We kick off our first 'Blue Zoo' page -- a look at some Bombers away from the field -- by profiling Chris Cvetkovic. Just so readers are aware, long-snappers don't get a whole lot of interview requests from the media. And so when we asked to speak to Cvetkovic, he was slightly taken aback.

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This article was published 4/7/2009 (4743 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Opinion

 Blue Bomber Chris Cvetkovic is the team artist, comedian and long-snapper. Obby Khan (left) gets a big kick out of a recent Cvetkovic caricature drawn in the locker-room.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Blue Bomber Chris Cvetkovic is the team artist, comedian and long-snapper. Obby Khan (left) gets a big kick out of a recent Cvetkovic caricature drawn in the locker-room.

We kick off our first 'Blue Zoo' page -- a look at some Bombers away from the field -- by profiling Chris Cvetkovic. Just so readers are aware, long-snappers don't get a whole lot of interview requests from the media. And so when we asked to speak to Cvetkovic, he was slightly taken aback.

"Are you kidding?" he said with a chuckle. "What, it's the first week of the season and you've run out of guys to talk to?"

 

FREE PRESS: Something tells me you didn't grow up dreaming of being a long-snapper.

CVETKOVIC: Nah, that's a pretty low expectation if that's your goal. I was a receiver in college and the third-string long-snapper.

FREE PRESS: Third string? How the heck did you land this gig, then?

CVETKOVIC: True story that not a lot of people know: I wasn't a very good long-snapper in college and I actually put our starter, Rob Malone, on my highlight tape that I sent out to CFL teams. I put six snaps on my tape and it was actually him in four of the six snaps.

FREE PRESS: You're kidding me...

CVETKOVIC: No. Rob Malone was awesome. And I send him thank-yous every so often. What I did was cut the film off before he started running down the field because he was a big, chunky lineman.

So Saskatchewan signed me as a fullback and long-snapper. I thought, 'I really don't know anything about long-snapping' so I worked on it the whole off-season until my first training camp and here I am eight years later...

FREE PRESS: It's kind of an unappreciated skill. Most people think anybody with opposable thumbs could do what yo do.

CVETKOVIC: I'll admit it, it's pretty boring. It's hard to find someone to help you when you say, 'Hey, you want to catch 50 snaps from me?' So I made up my own drills: I snap at targets like garbage cans, water fountains... or little kickers like (Alexis) Serna. I used to say, 'I'm a football player.'

Now I say, 'I'm a snapper.' It's one of those specialized things. I'm the only guy who goes through camp and doesn't want to get noticed, because if I do it means something's gone wrong. I take a lot of pride in it. But, hey, I've been doing this for eight years and it's helped feed my family. If I had made it as a fullback I probably would have lasted four years. But because this is so specialized whenever I get to free agency it's like, 'Let's just sign this guy so we don't have to worry about it.'

FREE PRESS: You've gained some notoriety in the locker-room for your cartoon-like drawings, caricatures of your teammates. I've seen them and they're good. Tell us about that.

CVETKOVIC: I'm not going to toot my horn about many things, but they are pretty good. I'm just a joker. I've always been the class clown. It started because I figured that because I'm just the long-snapper I might as well try to bring some entertainment value. I just drew a picture of (former Bomber) Dom Picard one day on the white board in the locker-room, the guys got a kick out it. So next thing you know I've drawn 30 or 40 guys on the board, they're loving it and I start getting requests.

It's good clean humour, nobody gets offended. And it's a locker-room... if somebody does get offended everybody razzes them until they have to accept it. You've got to have thick skin.

FREE PRESS: I'm not trying to get all analytical, but this is part of your 'role' on this team, isn't it? You're one of those 'glue' guys that helps keep the clubhouse loose because I can't imagine you standing up at halftime and making a stirring speech to rally the troops...

CVETKOVIC: If the long-snapper did that, he'd get booed out of the locker-room. I'm not a rah-rah guy. I've always kept it light. We've had a really good locker-room, even in the past when things were rough. There's not a lot of mutiny-type talk. I've been fortunate. If I was on a team of really serious guys, straight shooters, I'd definitely be the outcast.

FREE PRESS: You do some pretty mean impersonations, too: Schwarzenegger, Quagmire from Family Guy.

CVETKOVIC: True. I seem to have a lot of skills that get you absolutely nowhere. Long-snapping is really the only one that took off for me.

FREE PRESS: You write a blog (http://www.xtremelifestylemag.com/chrisblog.html) and have a sponsor. I can't imagine there are many long-snappers that have an 'endorsement' deal...

CVETKOVIC: It's a once-a-month blog about training, very specialized training about long-snapping. But you're right, I don't think there's a big lineup of companies looking for guys who bend over for a living.

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Behind the face mask

 

CHRIS CVETKOVIC

Job title: Winnipeg Blue Bomber long-snapper

Age: 32

Hometown: Burlington, Ont.

Years with Bombers: 7

Family: wife: Ashley; two kids: son: Hudson (1 year old); daughter Payton (just over two years old).

Favourite TV shows: Family Guy, Biggest Loser.

Favourite movie: Snatch, Boondock Saints.

Favourite actor: I don't really have one, but Will Ferrell... he's not going to win an Oscar, but at least I know I'm going to laugh at his movies. I have to wear a diaper when I go to his movies.

Favourite musician/band: Anything but country. I like hip-hop, rap, R & B, rock, punk, jazz, alternative.