  “That’s all I can work on, do my work in the weight room, and do all the running necessary to be in top shape, and really at the end of the day, it’s what I control. I don’t worry about anything else.”