Former Baker University football player Tanner Purdum signed a two-year contract extension and signing bonus Monday to remain with the New York Jets of the National Football League.
Purdum has played 55 games in his three seasons as the Jets’ long snapper. In 488 career snaps, 275 have been on punts and 213 have came on field goals or point-after attempts. He has not had a single snap hit the turf before getting to the holder or punter and has not sent one high over the punter’s head.
“The times I have seen him through the three years have been perfect,” Mike Grossner, Baker University head football coach, said. “He is a perfectionist. He’s got such a strong snap that on field goals, I do remember a story from one of the veteran NFL quarterbacks that was holding told him to kind of back off a little on the extra point and field goal situations to make it easier to catch.”
Purdum was the long snapper for the Wildcats from 2003-2006 before graduating in May of 2007. After graduating, Purdum spent a year at Avila University as an assistant coach before returning to Baker to spend two years on Grossner’s staff.
Coming out of college, Purdum weighed 215 pounds, so in order to pursue a professional career as a long snapper, he needed to put on some muscle.
“The number one thing he had to do was get bigger and he did that,” Grossner said. “He got up to 270 pounds and now I think he is hovering around 260 or 255 pounds, so that was the first obstacle for him.”
After going to numerous combines, pro days and camps, Purdum was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs in April of 2009. Purdum ended up being waved four months later, but went on to sign with the Jets in February of 2010.
Purdum signed a three-year rookie contract in 2010, which came to an end after last season.
“This was his next stage. In his profession and his position, that is a commitment from a team because the logical thing to do with a salary cap is in your fourth year, you are starting to make some really good money,” Grossner said. “The easy thing for a team to do is to go get a young buck and do the rookie thing again and go find a younger that they won’t have to pay as much, but then again, there is a risk involved there.”
While Purdum could not be reached to comment on signing the extension, Grossner indicated that Purdum told him that it “was a big sense of relief for him and his wife.”
“They have lived there for three years and it is always nice to know that the company you have been working for wants you,” Grossner said. “For a lot of teams, that is one position that is sewed up full time, so there are not a lot of openings. It is not like 32 teams are looking for a long snapper, so I think there was just a big sense of relief that he could stay there and be a New York Jet.”
Purdum’s accuracy on his snaps over the past three seasons has not been affected by the often cold and windy weather conditions in MetLife Stadium, where the Jets play their home games.
“I think his velocity helps overcome the weather that is there and the wind,” Grossner said. “That is another thing that you don’t even think about is that some guys grow up (playing) in a dome or for their career are able to snap in that kind of atmosphere. He has probably been tested more than anybody in his three years as far as elements and it is difficult.”