You may not remember the names of most long snappers that the Buffalo Bills have used on punt and field goal units over the years.
After all, the long snapper prefers to be anonymous because he is only noticed when he fouls up.
But if you remember the name of one long snapper for the Bills, it is probably Jon Dorenbos, who was the long snapper here for two years after being signed as a free agent out of Texas-El Paso more than a decade ago.
That’s because Dorenbos also doubled as a magician and that secondary career and his difficult childhood have led to him being the subject of numerous feature stories over his 12-year career.
And Dorenbos is about to get more attention on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” on Tuesday. It airs at 9 p.m. and is repeated at 11 p.m.
Here’s how the story about him is summarized in a HBO release about the feature, titled “Magic Man” :
"Now in his 12th NFL season, Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro long snapper Jon Dorenbos has been a largely anonymous but steady special teams player in a league known for constant personnel turnover. Despite his success on the field, however, Dorenbos’ love of magic has defined his life, offering the salvation that helped him through the darkest moments of his childhood. During a seemingly picture-perfect upbringing in the suburbs of Seattle, his life changed forever when his father beat his mother to death with a power tool in a fit of rage. Attempting to cheer up the reeling adolescent, a friend introduced Dorenbos to the art of magic and he instantly became hooked. Host Bryant Gumbel sits down with Jon Dorenbos to hear about the impact of magic and football on his life and witness firsthand his mastery of trickery and illusion."
I last wrote about TV’s documentation of Dorenbos' life in April 2005 when he was one of six people selected from E!'s nationwide search for the ultimate "True American Story." With Montel Williams as host, the special was modeled after one of the network's signature shows, "E! True Hollywood Stories." Viewers were asked if their own inspirational lives could be worthy of the "Hollywood" treatment.
By 2005, Dorenbos' dramatic story also had previously aired on HBO's "Inside the NFL," CBS and ESPN.
Now that the Dorenbos’ story is reappearing, it should be nice to see what he has been up to since leaving the Bills several seasons ago.