FORT COLLINS - From the ball placement to the swing of the foot, Steve DeLine sees a reflection of himself in both of his sons.
“The Colorado kicking family," Steve says with a smile.
Aka-- the DeLine's.
The family's kicking tradition officially began in 1982 when Steve tried out for the Rams.
"When you’re a walk on, you can’t even get them to give you a pair of socks. And that’s probably purposeful," Steve recalled. "They want to make sure you’re serious. You know, you’re just not wasting anyone’s time.”
He was serious enough to earn a scholarship, racking up 200 points in a three year career. By his senior season in 1986, NFL scouts had taken notice and later that summer, Steve was a 7th round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers.
“I went from standing with my CSU team to standing with World Champion NFL team and you kinda went like, woah."
Steve's stint with the 49ers didn't last long and before the '86 season even began, Steve was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. After the 1987 NFL Strike, the young kicker would move back to the West Coast to play a year with the San Diego Chargers before rejoining the Eagles in 1989.
That same year, he and his wife, Karen, had welcomed a baby boy to the world.
“It was exciting but it was hard with a brand new baby and a wife to leave them all the time cause I was busy with football and traveling and they were there alone.”
Facing a tough choice, Steve ultimately decided to leave the game to focus on his family and his ranch.
Over the next seven years, two more kids would join big brother Ben- sister Erika and baby brother Joe.
With two sons running around, Steve introduced the boys to football. The duo played multiple positions at first but it wouldn't take long before the kicking gene surfaced in both Ben and Joe.
“Kicking is one of those things that just came naturally," Ben explained.
Originally a linebacker, Ben followed in his dad's exact footsteps.
“There’s really no where else where I’d rather gone then CSU," Ben said, remembering his times as a CSU ball boy. "When Sonny Lubick called me it was kinda like a dream come true.”
Ben kicked for the Rams from 2007-2011, putting the ball through the uprights more than 100 times.
Five years later, the youngest DeLine was on his way to CSU, bringing with him a new set of skills that his dad and brother never mastered.
“Growing up I was always kicking with them and I loved kicking, but then in high school I started really focusing on punting," Joe recalled. "I realized I enjoyed it a lot and so I just wanted to make my own path.”
Creating that path will take time for the redshirt freshman, who played his first career game vs. Hawai'i this season, but even when his time at CSU is over, the love of the kick will never disappear.
“We’ll kick all our lives, it’s in our blood, we love it.”
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