We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Kickoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Bears September 7th season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
We’re 48 days out from the Chicago Bears season opener, and that brings our countdown to long snapper Brandon Hartson. Hartson was one of two long snappers brought in this offseason to compete for a starting job that, thanks to the stellar career of longtime Bear Patrick Mannelly, hasn’t been available for 16 years.
Hartson played 4 years of college football at the University of Houston, including the 2011 season in which the Cougars posted a 13-1 record and a victory in the Ticket City Bowl. From what tape I’ve been able to find on him (long snappers don’t exactly have highlight reels), it seemed like he was rock solid during his college years. Despite this, he went undrafted in 2013 which is not all that surprising since long snappers are rarely drafted.
The 6-2, 238 pounder was actually signed by the Bears last August when Patrick Mannelly sustained a rib injury during a preseason matchup with the Carolina Panthers. While he was subsequently cut by the Monsters of the Midway when Mannelly recovered from his injury prior to the season opener, Hartson apparently impressed the coaching staff enough for them to bring him back this offseason to compete for the starting job vacated by Mannelly’s retirement.
Hartson’s competition for the job is 10-year CFL veteran Chad Rempel. While it would be nice for Hartson to win the job, enabling the Bears to basically forget about the position for over a decade as they did with Mannelly, I think experience puts the odds in the 32-year-old Rempel’s favor. How different could NFL long snapping possibly be from their Canadian counterparts?
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th. We’re 48 days from kickoff. Are you ready???