[size=18px]Q&A with Cullen Loeffler, Vikings long snapper[/size]

Angela Busch, Star Tribune
Last update: August 02, 2006 – 8:47 PM

Cullen Loeffler. Not the most common name in the world, nor is it easy to pronounce. Of course, most Vikings fans won't need to worry about pronouncing Loeffler's name this season. He's the team's long snapper.
"In this position, you're doing your job if no one knows your name," Loeffler said.

Loeffler didn't start long snapping until he was a sophomore at the University of Texas. In high school, he was accustomed to greater glory as a defensive end and quarterback.

His dad, Tom, went from playing cornerback at Texas to become a U.S. Congressman.

Cullen Loeffler's not sure if he'll take a similar path. But he already has attended the White House Christmas dinner as a guest of Jenna Bush. On the rain-soaked practice field in Mankato, Loeffler talked about the hidden benefits, humility requirements and overall ins and outs of life as an often-forgotten player in an NFL world filled with stars.

Q What does it mean to you to be a long snapper?

A It's the best job a guy could ever ask for. This position can give you longevity in the league.

Q When did you start learning how to do it?

A As a sophomore in college at Texas, Coach Mack Brown suggested the idea to me. I was reluctant. I was just a kid ... I didn't have my head on straight yet.

Q What's the best part about being a long snapper?

A You really feel like you're helping the team, especially after a long drive, and it comes down to you to get the ball to the kicker so your team can score. You've really gotta buy into the team aspect.

Q What's the worst part?

A Your career can be over in one snap.

Q Your dad started with football and ended up in politics. Do you see yourself following that path?

A I don't know about that. There's lots of pressure.

Q As much pressure as there is on you to get the ball snapped to the kicker in a crucial situation?

A Probably more pressure there on the football field in that situation. (smiles)

Q Speaking of politics, tell me about your friendship with the Bush daughters.

A Well, Jenna Bush went to college with me. I met her through some mutual friends.

Q Did you ever meet her dad?

A I actually got to go to the White House Christmas party two years ago. It was a great night. Great food, great entertainment. And I got to shake hands with the president.

Q I heard you got married right before camp?

A Yep, on July 22 in Austin, Texas. I'd be in trouble if I got the date wrong. ... We got married at the Methodist church there and had the reception at the Hilton. It was perfect.

Q Did you have time for a honeymoon?

A Nope. I had to get right on a plane and head north. We'll have to wait until after the season.

Q So she's still in Austin?

A Yep.

Q Is that hard?

A Yeah, it's real hard. But here at camp, the sole focus is football. For better or worse.

Q What's her name?

A Jardin (pronounced like Jordan)

Q If you have a son, will you teach him to be a long snapper?

A Definitely. I'll show him everything about it. I won't let him play anything else. That is, unless he wanted to be a golfer.

Q&A with Cullen Loeffler, Vikings long snapper