Why doesn't anyone ever get ready for gameday and think, "Ryan Pontbriand is going to win us a football game today!" Long snappers are often forgot about - they are not praised for individual performances per game, but rather at the beginning or ending of a season. The only time you hear about a long snapper during a season is when they botch a snap, something that they are getting paid pretty good money to do. After the consistency that Pontbriand has shown the past several years, the team decided to reward him.
Pontbriand was signed to a four-year contract extension Tuesday, keeping him with the Browns through the 2011 season. He was originally a shocking fifth-round draft pick in 2003 by Butch Davis. Although there was criticism at the time for taking a long snapper in the fifth round, I don't have any regrets regarding that decision heading into this season. With Pontbriand locked up, all of the key players on the Browns' special teams are signed at least through the 2010 season.
Over the past few days, there have been rumors that starting punter Dave Zastudil suffered an injury a few days ago, and that former Browns punter Chris Gardocki was brought in as an insurance policy. While these reports seemed to have some merit at first, I have not seen any major media outlets report this. If something happened to Zastudil, either the Browns, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, or the Orange and Brown Report would have said something. We'll probably know about this issue for sure tomorrow (Wednesday), when the Browns and the rest of the team's in the league are scheduled to release their injury reports for the week.