UConn coach Randy Edsall consoles punter Desi Cullen during a press conference Sunday afternoon in Storrs. Cullen spoke of his teammate Howard during the conference. (PATRICK RAYCRAFT / HARTFORD COURANT / October 18, 2009)

Courtesy of Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant are the words spoken by UConn Huskies punter Desi Cullen on the passing of his teammate Jasper Howard.

“First of all, I’m speaking on behalf of the team, not myself or any individual, but as a part of this family.

The team, since early this morning, we’ve been grieving quite a bit. I came here thinking that the toughest part was over and it was about being there for each other and moving on but obviously not. That just goes to show you the bond you create and that Jazz created and the impact he made. Not only on me but every individual in this program – the players that left like D-But (Darius Butler) and the players that just came in.

Before this morning, people may have looked at him as a teammate, as a friend but ever since he stepped foot on this campus he was our brother. A lot of guys on this team come from tougher backgrounds, that may not have the family support of other people but when you come here, invest the time and effort for as long as we do, you create a bond that can never be broken – that’s thicker than blood. That’s one of the things Jazz achieved while he was here, building a bond that will never be broken and never be forgotten.

Hearing the news that he’s a father breaks my heart. The idea that he will grow up without his father tears me apart, just to think what it would be like for that young child. But as Jazz looks down on us I can promise him and his family that son or daughter will have 105 uncles for the rest of its life. And we will do what it takes to not get through this but to grow from it because we’re not just going to get through it. We’re going to take something away from it, every single player on this team will take something away from this experience and we will all grow from this experience and become better men because of Jazz .”