Sports

Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko embracing challenge from rookie Ryan Allen

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Zoltan Mesko #14 of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 30, 2012 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Nearly half of Zoltan Mesko’s punts in 2012 were downed inside the 20; only two other full-time punters had a better percentage.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

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FOXBOROUGH — If Zoltan Mesko is worried that the rookie punter the Patriots signed in the spring is still hanging around, he isn’t showing it.

New England signed Ryan Allen, a two-time Ray Guy Award winner at Louisiana Tech, shortly after this year’s draft.

It isn’t unusual to bring in challengers, but Allen is still on the field, still in the locker room and meeting rooms, and still a threat to Mesko, who is entering his fourth season with the Patriots.

“No,” Mesko said Monday when asked if he’s nervous. “Honestly, it’s healthy competition. I know I’ll be better off from it, regardless of if I’ll be here or not. Honestly. That’s honest, true opinion. I haven’t been in this situation, I’m always pushing myself and I control the controllables.’’

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