May 14, 2014
WASHINGTON - Former Georgetown University football long snapper Craig Montgomery (C'13) has earned an invitation to Rookie Mini Camp with the Chicago Bears beginning on Thursday, May 15. Montgomery will be competing for a contract and invitation to training camp in August.
Montgomery, a Sarasota native, finished his career on the Hilltop in 2012 after starting 39-of-43 games at long snapper from 2009-12. After earning a starting spot early in his freshman season, Montgomery was a very reliable, unheralded, part of the Georgetown kick and punt units that put up program-best numbers over a three-year stretch from 2010-12.
"For an NFL long snapper you need to be a robot," Montgomery said. "You have to snap 100-percent perfect every single time. You need to snap exactly where they want it, from the top of the knee to the belly button. The first year, I was a little bit low with my snaps at times," Montgomery said. "This year I did great, my snap speed has improved every year, I put on some good weight, I got quicker. I definitely didn't get faster, but I got quicker."
Montgomery's hard work and persistence has paid dividends, as he will finally receive his opportunity in an NFL camp a full year after his own graduation. Through the process, he stayed positive realizing that the long snapper position was different than positions played by his Georgetown teammates looking to move to the next level.
"Long snappers are a little different than normal positions and more like kickers and punters," Montgomery said. "There is a lot less injuries in those positions, so it takes longer to get noticed and to get that opportunity. I had a lot of teams that said no to me because of my size and my weight, that they wanted someone a little heavier. I had a couple teams that said they didn't want to bring in competition for their starter, because they like him, they're happy with him right now and they didn't want to mess with his head. So I'm in a really lucky predicament because the Bear's long snapper of 16 years retired."
Upon graduation in 2013, Montgomery returned home to Florida and went to work for Modis, an information technology services recruiting firm, in Tampa. He continued to work out, trying to add weight to his then 215-pound frame.
In the morning he would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to go for workouts that would last as long as two hours, before returning home for one extra hour of sleep. Then he would wake up again, eat breakfast and go to work. The work days would go from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., with a lunch time spent eating and then fitting in a power nap or taking his dogs out for a run.
During that time, Montgomery's agent reached out to him to inform him of interest from NFL teams and to make sure his client was continuing to work on his long snapping. While Montgomery had added 15 pounds to his frame, he was not always able to get in a suitable amount of snaps per day.
"I didn't have enough time to get somebody to catch snaps for me and give a good hour-and-a-half to two hours of snapping," Montgomery said. "So I talked to my boss, he was a kicker at Florida and he went through the combine process, so he understood and he told me, "you did a great job here, but just go and win a spot."
Montgomery left Modis and went to work in the late summer getting in anywhere from 1,000 snaps on a heavy day to 50-to-100 kick and punt snaps on a light day. He also went to Kinesiologist Aaron Mattes, who he interned with for three years during his college career to perform active isolated stretching, as a way of gaining flexibility and keeping his shoulders loose.
"(Mattes) has worked on a lot of pro guys, he's worked on a ton of Olympians, he optimizes flexibility and strength, which has definitely helped me," Montgomery said. "With long snapping it's how fast you can get the ball back and how accurate you can be doing it."
Montgomery will be one of four Georgetown football players during the last three years to earn a mini-camp invitation, joining Andrew Schaetzke, Robert McCabe and Dustin Wharton, who will work out with the Baltimore Ravens this weekend.
"I leave Thursday and I can't wait," Montgomery said. "Hopefully they'll sign me and I can continue to compete during the preseason. My agent said that if they like me this weekend and think I do well that they'll keep me up there for the rest of the summer to continue to train."