- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – This is one of the few times I've typed Kevin McDermott's name in his rookie season.
That means he’s been perfect.
NFL teams have a credo for long-snappers: Don’t get your name in print; if you do, it usually means you've messed up. As long as the long-snapper snaps well, he usually goes unnoticed. Just as teams want.
But the fact that McDermott has been so good is noteworthy. His battle with venerable and popular snapper Brian Jennings was a major storyline during camp, and it came as a shock to many when the San Francisco 49ers released Jennings in favor of the rookie from UCLA. Jennings was steady as a rock and was the team's elder statesman, having been with the 49ers for 13 years.
But McDermott’s youth, cheaper price tag and potential won out. So far, so good.
“He’s done well,” coach Jim Harbaugh said of McDermott. “That there aren’t weekly questions about Kevin McDermott and his snapping, that’s a real positive. When the snapper’s not, when you’re not talking about the snapper, then he’s doing well. And he has done well. Been a lot of pressure snaps and done a real fine job, and it’s good to point that out.”
McDermott said his battle with Jennings was “surreal” because Jennings was the longest-tenured player on the team and he knew there were a lot of eyes on him. McDermott credits veteran kicker Phil Dawson and punter Andy Lee for guiding him through his rookie season.
“It’s been great,” McDermott said. “As the snapper, you just want to go out and do your job and stay quiet, and it’s been really good so far.”
Sounds like a veteran snapper.