By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and www.Facebook.com/CoachMcCartan)
NORTH CALDWELL, N.J.- In March, Zak DeOssie, two-time Super Bowl winning New York Giant, inked a one-year deal to remain with the team through the 2019-2020 season. Obviously excited, he took to Twitter to shout the news to his nearly eleven thousand followers. Almost half of them took the time to punch the ‘like’ button on the tweet.
Officially signed on for another year with the New York Football @Giants. LET’S GO BIG BLUE!
— Zak DeOssie (@zdeossie) March 19, 2019
Long snappers rarely garner the love and respect from their fanbases that DeOssie does from the Giants’ faithful. Speaking to me at Aldrick Rosas’ inaugural specialist camp, DeOssie explained to the campers that “every team needs one. Offenses change, defenses change, but every team needs a snapper.”
In 2007, with the 116th pick in the NFL Draft, the Giants selected the young linebacker from Brown University: the only Ivy League Combine invitee. And so, at thirty-five years of age, the second-longest tenured Giants player (Eli Manning is the longest), will lace up his cleats for at least one more season: his thirteenth. “The dream continues. I was just happy to get a roster spot back then and happy to still be here. As you progress over the years, you just feel very fortunate, very lucky to be a part of it all. I love the organization, I love this area. I just want to keep this dream alive as long as they’ll have me. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Through a long (he has played for four of the seventeen Giants head coaches) and storied career (two-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion), DeOssie pointed to one memory, in particular, that he will cherish forever. As he told me: “We were on the last drive of [my] rookie year Super Bowl and Tom Brady had the ball and my dad snuck onto the sidelines. I’m holding hands with my teammates and we’re praying and I hear: ‘psst, psst, Zak!’. I turn around and my dad’s whispering to me. I’m like ‘DAD, what are you doing?!” He says [excitedly], ‘Zak, I think you guys are going to win!’ I said, ‘Dad, stop! be quiet, you’ll jinx us’. But, he was right and we hugged it out and cried a lot that day and it was a fantastic moment.”
“[Long snapping is] a family business, it feels like.” Zak’s dad Steve DeOssie invented position of long snapper, in a way. For the first time in history, as Steve invented, the long snapper accounted for a defender, allowing a gunner to fly down field to make the tackle on the returner.
In the twilight of his career, DeOssie, who has only missed four games in his entire career, has already begun to explore life beyond football, which has been part of his life literally since he was born. Sometimes, stepping away from the game is difficult for players. For DeOssie and his Ivy League education, he has “been working with Goldman Sachs for two years now, in the private wealth division.”
Though his contingency plan seems to be in place, DeOssie is not ready to stop living the dream. “I’m excited for the next chapter in my life when that day happens. It’s up to the football Gods, then I’ll look forward to praying to the asset allocation Gods after that.”
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