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John DeShazier: Saints hope Jon Dorenbos will solidify long snapper spot

Veteran from Eagles has second career as magician

By acquiring a magician, the New Orleans Saints hope to make their long-snapping concerns disappear.

It's an obvious (and corny) pun, but finding a long snapper has been a dilemma for the Saints this offseason.

The team has gone through several since last season ended – the partial list includes Thomas Gafford, Chase Dominguez and last season's long snapper, Justin Drescher – before New Orleans on Monday night made a trade with the Eagles to acquire Jon Dorenbos, who has a parallel career as a magician.

Dorenbos was a finalist on season 11 of the television show "America's Got Talent," performing his magic acts. He finished in third place for the season.

The 37-year-old is a two-time Pro Bowler who is entering his 15th season, and played his last 10 seasons in Philadelphia. In order to make room for Dorenbos, tight end John Phillips was placed on the reserve/injured list and the Saints terminated the contract of defensive end Jason Jones.

Dorenbos is available to play Thursday night in the preseason finale against Baltimore in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Drescher remained on the roster as of Tuesday.

Coach Sean Payton said he hoped that the acquisition of Dorenbos will solidify the position.

"Yes. Yes. You're paying attention to the teams with two (long snappers), not just the teams with two, the teams that truly have two that are in a competition," Payton said. "There is a little sense of urgency when a couple other teams (lose a long snapper). Chicago, for instance, lost a long snapper. This was something we'd discussed for a little bit and kind of came to fruition (Monday)."

Payton said Dorenbos' resume made the move a logical one.

"His consistency," Payton said. "He's a veteran player, there's a presence about him. He's done it over a long period of time now. He went through an injury a year ago but he's healthy now. I think his experience, that'll be important, especially for a young kicker (Wil Lutz).

"It's a little bit more subjective when you're able to look specifically at time, location of his snaps for punt, for field goal. (It) may be a little bit easier to evaluate than some others that are not as clean. So for us, it was really paying attention to the numbers and his experience. Those things all factored in."

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