MATT: Alright, Reid! We appreciate you doing this with us. It’s not very often you see an interview with a NFL team’s Long Snapper, so I’m sure plenty of people will find this interesting. Let’s go ahead and dive right into the first question. I read the story of how you and your former coach Rex Ryan got to know each other through ‘anonymity’. In it, you state that being anonymous as a long snapper is a good thing. Can you expand on that a little bit?
REID: Yes, as a Long Snapper, your main job is to get the ball from your hands to the punter/holder’s hands as smoothly and consistently as possible. In the NFL, you may only get an opportunity 8-12 times a game depending on the flow of the game. Therefore, you have to be perfect on every rep so that each play can operate as smoothly as possible. Being anonymous is an important attribute a Long Snapper can have, because that usually means they are doing their job the right way.
MATT: That’s pretty impressive as far as an answer goes. You may have already answered part of this scenario, but I’ve got a feeling it will still be worth asking. Here it is: The game is on the line with a chance to win with a field goal. You’re coming out of the huddle and headed to the line. Can you take me through your process and what’s going through your mind?
REID: I will use an example from a game I played in during my junior year at LSU when we played Florida. We were kicking a 50 yard FG to win 30-27. Coach sent us out there on the field and the only thing that was going through my mind was “perfect execution.” I knew I needed to be perfect in that moment. All I heard in my mind was white noise and my sole focus was on the holder and his hand. Snap, hold, kick was good, and we won the game!
MATT: That’s fantastic! I went back and checked, and I actually watched that game on television! Excellent game. Now, Long Snappers certainly don’t get the name recognition that other positions get. That being said, leading up to you joining the NFL, was there a current NFL Long Snapper that you looked up to as far as his craft goes? If so, why him?
REID: Great question. One Long Snapper that I look up to, even though he wasn’t playing when I was training for the draft, is Pat Mannelly. Pat was drafted and played for 17 years with the Bears. I got the great opportunity to work with Pat last year in preparation for my Pro Day, etc. and he taught me a lot about snapping, blocking, how to be a pro, etc.
MATT: That’s awesome! Having any pro help you prepare for the draft is great, especially if said pro played in the league for an incredible 17 years! It’s great to hear you had help like that. Now, for the next question. Once again, you might have already mentioned it, but what’s your favorite memory from your time at LSU?
REID: My favorite memory is probably the play I described before, or the fake FG we ran vs. Florida my senior season to win the game
MATT: Ah, didn’t see THAT play live, but I do recall seeing the highlight for it! When did you realize that you had an opportunity to be in the NFL as a specialist?
REID: Once I started getting my college career on track and seeing all of the NFL talent that LSU was putting out every year, I realized that this was something that I could definitely take to the next level. I knew I had the confidence in myself to make that journey.
MATT: That makes sense. Previously in our conversation, we talked about how in a typical game you will have around 8-12 chances to get on the field. That being said, when you’re on the sidelines waiting for the next situation that calls upon your specialty, how are you occupying your time?
REID: Once the offense gets the ball, I will start getting warm again. I will usually snap 2-3 balls from 1st to 2nd down, and then I’ll get ready on 3rd down in case we have to punt.
MATT: Interesting! Similar to a kicker practicing warming up on the sideline! Any odd pregame rituals? Furthermore, have you SEEN any remotely odd pregame rituals from current/former teammates you’d like to share with us?
REID: Haha! No, I don’t have any odd pregame rituals. Maybe a lack of a pregame ritual is a ritual depending on your perspective. In my time at LSU and with Buffalo and preseason last year, I don’t recall any crazy pregame rituals. Most players will listen to music, stretch, etc.
MATT: So, it would seem that Hollywood movies really exaggerate football players’ pregame rituals! That’s good to know! With an obvious lack of roster spots for long snappers in the NFL, what advice would you give Long Snapping prospects currently playing in college that have aspirations to play in the pros? Since you somewhat recently went through it yourself!
REID: Yes, that is true about movies. The advice I would give Long Snappers that are going through the NFL process is three parts. One, always give your best effort. You never know who is watching and your film is seen by everyone in the NFL. Secondly, first impressions are everything. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Finally, your body is your responsibility. Diet, working out, recovery, whatever it may be, do what you need to do to be at your best when your best is needed.
MATT: Now, let’s get back on the subject of your rookie season. You occasionally hear about vets doing some friendly hazing towards the rookies of their team. Did you have any experience such as that? Perhaps, in regards to the other special teams players?
REID: No, I didn’t experience any hazing. The other special teams guys took it pretty easy on me last year.
MATT: That’s good to hear! Granted, most of the “hazing” you hear about, if you’d like to call it that, would be a rookie having to pay for dinner for all the other players at his position(s). Well, I think this brings us to our final question! We’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Being a smaller sports site, we certainly appreciate your time and effort! Now, for the final question itself: If there were a sport you could play for a living besides football, what would it be and why?
REID: If I didn’t play football, I would probably play baseball or soccer. I’m a huge fan of both sports. Gave up baseball to stick with football, and I watch soccer multiple times per week!
MATT: That’s awesome! Well, I’m glad your decision to stick with football worked out so well! Well, as I mentioned beforehand, this brings us to the end of this interview! Once again, we are very grateful to get to speak to you. Perhaps, after the end of training camp, we could get together with you again! Regardless, we wish you nothing but the best in regards to this upcoming season. Enjoy the rest of your offseason, Reid! Cheers.
REID: I appreciate it, man. More than happy to help out!