Hunt brings rare potential and an intriguing personal story to Bengals plans for continued improvement of defense ... Has played in six games, including the last five ... Native of Estonia, in northern Europe, he earned international honors as a track thrower (discus, shot and hammer) before coming to U.S. on an SMU track scholarship ... When SMU track program disbanded, he joined the football team and became an immediate factor, despite lacking any gridiron experience ... Used his superior height and agility to block 17 career placekicks, including an NCAA-record 10 blocked FGs ... Although still a work in progress, Hunt showed continuous improvement in base defense, closing career with 16.5 sacks.
2013 HIGHLIGHTS: Has played in five games (Games 5 and 8-12), with two tackles and two QB pressures ... Inactive (coach's decision) for Games 1-4 and 6-7 ... Made NFL debut in Game 5, Oct. 6 vs. New England, and was credited by coaches with two QB pressures … Had one tackle, the first of his career, Oct. 27 vs. Jets ... One tackle Nov. 17 vs. Cleveland ... Played in all four preseason games, recording 10 tackles and one sack.
CAREER TRANSACTIONS: Selected by Cincinnati in second round of 2013 NFL Draft (53rd overall) ... Signed with Bengals on 5-22-13.
COACH MIKE ZIMMER SAYS: “We’re not counting on Margus to come in and be a starter right away. But long term, we were looking for a guy that we can hit a home run on, and he has that potential. He plays hard, he can run like a deer, and he’s got great strength.”
COLLEGE HIGHLIGHTS: Played four seasons (2009-12) at SMU, appearing in 53 games with 27 starts ... In addition to 16.5 sacks, he had 28.0 tackles-for-loss on rushing plays ... His 17 blocked kicks rank second-most in NCAA history, and his 10 blocks of FG attempts set NCAA mark, surpassing total of eight set by James Ferebee of New Mexico State from 1978-81 ... Key player in SMU’s return to football success, playing on bowl teams in all four of his seasons, with three wins. 2012—Started 12 games at DE and capped his career with MVP honors in Sheraton Hawaii Bowl ... In 43-10 Hawaii Bowl rout of Fresno State, had two sacks, three tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles (Mustangs recovered both) ... Led team in sacks (8.0), nearly doubling his 8.5 total from his first three seasons ... Blocked three kicks (two FGs and one PAT) ... First-team All-Conference USA selection, and played in Senior Bowl. 2011—Played in every game for 8-5 SMU bowl team ... Dominant force in BBVA Compass Bowl win over Pittsburgh, with three sacks for minus-27 yards ... Used mostly as a situational rusher and was credited with only two starts ... Blocked four kicks (two FGs and two PATs). 2010—Posted career-best 45 tackles as a sophomore ... Played in all 14 games and started 13 ... Blocked FGs vs. Texas Tech and Tulsa, and blocked a PAT vs. Army in Armed Forces Bowl. 2009—Played in 13 games in reserve role as 22-year-old freshman, and set NCAA freshman record with seven blocked kicks (four FGs and three PATs) ... Fell one short of NCAA season record for blocked kicks by any player, a mark shared by former Bengals LB James Francis during his Baylor career.
TRACK AND FIELD ACCOMPLISHMENTS: In 2006, at age 18, won Estonia’s first two gold medals in the World Junior Track and Field Championships, with a discus throw of 67.32 meters and a shot put of 20.53 meters ... First athlete in event’s history to win gold medals in both discus and shot ... Qualified four times (2003-06) for World Junior Championships, and in 2005, he won gold medal in European Junior Championships with discus throw of 62.19 meters.
HUNT ON FANS BACK HOME: “I think (Estonians) are really picking up on this. When I started playing football, they were ticked that I stopped doing track and field. But it turned out for the best, and now they’re really changing their minds. I think they realize this can really be something extraordinary, and that if I’m successful, it can be really beneficial to the nation. American football is becoming more global, and people are seeing the bigger picture.”
PERSONAL: Hometown is Karksi-Nuia, Estonia ... Business major at SMU ... Has taken piano lessons, and plans to continue ... First name is pronounced “MAR-guss.”
In a week the NFL mourned the loss of Deacon Jones, one of the game's first monstrously athletic pass rushers that offered a window to the next era, the Bengals are watching their crew of 21st-century sleek defensive ends help rookie Margus Hunt adjust to the league in the voluntary field practices (OTAs).
The Bengals have signed defensive end Margus Hunt of Southern Methodist, one of their two second-round selections in the 2013 NFL Draft.
As the Bengals rookies walked off the field after their final practice of minicamp Sunday morning, defensive end Margus Hunt caught defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's eye and concealed his smile as easily as his 6-8 frame.
In 2006 it appeared that Margus Hunt was on his way to Olympic gold. The then-19-year-old became the first athlete in history to win both the shot put and discus in the same year at the World Junior Championships.
Margus Hunt from Estonia gets the rookie treatment from his Bengals teammates, who compare him to Ivan Drago from "Rocky IV" in this exclusive clip from "Hard Knocks."