Nick Folk balancing competition with impending birth of twins
Jets kicker Nick Folk is not only engaged in a kicking competition with veteran Billy Cundiff, he is also set to welcome two new additions to his family with his wife due to give birth at any time. It leaves him physically in upstate New York for training camp but with his heart and mind 190 miles away in New Jersey.
Folk and his wife Julianne will welcome twin boys, with the family’s doctor eyeing sometime in the middle of August as the likely due date. For a football player not only in training camp but fighting for his job, he realizes he has to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if she should suddenly go into labor.
Last week, Folk spoke with head coach Rex Ryan, special teams coach Ben Kotwica and general manager John Idzik to give them an update.
“Rex is a big family guy, [and] so is John Idzik from what I’ve heard,” Folk told Metro. “My wife has [Director of Player Development] Dave Szott’s number and Laurie Young, Rex’s assistant, so she has plenty of ways to get in contact with people and that’s for when we’re on the field. Other than that, I will have my phone on me, even in meetings. It won’t be on ringer but if I have to run out to take a call, I can.”
Folk says his wife is 35 weeks pregnant and is going to the doctor on a weekly basis. They don’t anticipate her going into labor at any point while her husband is up at training camp but they do have contingency plans in place.
With his wife coming up this weekend for the Green and White scrimmage, there is a small chance she could give birth while away from their New Jersey home. If that’s the case, the couple plans to have their twins in nearby Syracuse, N.Y., or “if the contractions are hours apart, we could drive back to our hospital in New Jersey where we would like to have the boys.”
He has circled Detroit on Aug. 9, the Jets’ first preseason game, as a possible “blip” in their plans.
“Detroit, being away there, could be a problem. We will play that as it happens. My wife doesn’t think it will be that early so we should be OK,” Folk said. “If we are up in Cortland, I will drive down for the night or however long it takes. Twins could take longer to be delivered. I think most of the guys are pretty excited for me and my wife; we’re pretty family oriented. It is a pretty exciting time for me personally and professionally.”
It is a stressful time for Folk, balancing his NFL future with his desire to be with Julianne.
“She’s great, I love her to death,” Folk said. “I’m happy that she said yes when I proposed to her.”
With the Jets signing Cundiff last week, there is a veteran on the 90-man roster who has kicked at the NFL level and brings legitimate competition.
As Folk enters his fourth year with the Jets, he is coming off one of his best seasons in the NFL. In 2012, he connected on 21 of his 27 field-goal attempts (included among those misses are three times the line let him down and he was blocked). He made all 30 of his point-after attempts.
Despite what seemed to be a coming of age year, Folk wasn’t deterred by the addition of Cundiff to the roster.
“I think that’s been John Idzik’s motto since Day 1: competition. I’ve been expecting that since I re-signed here and they told me they’re going to find the best competition for me. I feel like I kicked really well in OTAs and minicamp, probably my best one since I’ve been with the Jets,” Folk said. “I think they wanted to push it to another level to get it going. Ben has been good, open talking about — Rex too. I’ve known Billy for a while now at one of my buddy’s weddings. He’s a great guy, I wish him the best, but it is going to be a good battle this year. It might be overshadowed by some other battles we have but it should be a good one outright.”
There might be a kicking competition of Folk’s own doing someday in his household with his twins going at it very soon.
“My wife says they’re kicking a lot,” Folk said. “So maybe a kicker and a punter are in there.”
“Or maybe two kickers.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for updates and photos from training camp.