"Best job ever."
There are certain jobs in the world of sports where we often apply those three words. I'm not talking about the highest-paying, highest-profile roles like quarterback of an NFL team, point guard of an NBA team or cleanup hitter for an MLB team. Those really are the best jobs ever.
I'm talking about jobs in sports where the athletic ability required to pull a league minimum check (which in most major leagues is like quintuple what most people make in a fantastic year) is so marginal that you don't need to be a member of the Lucky Sperm Club to do it.
Lefty situational relief pitcher. Twelfth man on an NBA bench. NFL long snapper.
That's where this story begins, at NFL long snapper.
Lost amidst all the Arian Foster hoopla from Monday, the Texans validated the long snapper vocation as one of the "best ever" on Tuesday by dropping a four-year, $2.9 million contract ($255,000 signing bonus) on long snapper Jon Weeks.
A press release from the Texans outlined Weeks' accolades:
Since signing with the Texans as a free agent in 2010, Weeks has handled 288 punt, field goal and extra-point snaps for the Texans and played a part in several franchise records on special teams. In 2011, Weeks helped K Neil Rackers set franchise single-season records with 32 field goals made, 38 field goals attempted and 135 points scored, while also snapping all 40 point-after kicking attempts. Weeks also snapped for rookie P Brett Hartmann, who set a franchise record with a 44.4 gross punt average.
(NOTE: My favorite part of that is how Weeks "helped K Neil Rackers set franchise single-season records with 32 field goals made...and 135 points scored." That's kind of like saying the guy who filled the gas tank helped Matt Kenseth win the Daytona 500.)
Not surprisingly, the Texans failed to mention that with the return of Jon Weeks comes the return of The Jon Weeks Game! Actually, calling it a "game" is a bit of misnomer; it's more of an in-game activity or a distraction. Basically, it consists of the simple, highly entertaining task of focusing in on Weeks as he runs downfield on the punt coverage team. At 5-feet-10 and 245 pounds, Weeks looks like any number of paunchy accountant friends that we all have, so when you watch him run down the field trying to disrupt an opposing punt return, it feels like a little piece of all of us regular schmoes is running down the field with him.
It's so mind-boggling that someone with this highly specific skill could be a multimillionaire after six or seven years that I have to believe that Weeks is viewed by the team as more of a regular employee than a football player. I want to believe he has a cubicle in the Reliant Stadium offices, not a space in the locker room. I have to believe he gets his paycheck on the first and fifteenth of every month like the regular folks, not seventeen weekly in-season game checks like the real players.
Casual Fridays, birthday cakes in the break room, buying Girl Scout cookies...I imagine Jon Weeks taking part in all of these activities before I can envision him running out to practice in the Methodist bubble. (Even though I've witnessed him practice dozens of times, I refuse to believe he is a real football player.)
Many of you chimed in on Twitter this morning with similar "Jon Weeks, office nob" sentiments:
@garyrind A big feature of Weeks extension was getting the Texans to increase their match of his 401(k) from 2 to 4%
@Naim_Sharif Weeks' agent really took Rick Smith to town, he's getting reimbursed 55.5 cents per mile to drive back and forth to Reliant @stephennaron Weeks wasn't going to sign the new deal until a membership to the company gym was included
@CoogFan Weeks told his agent no deal unless he gets a key to Rick Smith's private bathroom. #CostanzaApproves
@RogueT Jon Weeks biggest point of contention was the return of his Swingline Stapler.
@kyle_m_lewis Texans hosed weeks on the deal, he has to run the March Madness pool
Arian Foster signed a $43.5 million deal on Monday, which will prompt thousands of children to run to their backyards and work on becoming the next Arian Foster. You're wasting your time, kids. You need genetic gifts that 99.9999 percent of you don't have to get to that level.
Instead, may I suggest the less demanding, yet shockingly well paying future of becoming the next Jon Weeks?
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After all, the world needs long snappers, too.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.