Eagles

New Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato hoping for anonymity

New Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato hoping for anonymity

It was an open competition. Even if nobody realized it.

Jon Dorenbos, a two-time Pro Bowl long snapper, a veteran of 14 seasons, an Eagle for over a decade, vs. Rick Lovato, who has played seven games for four teams since graduating from Old Dominion.

One guy who's a world-renowned magician and TV superstar vs. another guy you probably never heard of before Monday evening.

Turns out it was an open competition. And Lovato learned Monday night that he's the winner.

"My special teams coach (Dave Fipp) said he wanted us to go into training camp as if this was a competition and it was," Lovato said Tuesday.

"I just wanted to go in with my head down, do my job, not try to be noticeable or anything like that. But I really hold myself to a high standard, so I wanted to win this job. And I felt like I did that, and I'm just really happy with how it happened."

Lovato, 24, was declared the winner of the Eagles' long-snapping competition when the Eagles shipped Dorenbos to the Saints Monday evening for a 2019 seventh-round pick.

Lovato played two games for the Packers in 2015 and then two games with the Redskins in 2016 and three more with the Eagles last year when Dorenbos was hurt.

"Rick has done a nice job, even going back to last season when he came in late in the season and filled in for us last year," head coach Doug Pederson said.

"Competition makes everybody better. At the end of the day, [we] felt like he was in a good position to help our football team."

Dorenbos has snapped in 201 games and is one of 18 players still active in the NFL that was also playing in 2003.

"Jon was such a big mentor for me," Lovato said. "He helped me here, he helped me develop into the snapper that I am.

"Being a guy going into his third year, he's been a guy to learn from. I haven't really experienced it like he has. I don't want to take anything away from him because he really is a great guy and I liked having him as a mentor."

Dorenbos replaced injured Mike Bartrum midway through the 2006 season and with the exception of three games late last year, he was the long snapper for punts and kicks for a decade.

His departure leaves Brent Celek as the only player left on the Eagles' roster who played in a postseason victory in an Eagles uniform.

"I'm not necessarily trying to fill his shoes because he did such a good job here," Lovato said. "Honestly, there's no taking anything away from him.

"So I just want to come in here and do my job and be unnoticed. He really was such a big part of this city, this organization, what he did in this locker room. And I felt that the moment I met him when I came in here last year. I just want to come in here and do my job and help this team win."

Lovato grew up in Central Jersey and attended Middletown South High School before spending four years at Old Dominion.

When training camp began, he might have been one of the biggest longshots on the 90-man roster.

Now, he's an Eagle, and as a first-year pro, he'll earn $540,000 this year if he stays with the team all year.

Brandon Graham, now one of only seven Eagles who's been here since the Andy Reid Era, said he was "shocked but not surprised" that Dorenbos was shipped.

"I was kind of shocked because he's been here so long," Graham said. "But ... the long snapper, it was a good competition. And I think [Lovato] probably got the better end of it.

"Dorenbos came off a wrist injury. I know things were a little different [for him] because he had to rehab and do a lot of things. I think overall they know what type of guy [Lovato] is and it just shows how much of a business this is.

"Because Dorenbos is a great guy, you'd want him to be here as long as he can. But at the end of the day, it's all about competition and it sucks when you have a guy that's been here a long time that has to go."

When a receiver or a cornerback is struggling, everybody can see it. When a long snapper is struggling?

Nobody knew.

"It was just consistency," Lovato said. "That's the main thing in this game, just being as consistent as possible, having nice velocity on my snaps, good accuracy on my field goals, good protection on punts.

"I feel like I got a lot better at that through this whole offseason and training camp. But it was just something that I had to keep doing and keep my head down and go at it 100 miles per hour."

Pederson, who goes back to 2009 with Dorenbos, said he had a long talk with the veteran long snapper Monday evening.

"We talked and kind of reminisced a little bit," he said. "I just told him how much I appreciated him, how much I loved him and what he's done for not only this organization but this city and wished him well."

Hudrick's 2018 NFL mock draft 1.0

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USA Today Images

Hudrick's 2018 NFL mock draft 1.0

Mock draft season is here. The Super Bowl Champion Eagles will hold the No. 32 overall pick. Here is Paul Hudrick's mock draft 1.0 to get you ready for the 2018 NFL draft in Arlington, Texas. 

1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC (6-4/220)
Darnold has work to do mechanically, but his intangibles are off the charts. Mentally and as a leader, he has what it takes to make it in Cleveland. He'd benefit from watching behind DeShon Kizer to start the season.

2. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA (6-4/218)
If it were me, Rosen is the guy if I'm taking at quarterback. His footwork and toughness in the pocket are second to none in this draft. There are questions about his maturity, but moments like this make me believe he'll be just fine.

3. Indianapolis Colts – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State (6-4/275)
The Colts need an impact pass rusher and Chubb is the best there is in this draft. He's also a nasty customer, something Indy could use a little more of.

4. Cleveland Browns (via Houston Texans) – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State (5-11/223)
You already drafted your future franchise QB, now give him a serious weapon to work with. Sure, there are things Barkley needs to improve on, but he has the potential to be a perennial All-Pro.

5. Denver Broncos – Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame (6-5/329)
With Darnold and Rosen gone, the Broncos pick the best offensive lineman in the draft. Of all the players in the draft, Nelson seems like the most can't-miss prospect. He has the potential to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

6. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (6-1/220)
This is where things get interesting. You might look at Mayfield and think his antics and off-the-field issues wouldn't fly in New York. I look at it like this: What prospect has dealt with more scrutiny over the past year than Mayfield? I see a Kirk Cousins-like QB with a little more attitude.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama (6-1/201)
This is a perfect fit. Fitzpatrick is a versatile DB who will help fix the Bucs' biggest flaw. Fitzpatrick can cover, has excellent range and he's physical. Easily the best safety in this draft.

8. Chicago Bears – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama (6-1/190)
When mock drafts first started coming out, Ridley wasn't regarded as a top-10 pick. I have no idea why. This guy has it all. He's an explosive and precise route runner who can be effective catching balls all over the field. He's a true No. 1 receiver, which the Bears desperately need.

9/10. Oakland Raiders (coin flip) – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia (6-1/225)
Smith earned being a top-10 pick after his play during the CFP. He's a monster. He plays sideline-to-sideline and will be a welcome addition to a Raiders' defense that has some pieces but has struggled.

9/10. San Francisco 49ers (coin flip) – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa (6-1/192)
Jackson fits the mold of the modern corner with his length and ability to press. He's also showed the ability to play off and excel in zone. The 49ers will be an intriguing team next season and Jackson will add to that.

11. Miami Dolphins – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech (6-5/250)
Edmunds possesses unbelievable size and athletic ability. He'll excel at blitzing and covering tight ends at the next level.

12. Cincinnati Bengals – Connor Williams, OT, Texas (6-6/320)
The Bengals clearly made a mistake in letting Andrew Whitworth go to the Rams. Their first step in rectifying that would be to take the best tackle in the draft.

13. Washington Redskins – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming (6-5/223)
You've all likely heard it by now: Allen has all the physical tools, he just needs work. Well, it's absolutely true. From a physical standpoint, there isn't a more gifted QB in this draft. Give him a couple seasons to sit behind Alex Smith and hope Jay Gruden can get the most out of Allen.

14. Green Bay Packers – Arden Key, EDGE, LSU (6-6/265)
Key was a beast his sophomore season (11 sacks), before a junior year mired by injuries and inconsistency. He has all the tools to be a disruptive NFL edge rusher. Can the Packers get it out of him?

15. Arizona Cardinals – Orlando Brown, OL, Oklahoma (6-8/360)
With the top four quarterbacks off the board, the Cardinals look to bolster their offensive line. Brown is a road grader that should help pave the way for star RB David Johnson. Does Brown have enough athleticism to play the left side? I believe he does.

16. Baltimore Ravens – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU (6-4/218)
Sutton is an interesting case. He has great size and is pretty quick for a bigger receiver. He dominated in the American Conference and should test well at the combine. His stock could rise, but he'd be a great fit for the Ravens.

17. Los Angeles Chargers – Vita Vea, DT, Washington (6-4/344)
Putting Vea on the inside with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on the outside seems unfair. He's the most athletic 344-pounder I've ever seen.

18. Seattle Seahawks – Derwin James, S, Florida State (6-3/215)
James was once thought of as a top-10 talent but struggled last season coming off an injury. He's the type of physical, versatile player that will thrive in Seattle and possibly replace Kam Chancellor.

19. Dallas Cowboys – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama (6-2/308)
Payne showed how disruptive and dominant he can be in the National Championship Game. If the Cowboys can get that player to show up every week, he'll be giving the Eagles trouble for years.

20. Detroit Lions – Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA (6-6/255)
There may not be a player riding a bigger hype train than Davenport. He has great measurables, was extremely productive and should test well. The Lions are perpetually in need of pass rushers.

21. Buffalo Bills – Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan (6-2/282)
There are a few mocks out there that have Hurst ahead of Payne. I will say that Hurst was a more consistent player this season, but Payne is younger and has a bigger upside. Still, Hurst should help the Bills immediately.

22. Buffalo Bills (via Kansas City Chiefs) – Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado (6-1/190)
Like Jackson, Oliver fits the mold of the prototypical NFL corner. He also fits the mold of what head coach Sean McDermott has looked for in his corners.

23. Los Angeles Rams – Denzel Ward, CB, OSU (5-10/191)
I'm not as high on Ward as others. I thought he got bullied by bigger receivers. With that said, he has excellent footwork and speed to mirror receivers up and down the field.

24. Carolina Panthers – Harold Landry, EDGE, Boston College (6-3/250)
Landry would've probably gone around this range if he'd come out last year (16 1/2 sacks). He wasn't as productive this season (five sacks) but is certainly worth a shot here for the Panthers.

25. Tennessee Titans - Billy Price, C, OSU (6-4/312)
The Titans have bookend tackles but could use help in the middle. Price's issue might be that he's a little too aggressive at times. Better than the alternative. He's tough, athletic and plays with an edge.

26. Atlanta Falcons – Will Hernandez, G, UTEP (6-2/348)
Hernandez is the second-best guard in this draft. He had a nice week at Senior Bowl that will likely make him first-rounder.

27. New Orleans Saints – Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama (6-3/234)
Evans would've looked great in midnight green, but I don't see any way he gets to pick 32. Recruited as a pass rusher, Evans became an inside 'backer for Nick Saban. That versatility should serve him well as a 4-3 OLB.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers – Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn (6-1/203)
I like Davis more than Ward, but going off the hype, I'll mock Davis here. Joe Haden doesn't seem like a candidate to return for the Steelers and they could use more help at corner.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (6-3/200)
The Jags are giving Blake Bortles another shot. Taking Jackson hedges their bets. No doubt Jackson has work to do with his mechanics and accuracy (though he's much improved), but putting him in the same backfield as Leonard Fournette with a dominant defense would be awfully intriguing.

30. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn, G, Georgia (6-2/300)
The Vikings' O-line was vastly improved in 2017, but could still use more help. Wynn provides versatility, having played left tackle for the Bulldogs but projecting as a guard at the next level.

31. New England Patriots – Mike Hughes, CB, UCF (5-11/191)
This is an interesting spot. If Rob Gronkowski decides to retire, look for South Dakota State TE Dallas Goedert as a possibility. With Malcolm Butler on his way out, Hughes could make a solid tandem with Stephon Gilmore.

32. Philadelphia Eagles – Taven Bryan, DT, Florida (6-4/291)
If Beau Allen leaves in free agency, the Eagles are left with Destiny Vaeao and 2017 sixth-round pick Elijah Qualls at DT. With Jim Schwartz's D-line rotation, they'll need more depth and competition at the position. Enter Bryan. Don't be fooled by the lack of production (four sacks in 2017), Bryan has impressive physical traits that will translate to the NFL. He's an attacking style player, the perfect fit for Schwartz's scheme. He's got a quick first step and consistently blows offensive lineman off the ball. Asking him to be a rotational piece, especially in pass rush situations, would be the ideal way to bring him along.

Movie about former Eagle's life in the works

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Movie about former Eagle's life in the works

Pretty soon, you'll be able to see Jon Dorenbos' incredible story on the big screen. 

Producer and Philly native Mike Tollin, thanks to the Eagles' Super Bowl win, is fast-tracking a movie about Dorenbos' life, according to Deadline Hollywood. 

Tollin has been involved other sports films such as Summer Catch, Radio and Coach Carter.

This movie, which will be based on a book Dorenbos is writing with Larry Platt, will be based around Dorenbos' story back to when he used his magic as a coping mechanism to deal with childhood tragedy. 

For those who don't know his story, Dorenbos was just 12 years old when his father murdered his mother. Long before he became a professional long-snapper for the Eagles, Dorenbos used magic as an escape from reality. He continues to perform magic and was a hit on America's Got Talent.

Dorenbos, 37, played 11 seasons in Philadelphia before he was traded to the Saints last offseason. Upon his arrival in New Orleans, doctors found an aortic aneurysm. That ended his football career and sent him for open-heart surgery. 

Even though he wasn't a part of the roster, Dorenbos was included during the Eagles' playoff run. He was in Minnesota when the Birds won the Super Bowl, he paraded down Broad Street, and he's getting a Super Bowl ring. 

"Jon and I have been talking about this for a while, and I once told him we needed a third act, but I didn't mean nearly killing himself," Tollin told Deadline. "This is about overcoming obstacles and turning tragedies into positives and the story is so unlikely that I thought we'd need a coda to say the story was true. We have that, with Jon and the beautiful wife he just married, Annalise, in the parade with confetti falling on their heads."

Dorenbos told Deadline that going with Tollin, whom he has known for a while, was an easy decision and he sold him the book option for $1. 

There's no release date yet, but because of the recency of the Super Bowl win, the plan is to fast-track the movie. Tollin said the plan is to have the movie out by the time the Eagles are starting to defend their title in next year's playoffs. He said he's already talking to an A-list star about the project. 

"I have learned that the sooner you accept your reality, the sooner you can look at the positives in life," Dorenbos told Deadline. "My reality was that I lost both of my parents. My dad went to prison and my mom was killed. My sister and I stayed with a temporary foster family for a bit, until my aunt, my mom's sister, got custody of us. I loved magic. It was really the only time that I didn't think about all the crap, the counseling therapy, the grieving. I would sit at a table, shuffle cards and learn moves, for 10 hours at a time. As a kid, it taught me it was OK to be alone and work toward something. 

"I am a slow, pudgy white guy who never thought he would play football. I made two Pro Bowls and guess what? All I did was stay on the path and show up every day when others jumped off the path."