At one point during the second half, long snapper Nick Sundberg found quarterback Robert Griffin III on the sidelines, encouraging him to keep the offense moving. Sundberg had selfish motives. If the offense had stalled, that meant another punt snap. And another punt snap meant more pain.
So Sundberg told Griffin, “I don’t want to go out there for another punt. He was like, what do you mean. Dude, my arm hurts so bad, and it hurt so much worse to throw punt snaps, I was like, don’t make us punt again. Then we kind of laughed about it, and I was like: I’m serious. He’s like, oh. No pressure rookie, but I don’t want to punt again.”
After breaking his left arm in the second quarter while in punt protection, Sundberg continued to snap. Eight more times as a matter of fact. Monday, he walked around with a cast that nearly reached his shoulder. Coach Mike Shanahan later ruled him out for Sundays’ game at St. Louis.
But it’s uncertain how much time he’ll miss. The Redskins will work out long snappers on Tuesday. Sundberg could end up playing in a brace, but that has yet to be decided.
Nothing will change what he did Sunday by playing with the broken arm. Sundberg played with a similar injury in high school, when he was a center and long snapper. But, he said, he could get away with some errant snaps then. He can’t do that in the NFL.
“At the end of the day you have to look at yourself and see what you’re made of,” Sundberg said. “It really was a test to myself. It’s pretty terrible, but I felt like I really didn’t have another option.”
Center Will Montgomery is the emergency long snapper and he warmed up on the sidelines. But Sundberg never missed. He did have one snap that caused punter Sav Rocca to reach to his right (he dropped the ball).
Sundberg said he got hit a “few times” on the arm.
“But there was so much adrenaline when I was on the field it wasn’t an issue,” he said. “It was one of those things where you have to keep telling yourself it doesn’t hurt, doesn’t hurt, doesn’t hurt. At some point you convince yourself that there’s only a few more minutes left, only a couple more snaps, I can get through it. And it worked out.”
Nose tackle Barry Cofield said, “It was inspiring.”