May 13, 2004
Cordele - When Florida State won their second national championship in 1999, Cordele's Brian Sawyer was a little know deep snapper who was redshirted that year.
After 52 consecutive starts as the Seminoles deep-snapper, Sawyer is moving from one champion to another as he tries to find work in the NFL.
Brian Sawyer was hanging around his Cordele home during the weekend of the NFL draft where the last thing he was expecting was a phone call.
The phone did ring on Sunday afternoon.
On the other end of the line was the special teams coach of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Brian Sawyer said "He said, well, I'll be honest with you, we might not take you as a long snapper in the seventh round but we would love to have you sign with us as a free agent.
After a phone call to his agent, Sawyer quickly called the Patriots back and agreed to sign with the Super Bowl Champs.
The Patriots signed Sawyer because their long snapper Lonnie Paxton is recovering from a knee operation.
Sawyer realistically knows his chances of winning the long snapper's job with the Patriots is not good if Paxton recovers from the knee injury.
He hopes that if he doesn't make it in New England, his play will get noticed by another NFL team.
Sawyer said "When we looked up all the long snappers, where they have been in their career. Most of them have bounced around to two or three years in the first year they have signed in just a month or month and a half time. So, I really, really wouldn't be suprised if it did happen. It would great if it didn't happen but I am preparing myself for anything."
FSU coach Bobby Bowden would love to have Brian Sawyer back for another year.
In four seasons, Sawyer converted more than 550 consecutive snaps on punts, extra points and field goals.
The man who taught his son to long snap is Brian's father Bill Sawyer, who played for three seasons at Florida State and told then the 12-year old Brian that hiking a football seven to fifteen yards would pay off someday.
Sawyer said "He said if you keep working at this, long snapping, you might make you some money at this and in a sense it has because it has paid for my college education"
Brian hopes snapping a football will continue to pay his bills. So, he won't have use his college degree in sports management to get a real job.
Brian reports to the Patriots facility Sunday for a six week rookie orientation session that will run through July 2nd.
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