Silvi: Long snappers should be invisible

An off day just three days into training camp? Somewhere Mike Holmgren and his band of veteran players have to be wondering what that would have been like.

The closest those teams ever came to a day off was a "special teams" practice during the afternoon session of two-a-days. A little light running on kick coverage, some punt team work, kick a few field goals and that's a wrap.

Nowadays, the special teams work usually gets done before practice. The Hawks' special teams will have to get to know each other over the next few weeks. I'm talking about the key members of those teams – the punter, the kicker and the long snapper.

Punter Jon Ryan is entering his 12th NFL season, 10th with the Seahawks. New placekicker Blair Walsh takes over for Steven Hauschka who's now with Buffalo. Then there's long snapper Tyler Ott who's never played a full season in the NFL since graduating from Harvard in 2014.

The team cut fellow long snapper Nolan Frese on Wednesday. He played in every game last season for the Hawks before an ankle injury in week 17 ended his season, forcing the team to sign Ott for their two playoff games against the Lions and the Falcons.

Now I know, writing about long snappers doesn't exactly spike the excitement meter. It's one of those positions you play and hope you never get noticed. Just snap the ball to the holder and block. The only time you ever get noticed is if you fire a snap over the holder's head, send him a worm burner or air mail that pigskin past the punter. So while most players will spend Seahawks training camp doing everything they can to get noticed, the long snapper wants to remain invisible. That is Ott's mission.

Ott graduated from Harvard with an economics degree, but his business in the NFL hasn't generated an economic boon. A Harvard grad with an economics degree should have no problem getting a job outside of football, but it's pretty clear Ott's not ready to count numbers in a cubicle.

Give this guy credit. He's the model of persistence. In 2014, the Patriots cut him in the preseason. In 2015, the Rams did the same. He spent some time with the Giants and Bengals over the last two years, before winding up in Seattle, which might finally be his best chance for a steady paycheck. According to Spotrac, Ott has earned a total of $165,000 chasing his NFL dream over the last three years. If he makes the Seahawks roster, he's scheduled to make $540,000 for the season.

Why do I continue to ramble on about a long snapper? Maybe because no team realizes the importance of this position more than the Seahawks, who rifled through four long snappers last year alone.

So Tyler Ott, I know it's been a few years since you sang "10,000 Men of Harvard" after each of your college football victories, but here's hoping you're the one man who can make it through 17 weeks and a few more into the postseason. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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