The life of a long snapper can be a long and prosperous one in the NFL as long as you can remain mostly unnoticed on game day.
Mike Bartrum, for example, spent 10 seasons in the NFL as a long snapper, including seven seasons with the Eagles.
Now, Jon Dorenbos has a chance to hold down the job for the same amount of time. Thanks to his work in his first full season with the Eagles, Dorenbos received a five-year extension from the team today.
“Jon has been a very good long snapper for us over the last year and a half,” Eagles general manager Tom Heckert said. “Good, consistent long snappers are hard to find and we wanted to shore up that position for the next several years. He has worked very well with David Akers and Sav Rocca and we’re happy to have him back.”
Dorenbos, 27, joined the Eagles late last November after Bartrum suffered a career-ending neck injury that ended his 119-game streak as the team’s long snapper. Bartrum, oddly enough, was at practice Thursday to renew some old acquaintances.
Bartrum was so consistent as a long snapper that he was a tough act to follow, but Dorenbos has had a solid season in the role.
“I’ve been happy,” he said. “There is a snap here and there that I would like to take back, but nothing bad came of it. They weren’t too bad. I definitely feel like mentally the game has slowed down. I keep my heart rate down and that, for a specialist, is a key.”
Dorenbos, who moonlights as a professional magician, was happy to get the first long-term extension of his career and is hoping he can duplicate what Bartrum did for the Eagles.
“This is the first time I’ve had security,” said Dorenbos, who had previous stints as a long snapper with Buffalo and Tennessee. “I have said this many times: Bartrum is the man. I watched him when I first came into the league ... there is no better person to follow than Bartrum. They had seven or eight good years, and hopefully this is the first year for us. Every team would like to have that kind of consistency in the kicking game."
Dorenbos, until today, was one of 10 Eagles eligible for free agency after the season. The remaining nine: tight end L.J. Smith, fullback Thomas Tapeh, cornerbacks Joselio Hanson and William James, returner Reno Mahe, defensive end Jerome McDougle, safety J.R. Reed and defensive tackles Kimo von Oelhoffen and Ian Scott. Reed and Hanson can become restricted free agents.
The other seven can become unrestricted free agents. Free agency begins March 1.