One of the more intriguing players on the 49ers roster has long been long snapper Brian Jennings. Although the long snapper position generally flies under the radar, Jennings has made the position all his own. Drafted as a seventh round pick in 2000, Jennings has been to the Pro Bowl and he has managed to move into a tie for most consecutive games played in franchise history.
Jennings is currently signed through the 2014 season. At the end of his contract, Jennings will have played 15 seasons and will be 38. While that is old for most NFL players, Brian Jennings thinks he is right in the middle of his physical prime. Over at Bay Area Sports Guy, Graham Womack had a chance to speak with Jennings about his future. Jennings told Graham he wants to play into his mid-40s, and thinks that he can easily do that without performance drop-off:
"My trainer told me this year... that I should see no physical drop-off in my performance until I'm 45, so that's another nine years," Jennings said. "As an NFL player, I believe that men peak in their mid to late 30s and they can maintain it for seven to nine years depending on training and genetics."
HIs future could also benefit from a potential rule change. The NFL Competition Committee has proposed a new rule that would make the long snapper a defenseless player. This would seem to only help Jennings.
If you haven't taken time to learn about Brian Jennings, he is a fascinating player. If you don't know much about him, here are some bullet points from his official team bio (PDF):
- Jennings developed a new idea that has been in demand now that colleges are offering scholarships for long snappers. He and his designer created a long snapping football, appropriately titled ‘The Jennings141 grip-trainer football.' "It's a regulation size football, either college size or junior, but the instructions are written on the ball which is unique. The instructions on the ball will teach how to build the proper grip." The ball is currently being manufactured as he just received a patent a short time ago, but he plans to make the ball available through his website.
- Brian has touched the lives of numerous people as a member of the 49ers, taking part in dozens of speaking engagements and charity events throughout his career. He looks to continue inspiring people once his playing days are over as well. Over the past four years, Brian has been working on his own book. "I believe everyone can find their purpose and live an inspired life. I feel my life has been blessed in so many ways and I want to share it with people. No matter what troubles come your way, you can realize your potential. In my writing, I combine examples throughout history with my own personal story, while using spiritual health and wellness as the vehicle."
- Brian doesn't spend much time relaxing during the offseason. He earned his certification as a yoga instructor in 2008 after taking part in a 200-hour program that lasted five months. With a modern approach, Brian cranks up lively music in the classes he teaches in Scottsdale, AZ. He has plans to open his own yoga studio in the near future.
- Jennings formed his own company, Jennings141, which among various efforts has produced instructional videos for long snapping.
- Over the past two offseasons, Brian has hosted a long snapping camp with about 20 participants. This allows him to teach the intricacies of the position on a one-on-one basis. "During the camp I de-constructed the long snap. So, we go through stations of the pieces of the long snap and I teach them how to do each piece. Then it's for them to put it all together and master it on their own."
- Brian believes the sky is the limit when it comes to his knowledge base. "I really see the value of education and continual learning. Every offseason, I try to pursue some kind of intellectual academic project that is measurable. I want to be powerful intellectually." Still undecided on whether to pursue an MBA degree or become a chiropractor once his playing days are over, Brian has been taking classes in both areas at Arizona State and Scottsdale Community College over the past several offseasons. He's also taken part in the NFL's Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at Harvard and Stanford, and has plans to attend the NFL's Broadcast Boot Camp in the near future. "I'm like a sponge when it comes to educating myself. I'm constantly reading the Wall Street Journal and various financial magazines, which has sparked a better understanding of how politics effects the economy and business world."