Chris Kluwe has always taken pride in not being defined by being a football player. He plays in a band, is a voracious reader and throws himself into civil rights discussions. So it's no surprise the pointed words from his coach, Mike Priefer, were met with a shrug.
"All I can do is go out and punt to the best of my ability each game, and that's how I've always approached things," Kluwe wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "If the team ever wants to replace me, they will; I'm under no delusions as to how this business operates. We all get cut eventually."
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he has had conversations with Kluwe about buckling down as the games get more important.
"We've had some conversations, Chris and I," Frazier said. "Right now he knows the focus has to be on the St. Louis Rams. He's assured me that's where his focus is and we just have to keep moving forward."
At least one person is thankful that Kluwe has been willing to speak up.
Tracy Call, a Minneapolis advertising executive, helped recruit Kluwe into activism against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage that Minnesota voters defeated last month. She formed a political group — Minnesotans for Equality — that paid to air a radio commercial where Kluwe urged defeat of the amendment.
"Chris always made it very clear there were times when we could not contact him, including Saturdays and game days," Call said. "When he was on the field, his mind was on the field. He's very focused and I think it's ridiculous to think otherwise just because he expresses opinions."
Call gave Kluwe huge credit for helping defeat the amendment.
"His message really hit home for a lot of people, a lot of people in the middle who didn't ever tune in on this issue before," Call said. "Frankly, I think we should have a parade for him."