Lovato Wants to Create his Own Legacy
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The popular thing isn't always the right thing.
That, more than anything, describes why long snapper Jon Dorenbos is no longer a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
From Howie Roseman's standpoint, the Eagles got 13 years younger at the position, saved a little ($825,000) in salary-cap space and got a future asset, a seventh-round pick in 2019, for a guy who wouldn't have been here on Saturday anyway.
What that doesn't take into account, however, is the off-the-field popularity of Dorenbos, a transcendent personality who was loved by his community.
A trade of a long snapper at any time is a blip in most cities but in this instance, even the owner chimed in and Roseman basically invited Dorenbos back to the organization he spent the last decade-plus in after his playing career ends.
Rick Lovato, an Old Dominion product, and New Jersey native, took over for Dorenbos during the final three games of the 2016 season when the latter suffered a wrist injury.
He has played in seven career NFL games while Dorenbos has toiled in 162 as a member of the Eagles but everyone falls victim to Father Time and the younger option was consistently better in training camp, according to an NFL source.
The strangest part of all of this, however, came after practice Tuesday when Lovato claimed that he had only been snapping to rookie Cameron Johnston throughout the summer, both as a punter and a holder.
That could mean a couple of things: the Eagles made the decision to move on from Dorenbos very recently or that veteran punter Donnie Jones could also be in danger of losing his roster spot.
Jones, however, has two years left on his deal after this season and releasing him now would create $1.375M of dead money, more than was gained in the Dorenbos deal.
"It's been awhile since [Donnie and I] worked together because we haven't taken any reps together," Lovato said. "I feel like we can get back on that pace quickly because we've been together before."
The tough part for Lovato, though, isn't the mechanics of the job, it's the shadow Dorenbos created as one of the most beloved members of the entire Philadelphia sports community.
"I have to go in and do my job," Lovato said. "I'm not trying to take anything away from anyone else. I just want to come in and create my legacy and go forward with my career."
The best-case scenario for Lovato moving forward is not be noticed again.
That will mean he's doing his job.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen