Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
April 8, 2009 5:42 PM
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Two herniated disks resulted in one three-and-a-half-hour surgery and no rookie season for Tyler Schmitt, the man drafted in the sixth round to solve Seattle's long-snapping woes.
He suffered nerve pain down his legs during training camp last August, which resulted from two disks that were pushing down on a nerve in his back. He was placed on injured reserve at the end of training camp and underwent surgery on Sept. 4.
It was called a micro-dissectemy, and true to the name, the procedure was plenty specific.
"They went in there and they went through my spine," Schmitt said. "And they actually took parts of those disks out that were hitting my nerves. Because I was getting nerve pain down my leg."
Schmitt was out of the hospital that night, but for the first month after surgery it was painful to even walk. His mother came up to Seattle, to help take him out. By this offseason he had resumed training and this week he's back at Seahawks training camp, taking his first steps toward showing he's the long-term answer at long snapper.
The position has been a revolving door in Seattle since J.P. Darche went down with a hip injury in the first week of the 2006 season. The Seahawks used Derek Rackley for about a year, tried the eminently forgettable Boone Stutz experience for a few weeks and last season brought back Jeff Robinson, who was most literally a gray-bearded veteran.
This offseason, Seattle brought in a couple of veteran long-snappers for interviews, including Bryan Pittman, but right now the job is open for Schmitt to win.
"My back feels great," Schmitt said. "I'm 100 percent right now."