If you don’t know the story of Philadelphia Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos, you should take a few minutes and learn it.
“I’ll tell you what,” Dorenbos said on The MoJo Show. “Of all the superstars that have been on your show, I’m sure your fans are thrilled that the long snapper’s calling.”
If they weren’t thrilled at the start, they sure were by the end.
Dorenbos, a long snapper in his senior year of high school, received exactly zero college scholarship offers. He played outside linebacker at a junior college in California before getting an opportunity to long-snap at the University of Texas-El Paso.
“I knew I could do it,” Dorenbos said. “I knew i could play at that level. I knew I had the ability and the heart. It got me in the door at UTEP. I wouldn’t have picked any other school. I still love the city of El Paso. I’m proud to be a Minor.”
Dorenbos went undrafted in 2003 but was picked up by the Bills, for whom he played two seasons. He spent two seasons with the Titans, joined the Eagles in 2006 and has been there ever since.
“It’s been a wild ride,” said Dorenbos, 34. “Twelve years later, I’m still putting pads on at 34. I’m thankful every day.”
Dorenbos has seen the league change a great deal since his rookie season.
“When I was a rookie coming in, I had to gain a lot of weight because it was about size and power,” he said. “Now it’s about speed and quickness, so I’ve kind of trimmed down a little bit. The rules have changed, so instead of getting this huge big guy who would try to run us over . . . it’s a smaller, quicker guy trying to get by you – and (it’s) harder to block a guy like that than a big guy (trying to run over you).”
“That’s how the game’s changed,” Dorenbos continued. “I love the position. I love being kind of the anonymous player, but I love the (idea of) going out and doing my job (and) having one shot. I got into magic when I was a kid, and it’s very similar. I love the repetition of a move in magic. I love the . . . search (for) that perfect repetition. And you know what? Most of the time, we’ll never get that perfect repetition, but that journey in search of it is so addicting to me.”
“I love after games when teammates just come up and give me the fist – because . . . all of us did our job. It doesn’t matter what it was. It doesn’t matter how cool you are, how famous you are. Every one of us in this locker room has the most respect for one another to just do your job. It’s a really cool feeling when teammates come up to you. It’ all about just doing our job to get a win.”
Dorenbos said life in the NFL can be a wonderful thing. You’re surrounded by some of the greatest athletes in the world, everyone is a little kid at heart (even the coaches), and everyone is very adaptive given how often they – or their teammates – switch teams and bounce around the league.
“We are given the greatest social structure you can have,” Dorenbos said. “You make a good living – so you can go do things – but you’re around a bunch of guys you instantly get along with because you’re there to achieve a common goal. When I’m done playing, I’m going to miss the camaraderie. I’m going to miss being in the locker room and the practical jokes and just laughing. I’m going to miss laughing. For people out there who don’t laugh at your job, you should – because laughter heals. Laughter, even in the worst time in life, gives clarity and makes you think clearer.”
Dorenbos knows from experience. When he was 12 years old, his father murdered his mother and was sent to prison. Dorenbos was sent to a foster home and underwent “intense” therapy.
“I’ll tell you what I learned,” Dorenbos said. “Forgiveness in life is nothing more than something that I view as internal within us. I’ve met a lot of people and they can’t forgive people because they feel like that other person won – that that other person one-upped them. Well, in my mind, forgiveness is nothing more than getting rid of that hate in your own life that’s cluttering your day and that’s just a burden on you. I learned how to forgive. I forgive my dad.”
Dorenbos, who does not have a relationship with his father, simply didn’t want to harbor anger toward him for the rest of his live. So he doesn’t.
“That was holding me down,” Dorenbos said. “As soon as I let that go, honesty, that’s when life started.”