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VOL. 42 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 28, 2018

NFL longevity a snap for veteran Brinkley

Most valuable Titan you’ve never heard of

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Tennessee Titans long snapper Beau Brinkley gets ready to snap to punter Brett Kern during the Week 2 win against the Texans. Both Kern and placekicker Ryan Succop give Brinkley rave reviews for his seven years in a largely anonymous and undervalued role.

-- Scott Boehm Via Ap

Beau Brinkley has one of the most anonymous jobs in the NFL.

And that is just how the Titans long snapper likes it.

“I would definitely agree with that,” says Brinkley who is in his seventh season as the Titans’ long snapper. “That’s another reason I enjoy the job. I’m just kind of an under the radar type of guy. I just kind of keep to myself. It just kind of sticks to the position, and I enjoy it.”

But Brinkley is an unsung hero – a silent partner if you will – when it comes to Tennessee’s triumvirate of specialists that also includes kicker Ryan Succop and punter Brett Kern.

Succop set an NFL record last season for most consecutive field goals made inside 50 yards (actually the streak stretched over multiple seasons), and Kern earned his first Pro Bowl berth last year averaging nearly 50 yards a punt a season ago.

We kind of joke around with him about that,” Kern says of Brinkley’s anonymity. “He’s a humble guy, but Ryan and I both know how good a long snapper he is.”

Both guys realize Brinkley’s contributions are a big part of their own success.

“Being in our seventh year together, I think Beau is the best snapper in the league He’s a really hard worker. He pushes me in the weight room,” Kern says. “We have a really good relationship on and off the field. When he’s firing the ball back there, I don’t have to worry where the snap is going to be.

“That just takes one mental thing out of my mind that I don’t have to worry about.”

Brinkley “does a great job,” Succop adds. “I do think he’s one of the best long snappers, if not the best, in the league. He protects great and covers great.”

Ahh, covers great. That is the one area of Brinkley’s game where he does have a chance to get a little bit of recognition.

And it is something he enjoys and takes a lot of pride in, that chance to go down in punt coverage and make a tackle.

“For me, it’s just an effort thing. It’s something I take pride in, not just being a long snapper, but it’s like being part of the team, running down there with (the other guys),” Brinkley says. “I like being down there with them and being a force.

“Brett, when he unleashes those bombs, he just lets the dogs out and we all run. It’s a good feeling that those guys trust me and I trust them in our lanes and everything. It’s pretty special and pretty fun, and I take a lot of pride in that.”

Brinkley is actually quite good in punt coverage, having recorded a tackle in the opener against Miami. In 2014, Brinkley recorded 10 special teams tackles, which is all the more remarkable, considering that as a long snapper he only plays on punt coverage and not on kickoff coverage.

While he loves his role as a long snapper, Brinkley appreciates being treated the same as linebacker or receivers.

“Around the locker room, the guys treat me like a regular player, which is kind of cool and really nice,” he says. “I take very much pride in it, whether it’s weight room or practice.

“I try to put in the work so that those guys do recognize that I’m not just a long snapper, and I’m out here working hard with them. I’m just trying to be the best at what I do – just like them.”

Brinkley’s talents as a long snapper actually come quite naturally.

“My dad was a snapper in college,” he says. “I didn’t grow up wanting to be a long snapper. We played catch in the backyard. My dad did it one-handed, so I just tried to mimic him.

“We’d just have fun and play catch in the backyard. We tried kicking and punting and everything like that. It just kind of came natural to me, and when I got to high school, it kind of took off from there.

“But it wasn’t until my senior year of college, when I started getting letters from pro teams, that I really thought about doing it professionally.”

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