Kelly Jennings long snapping becomes Seattle highlight

SEATTLE -- Every Wednesday, when few - if any - people are watching, Seattle's Kelly Jennings stops being a cornerback and his 180-pound frame becomes ... a long snapper.

But that's just in practice. It would never happen in a game, right?

"You try and develop guys, but quite frankly, he is our best option," Seahawks coach Jim Mora said after Sunday's 24-7 loss to Tampa Bay.

And it was during that embarrassing loss to the previously 1-win Buccaneers that Seattle got it's lone bright spot in an otherwise gloomy loss that ranks among the lowest points for the franchise this decade.

After regular long snapper Kevin Houser was lost with a serious shoulder injury, there was the scrawny Jennings jogging out to snap a third-quarter punt.

The result? A perfect dart back to punter Jon Ryan, and sadly one of the few highlights in a dismal week for the Seahawks.

"Our backup long snapper is Kelly Jennings. You can draw your own conclusions from that statement right there," Mora said.

Jennings was given the role of backup long snapper at the beginning of the season after showing special teams coach Bruce DeHaven he was capable of handling the task last year. DeHaven took note of Jennings' ability when the fourth-year defensive back from Miami was joking around after practice one day.

But the idea of ever having to do it during a game seemed far-fetched at best. As a precaution, Jennings spends time every Wednesday during special teams sessions practicing his snaps at a pole "just in case."

Jennings was one of three Seahawks to start snapping on the sideline in the first half after Houser was injured. Joining Jennings was linebacker Will Herring and fullback Owen Schmidt, but if it came time for a needed punt snap, it was Jennings' job.

When Houser aggravated his shoulder injury trying to make a tackle in the second half, Jennings realized he was going to be called upon.

So with 25 seconds left in the third quarter, Jennings likely became the smallest long snapper in recent NFL memory.

"Not your prototypical long snapper in the National Football League," Mora said.

The Bucs noticed Jennings and appeared to think something was up with a number of players pointing out No. 21 standing over the ball just in case the Seahawks had a trick play in mind.

"When I actually came out they were alerting it, me being a small guy, they might think it was a fake play," Jennings said. "They had some commotion going on in the back, but we knew what we had planned to do if I had to come in."

Jennings said Sunday was just the second time he's ever snapped in a game. He was called into duty as an emergency backup during a high school game in 2000, then joked around with the skill while at Miami and with the Seahawks.

"It's harder than you think," Jennings said. "It has to be perfect every time. If not, it's a turnover or worse."

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