Dave Jennings, an All-Pro punter who spent his entire National Football League career playing for the two New York teams before turning to broadcasting, has died at the age of 61.
Jennings, who had the chronic degenerative neurological disorder Parkinson’s disease since 1996, died this morning at his home in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, the Giants said in a news release. The specific cause of death wasn’t disclosed.
“Dave Jennings was one of the all-time great Giants,” John Mara, the team’s president, said in a statement. “He was a valued member of the Giants family for more than 30 years as a player and a broadcaster, and we were thrilled to include him in our Ring of Honor. More importantly, he was an outstanding person who battled his illness with rare courage and dignity. We will miss him dearly.”
David Tuthill Jennings was born on June 8, 1952, in New York City. After not playing football at Garden City High School on Long Island, Jennings attended St. Lawrence University, earning two letters in basketball and walking onto the football team as a punter. He became a three-time All-Conference selection and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics.
Jennings played from 1974 to 1984 for the Giants. He led the league with a 44.8 yards per punt average in 1980 and was named an All-Pro in 1979 and 1980. He holds the franchise record for punting yards with 38,792, and with 951 punts, 405 more than runner-up Sean Landeta.
“Dave could have participated in different sports, but he had punting down to a science,” Harry Carson, the Hall of Fame linebacker who was Jennings’s teammate, said in a statement.
“He could position the ball where he wanted it to go. He had a terrific sense of placement. He took his job very seriously, and he made it his own little science to punt the ball where it needed to be.”
Jennings played for the New York Jets from 1985 to 1987 and worked as a radio commentator for the team from 1988 to 2001. He joined the Giants’ radio booth in 2002 and was replaced after the 2007 season.
Jennings is survived by his sister, Susan Jennings, and her husband, Harley. Funeral plans weren’t disclosed. The family has asked that contributions in his memory be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.