Eagles Sign Key Special Teams Player to Contract Extension

Rick Lovato

Getty Eagles long snapper Rick Lovato signed a four-year contract extension to keep him in Philadelphia through 2023.

The Eagles decided to make a key special teamer a part of their long-term plans. The team signed long-snapper Rick Lovato to a four-year contract extension Tuesday that will keep him in midnight green through 2023.

Lovato, a native of Neptune, NJ (about 73 miles from Philadelphia), had assumed long-snapping duties after Jon Dorenbos was jettisoned to New Orleans in 2016. He had filled in as an injury replacement before the Eagles decided to give him the gig on a full-time basis. Dorenbos, of course, went on to get a Super Bowl ring anyway — and the Eagles kind of saved his life by trading him.

It is tough to gauge a long snapper’s effectiveness since there are no tangible statistics to look at. However, Lovato has been considered a bright spot for their special-teams unit. The 27-year-old has appeared in 45 regular-season games, plus four playoff games and Super Bowl LII.

“To know that I’m going to be here for the next four years is incredible,” Lovato told the Eagles’ official website. “It’s what I’ve been looking forward to since the day I first got here and that’s being with this team for the rest of my career.”

Kicker Jake Elliott and punter Cameron Johnston seem to enjoy a great working relationship with Lovato, too. That’s the most important part of a long snapper’s job. Elliott hasn’t missed a kick this season: he’s a perfect 13-for-13.

Lovato Fueled Speculation of Fake Walk-Through in Super Bowl LII

Remember the story that leaked after Super Bowl LII? The one saying the Eagles pulled a fake walk-through to ensure the Patriots couldn’t spy on them. That was a tale later confirmed by Rick Lovato.

“I believe our whole walk-through was just a complete fake walk-through,” Lovato told 95.3 WDAE in Tampa. “We did it at the stadium. There were certain people walking around.”

Certain people, probably with Patriots logos on their clothes.

“We already had our game plan set all week for the last two weeks,” Lovato said. “We had two weeks to prepare for that game. A measly walk-through the day before the game, we weren’t going to show anything to anyone, especially being at the stadium.”

More Special Teams Moves Coming for Eagles?

Rick Lovato may have been the first chip to fall on the Eagles’ special-teams unit.

The team is rumored to be in talks to extend kicker Jake Elliott and punter Cameron Johnston. Elliott will be a restricted free agent after the season while Johnston will be an exclusive-rights free agent in 2020.

Elliott, famed for that 61-yard field goal versus the Giants, has been a consistent presence for Philadelphia. He has gone a perfect 13-for-13 this season while going 65-of-75 since taking over kicking duties in 2017. The only knock on him would be that he sometimes misses extra points — seven, to be exact.

Johnston has been a revelation in his second season with the Eagles. He is averaging 47.8 yards per punt and ranks third in the NFL this year with a long of 61 yards, plus 15 punts inside the 20-yard line. Johnston booted an 81-yarder in 2018 that garnered interest around the league.

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