Player Spotlight: Donte “Pac-Man” Turner

donte pac man turner

By Sean Scales

August 8, 2013 (San Bernardino, CA) – Fourth quarter with 14 seconds remaining – Eagles Punt Returner DeSean Jackson awaits a punt from Giants Punter Matt Hodge on fourth down, with the scored tied at 31 apiece. Millions of Americans sit anxiously with their eyes glued to the television, while thousands of fans roar inside the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. “There is absolutely no way Hodge punts a returnable kick to possibly the most dangerous return man in the NFL, right? At least that’s what head Coach Tom Coughlin, of the New York Giants thought. Ball is snapped and Hodge hangs a booming kick, forcing Jackson to receive the ball on his own 35-yard line. Every viewer in America held their breath as we witnessed Jackson weave through a wave of defenders, race down the sideline, and enter the record books as the first player to end an NFL football game on a punt return.

That moment in which we all sat in silence, mouths left wide open, and jaws dropped, flabbergasted at what just happened, is the exact same expression one exhibits whenever Donte “Pac-Man” Turner, of the California Raiders, touches the ball.

A God-given talent is obviously something one can never train to obtain. You are either born with it, or you admire those who possess it. Turner is a prime example of one of those individuals who were definitely blessed with this gift. Standing at 5’11’’- 190 pounds, Turner amazes audiences by his ability to gash the field, or “eat up the white lines, as Pac-Man does white dots”, hence the nickname.

Joining the defending UFAL 2012 Championship Raiders back in 2010, Turner’s quietness has allowed him fly under the radar on the message boards, but his play on the field has been heard at record breaking volumes. Labeled as an ATH, in this preseason alone, Turner has recorded six interceptions, three of which have been returned for touchdowns. Of those three, two came against the North County Cobras in a double overtime thriller. Turner returned the first one for a touchdown, sending the game into its first overtime. He then ended the competition on another interception return, this one coming in the second overtime, leaving the fans in attendance in complete amazement.

On top of being a defensive ball hawk, Turner is most praised for his ability to be a return threat. In three games this preseason, Turner has recorded both, a 99-yard punt return for a touchdown, as well as a 102-yard kick-off return for a touchdown. The decision to ever kick Turner a returnable ball should never be in question. And if it does, the answer is “absolutely not!”

Turner and the Raiders have begun their 2013 season with a perfect start, resulting in their team being 3-0. Listed as one of the more premier teams in Southern California, the Raiders plan to continue their winning streak, especially with the aide of Turner. Recently voted by his peers, the Valley College Alum leads all candidates to date, as the 2013 Preseason MVP.

Words to the wise – it’s best for teams to alert themselves of Turners capabilities now, because last thing you want to do is find out in person, by then, it’s too late.

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