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Thursday, September 5, 2013

11th Hour Long Snapper Decisions, 2013

Among the recent NFL player competitions, two teams ended up releasing their incumbent veteran long snapper and will be going with a rookie this year.

In Jacksonville, it was probably closer to the 10th hour as they made the move for the next-to-last rather than the last round of cuts. They released Jeremy Cain, who was their snapper for the last four years.
“A little bit surprised because I’ve had a lot of success the last four seasons with the Jags,” Cain said in a phone interview. “And I thought I executed under pressure in all three preseason games. I feel like I did what I had to do to be the guy.... Whether somebody is there competing with you [in camp] or they have somebody on a list in the office, there’s always competition. I’ve always focused on my process and my results and I thought I really did the job to be the long snapper here....

It’s really tough because Jags fans have been great to me and I’m going to miss them. Also, my wife and I are both from South Florida so it’s been great being so close to our families. But it’s obviously time to move on.”
The odds were doubly stacked against him towards the end as the Jaguars had not one, but two rookie snappers in camp. Luke Ingram (Hawaii), whom they claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh at the beginning of August, was also released. That leaves Carson Tinker (Alabama), who was with the team since just after the draft, as the new starter.
“[Jeremy]’s a great snapper and a great guy. I’m thankful he was here and I was able to learn a lot from him. He’s a great guy, but they told me I had a chance to compete and I came here and really focused on what I can do. He kind of showed me the ropes. As far as long snapping goes, there’s not too much he can tell me. But in terms of being in the NFL and playing in the NFL, he helped me a lot.”
In San Francisco, the contrast in experience is much longer, as rookie Kevin McDermott (UCLA) won the job over Brian Jennings, the 49ers snapper for the past 13 years.
"It is rewarding to choose to come to a place and have it work out. I think this is a great organization. It helped that the 49ers are so successful. It made my decision easier when I chose to come here. I talked to (special teams) coach (Brad) Seely and he said going into this, it would be a competition. I would be rep for rep, and that's how it was. Coach Seely kept his word....

It is a challenge I embrace and I also understand most people’s reactions. Brian Jennings has been one of the best long snappers in the league for 13 years. And when you spend all of your years in one city, there’s a certain connection with the fan base. I understand he’s meant a lot to this city. And there’s a reason for that. He’s a great guy. I just hope I can come in and earn the trust of my teammates and the people of the city.”
After his release, Brian Jennings issued a statement in which he thanked the team owners, past and present coaches, and past and present team mates.
"Today, I feel as though I've been honorably discharged from the team I love. First, I'd like to thank...

 Currently, the team is full of men who are more than capable of not only carrying on a tradition of winning but bringing championships back to the 49ers. In a very real way I learned to be a man while with the 49ers -- molded through the preparation and performance of game day, completely tested while on and off the field this game, this team and this group of men made me who I am today. God has blessed me, protected me and guided my path. Now, as I move on, I have faith that God will continue to do for me what He has done my entire life. God bless you and God bless the San Francisco 49ers."

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