Jon Dorenbos was a long snapper for the Philadelphia Eagles for 11 years.
Last offseason, the NFL veteran was traded to the New Orleans Saints. A physical after the trade revealed an aortic aneurysm that required immediate open-heart surgery.
His career was over. But the trade and impending physical may have saved his life. Had the aneurysm not been discovered, his health would have been at risk.
Fast forward to last week and Dorenbos, who had spent much of the NFL season under the influence of medication as part of his recovery, found himself back with some of his friends and former teammates celebrating a high point in their lives.
As reported by The New Orleans Advocate, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie insisted that Dorenbos join the team for some of their pre- and post-Super Bowl festivities. Lurie also promised him a Super Bowl ring.
“Had I played, I’d die,” Dorenbos told The Advocate while celebrating in the Eagles’ Super Bowl locker room. “If you can’t play in it, this is the next best way to enjoy it. Mr. Lurie called me and said he wants me to be a part of it, said I was here a long time, and he said ‘We’re going to win this, and you’re going to get a ring.'”
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Dorenbos also told The Advocate that Lurie invited Dorenbos to a VIP fan event where he mingled with celebrities like Sheryl Crow.
Lurie made clear how he felt about Dorenbos last fall after his heart condition was revealed.
While average NFL fans likely aren’t aware of Dorenbos for his mostly thankless career as a long-snapper, they may know him from his hobby, which led to a successful run on “America’s Got Talent” last summer as a magician.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) August 30, 2017
However you know Dorenbos, it’s good news and a cool story that he’s healthy enough to enjoy a moment like this.