Saturday, October 23, 2021

Long snapper signs NFL contract

April 22, 2002

The MSU football team’s long snapper from last season signed as an undrafted free agent with the Washington Redskins on Sunday night - five minutes after the conclusion of the NFL Draft.

Tony Grant, 23, signed a two year deal in addition to a small signing bonus after not being picked up during the seven-round draft.

The electrical engineering senior said he didn’t know if he would get drafted at all.

“I don’t know any details, all I know is I’m a Redskin,” Grant said. “It’s a free agent deal and I’m pumped. It’s definitely better than not having any options and figuring out what to do without football.”

But the Redskins drafted long snapper Jeff Grauin the sixth round as well. The UCLA Bruin also is a tight end.

Grant said he thought he wasn’t going to get signed when he saw Washington took Grau, because the Redskins were the team that courted him the most.

“I was disappointed when I saw the other guys name go across,” Grant said. “I thought that was it for sure, I couldn’t believe they called five seconds later.”

And he was signed five minutes after the draft ended.

Grant said the Redskins will use the preseason as a try-out for him and Grau.

“I assume one of us will get cut before the season starts,” Grant said. “No matter what happened, I’d have to compete against someone, it just happens that I’m competing with a rookie. I guess it was neck and neck with me and Grau. I don’t understand it, I’m happy to have a chance.”

Grant’s agent Kevin Gold, who exclusively represents long snappers, said getting signed was crucial.

“The most important thing is just to get your foot in the door,” Gold said. “Long snappers are like kickers, they move around a bit before finding the right spot. Who ever doesn’t get the job between Jeff and Tony, I’m pretty sure will find a job this year snapping.”

Even though his contract won’t be honored if he is cut, his signing bonus is his to keep.

Gold said the Redskins don’t allow him to disclose the details of the signing bonus.

“It’s a basic small signing bonus for an undrafted free agent,” Gold said. “It’s better than nothing. Nothing in football is guaranteed, the only thing that’s guaranteed is his signing bonus.”

In addition to the NFL, Grant has plenty of other options. Grant graduates in May and already has been interviewing with several companies across the nation. Last semester he turned down a job with General Motors Corp., because he knew he wouldn’t have time for it because he was training for football every day.

Keeping his options open is the most important thing to Grant’s mother, Geni.

“It was extremely important to finish college and his education,” she said. “Win loose or draw, this kid is going to make it big, he’s going to be OK.”

The MSU graduate school for electrical engineering was waiting to see if Grant signed an NFL contract before accepting him.

Geni said even though he was picked up by the Redskins, MSU kept its offer on the table for grad school.

“The fella called and let him know,” Geni said. “(Graduate school is) not going to wait five years though.

“He’s in the NFL, that was the dream and he accomplished it.”

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