LANDOVER, Md. - The long snapper: he's the football player who gets the ball to the holder on field goals and extra points and to the punter on punts. You'll rarely see more than one deep snapper on an NFL roster. You'll never see more than one active on game day, as teams are only permitted to dress 46 players.
So when longtime Redskins snapper Nick Sundberg injured his back last week, the 'Skins needed a replacement. They found just the guy for the job - except he already had a job. That's where this story gets tasty.
Rick Lovato didn't need game-time gusts whipping at more than 20 miles per hour to bring winds of change to his world.
"I had been practicing for this," Lovato told News 3. "I'd been waiting for my opportunity to come again. It could happen at anytime."
Just last week, the former long snapper at Old Dominion, where he earned All-American honors, was holding a job that just screams "All-American". Or at least tastes like it.
"I was working at my Dad`s sub shop up in Jersey," Lovato said smiling.
Yes, Lovato was a proud employee at Joyce's Subs and Pizza in Lincroft, New Jersey. They tell me the pork roll, egg and cheese is the most popular item on their menu. For Rick, slapping together a ham, salami and provalone is a breeze. Trying out to be one of 32 NFL deep snappers on the planet? That takes some extra mustard.
"The tryout was actually more nervewracking than it was tonight," Lovato said after snapping for the Redskins against Green Bay Sunday. "I got maybe a few minutes to warmup - then go right into it. I hadn't put pads on since training camp."
The pads may have been new, but the support was not. Rick's former ODU teammates and coaches were not shy about their deep affinity for Washington's deep snapper.
"Particularly all the guys that played with Rick," Old Dominion head football coach Bobby Wilder said of his players' pride for Lovato's opportunity. "We were watching him last night. Not a lot of people in America get excited about the long snapper. But we were excited."
"It's great to be a part of a team that's so close to where I went to school," Lovato added. "It's just very exciting to get that much support and that much love from my Monarchs family."
His former team, ODU, made its feelings clear. What about his current team, the Redskins?
"[I'm maybe employed] the rest of the season, maybe another week or two," Lovato said honestly. "I have no idea. I just have to be ready every single day and go out and do my thing."
If that change comes, at lease Lovato has proven he can adjust...in a snap.