|Drescher is snappin' for the Saints|
|Written by Chris Lee|
He was quietly working when he received a phone call from an NFL team. Three hours later he was on a plane to catch an NFL workout. Six days later he was playing for that NFL team on national television. Oh, and it was Thanksgiving Day.
For Justin Drescher, 22, a whirlwind week led him straight to New Orleans, La. and the New Orleans Saints NFL football team.
He was back home in Texas Friday, Nov. 19 substitute teaching when he received a call from the New Orleans Saints who wanted the former Colorado Buffalo long snapper to hop on a plane so he could work out for the team. After what Drescher called a “really great workout,” the Saints decided to suit up veteran long snapper Jake Ingram for that Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Ingram was waived by the team after the game and Drescher was called again Monday, Nov. 22. This time the trip was worth it. After being presented with a Saints #47 jersey, he traveled with the team to Arlington, Texas where the Saints played the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
Justin Drescher is pictured at left with his grandmother Susanne and brother
“It was surreal,” Drescher said. Not only was the game on Thanksgiving, one of the biggest television days for the NFL, he was also playing in front of numerous friends and family in Cowboys stadium. “It was awesome,” he added.
After the Saints’ close 30-27 victory, Drescher was able to say he has never lost in either the new or old Cowboys stadiums.
During his junior and senior varsity years at Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas, his Dragons team posted a perfect 32-0 record while winning back-to-back 5A Texas state titles. Playoff games were played at what was then Texas Stadium. Cowboy Stadium was completed in 2009.
With the addition of Drescher, the snapper, holder (Chase Daniel) and place kicker (Garrett Hartley) for the Saints all went to the same high school. Daniel was the quarterback while Drescher played. Drescher is renting a room from Hartley for the time being until he sees how everything pans out with the Saints.
“I’m just living the dream,” the rookie said.
Drescher’s grandmother, Susanne, lives in Holyoke and had a busy holiday weekend when she went to Dallas to see her grandson Jonathan (Justin’s younger brother) play on the big stage in the 5A state playoffs. She was able to see Justin, who only days earlier had played on the very same field his brother was playing on.
Drescher said Holyoke holds a special place in his heart as his father, Jay, grew up and played sports for the Dragons. Jay’s aunt Dorothy Sisneros also lives in Holyoke. Justin said he loves coming back during the 4th of July each year to rip it up on the golf course.
Drescher was the long snapper for the Colorado Buffaloes from 2006-2009. He was recruited solely as a snapper and won the position as a true freshman. Drescher handled every snap all four years of his college career.
After graduating in December 2009 with his bachelor’s degree, he continued to work out and keep in shape. He always knew he wanted to try and compete at the NFL level but didn’t ever know when the opportunity would present itself.
He was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Atlanta Falcons last spring, only to be released in June.
He spent time substitute teaching because he knew he wanted to control his own schedule. “I had some trips lined up and substituting made things easier,” Drescher said. He also kept his focus on keeping in shape and healthy.
Drescher said getting the opportunity at the right time seems to be the way things work in the NFL.
The country has watched as Danny Woodhead from North Platte, Neb. was given a chance to show what he could do and now is a regular running back for the New England Patriots—while being one of the smallest players in the NFL.
The long snapper said the level of play is completely different at the next level. “The NFL is made up of the best college players just as college was made up of the best high school players,” Drescher said.
He noted the size and speed in the NFL is intense. “Football is a job and you have to be on top of your game,” Drescher said.
He said his cell phone and Facebook account have been extremely busy with friends and family offering words of support after his NFL debut.
His grandmother said playing in the NFL has always been his dream and she is proud of him. On the flip side, Drescher said, “My grandma has been a great influence and inspiration in my life.”
“I’m doing my best to thank people,” he said. He even said the support from Holyoke, a town he has never lived in, has been great.