Jon Dorenbos wasn't just a fan favorite. He was a favorite teammate inside the Eagles' locker room too.
Often, specialists are pretty segregated throughout the day, but Dorenbos was much more to his teammates than a long snapper. He was a showman, a friend and a positive influence in the room.
That's why so many of his teammates took it hard when Dorenbos was traded to the Saints for a seventh-round pick on Monday night (see story). They know the NFL is a business; Rick Lovato is taking over but they're going to miss the Magic Man.
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With that in mind, CSNPhilly asked several of his former teammates in the locker room on Tuesday for their favorite stories about Dorenbos. Here's what we heard:
"He has emceed my foundation fundraiser the last two years. And this past year, his grand trick involved him pulling his pants down and literally pulling a card out of his ... tail. But it was cool, man. He obviously had a huge box of 200 decks of cards that's here all the time, he's practicing his tricks. I just think his positive attitude is something that's hard to find in a football locker room that's all year round. A guy that's constantly in a good mood, that's constantly joking around. He's just a good friend and obviously a guy that's going to be missed."
"I remember I came in right after I got drafted. You know how you come in that next morning? And nobody was here. I remember sitting in [former Eagles players secretary Karen Gerstle's] office and he was the first person I met that was on the team. He told me his story, told me his process of getting here. Asked where I was from. He was just like 'oh, man, you're going to love it, bunch of great guys!' Really just ... you could see his energy from Day 1. Just sitting there in Karen's office, I was like if all the guys are like this, I'm going to have a freakin' blast. He was just talking about how awesome it was to be in Philly and how awesome it was to play in this league, play in the NFL and how much he enjoyed it. To me, that's probably the best memory I have with him, probably the fondest memory. He was the first person on the team that I met. And just the ability to see that energy, see that positivity, really gave me coming into it, a nervous rookie, somebody who doesn't know what to expect, really gave me a positive perspective, a positive approach when I came back that next week."
"The one moment that does stick out to me the most is when we had our family day practice over at the stadium at the beginning of training camp. The way he responds to the fans and bringing a kid onto the field with him to throw around. And just seeing that and seeing how much those kids and the fans appreciate all that he did and all that he was for Philadelphia, it really made me see there's so much more to this game than football. It's really awesome to be able to see that and how many people he's been able to touch in this area."
"Just the shows he used to do. Every year was something different with Dorenbos. He was hosting a lot of stuff; I've been to a lot of events. I loved when he had his little shows and he'd go up to different lockers and kind of have fun with them, whatever the topic was that day. I think those were the most fun because it was more personal with the athletes being in the locker room."
"I would just say, there's a million of them, but his way with connecting with the guys. He would always break down our huddle the Saturday before the game with a funny random fact and it would somehow correlate to our team and our game or the team we were playing and the date we were playing on. Something like that. He always had something funny. And he was always so smooth, almost like the was rehearsing it for two weeks. And he probably just thought of it five minutes before he went out there. It's just things like that, his randomness, him popping off, doing a trick or stealing a guy's wallet or whatever it might be. Definitely one of those type of things for sure."
"Coach (Dave) Fipp told me he wanted me to pin [Dorenbos'] hip and lean toward him a little bit. I remember kind of like hitting him and almost picking him up and throwing him. Normally that guy would be kind of mad about it or whatever. He came over and patted me, 'thanks, man, thanks for the look.' The next play, I went down on the guard and he tried to give me a little extra push. We looked at each other and smiled. And it's just that kind of competitive spirit and nature. He's always been a good dude. He even told me he'd help me snap if that was what I was trying to do, joked around with him before. He's that type of guy."