Today the Indianapolis Colts released one of their most underrated players of the past decade. Today, the Justin Snowera came to an end. The Colts released the 35 year old Snow, who was the longest tenured Colt entering the day. Now that title belongs to wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
The release of Snow is sad but not surprising. He is a 35 year old who was to be paid $925,000 in 2012, which is quite a bit for a long snapper. His replacement, Matt Overton, also played well this preseason, is only 27 years old and is only making $390,000 this year. He has yet to appear in a regular season NFL game, but that will change in just over a week. Snow plans to keep playing, and I would be surprised if a team did not give him a chance this year.
Justin Snow is a classic Colt. He won't get the recognition or the praise, but he was one of the best at his position for a decade and was a great presence in the locker room. Signed as an undrafted rookie out of Baylor in 2000 by Bill Polian, Snow made 192 consecutive starts in a row for Indianapolis, never missing a game in his career. In fact, this season he would have been on pace to tie Peyton Manning's record of 208. With his contract expiring at the end of the year, we long knew it was almost over for Snow. It just came one year earlier.
A graduate of the same high school as another former Colt, Dominic Rhodes, I can only remember one bad snap during Snow's time in Indy (in the 2004 AFC Championship game against the New England Patriotsafter the Colts hadn't punted in the two games prior). Perhaps his most famous moment came in 2002, when he convinced coach Tony Dungy to attempt a 51 yard field goal with kicker Mike Vanderjagt in overtime. Of course, Vanderjagt made it. Dungy was planning to punt it, but Snow convinced him to try for the kick - and the win. It worked.
Snow was also a part of the first trio in NFL history (with Vanderjagct and Hunter Smith) to go an entire season without missing a single kick (field goals or PATs) in 2003. Vanderjagt is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, and after he was released the greatest kicker in the history of the game joined the Colts (Adam Vinatieri). Hunter Smith was a very good punter and locker room presence during his tenure in Indy, but he too was replaced by a young punter in Pat McAfee (who, by the way, is quickly becoming one of the best in the league). Through it all, however, was Justin Snow. He played 12 years wearing blue and white. He was a part of one of the most successful decades in league history. He won two AFC titles and a super bowl. And during that whole time, he was one of the best at his respective position.
Long snappers don't get any attention unless they mess up. And since Snow practically never messed up, he didn't get much attention, which is sad. Justin Snow is a classic Colt. In an offseason where so many classic Colts have departed, I guess it is only fitting that Snow does as well.
For more information on the Colts cuts today as they get down to 53 players, keep it here at Stampede Blue.