JagNation Notebook: Should Joe Z. Be Worried?

With the lack of guaranteed contracts in the NFL, job security is something that just about every player has to worry about on a yearly, and some guys on a weekly basis. That statement is infinitely true regarding any position on the special teams, especially kickers, punters, and long-snappers.

The Jaguars have a long-snapper who is somewhat of a cult hero among the Jaguars community and his name is none other than Joe Zelenka. Joe Zelenka has become famous around town, not only for his superior long-snapping skills, which very few of his snaps are even an inch off target, but for his sparkling personality. Zelenka appears on many local television shows involving the Jaguars, and has the ability to make anyone laugh. Zelenka is a great locker room guy, and a great community guy, and fan favorite, as he enters his ninth season from Wake Forest. Zelenka is the only long-snapper that we know of, that has his own fan club. The amount of members are in the hundreds, and Zelenka appreciates their presence, as he visits the fan club President "Arrow Man", who is in the National Football League Hall of Fame.

There could be some trouble on the horizon for Joe Z. Last season, the Jaguars brought in a younger tight end/long-snapper named Greg Estandia that challenged Joe Z. for his job. Joe Z. obviously won the job, but Estandia remained on the practice squad, and will likely challenge Joe Z. again in '07. Another possible suitor for the long-snapper position may be recent UTEP grad, Aaron King. King was at the scouting combine this year, and has had a personal workout with the Jaguars, according to Ed Thompson.

Zelenka's contract expires at the end of the 2008 season, and the Jaguars are not in any kind of salary cap bind, so his $720,000 salary for '07, and $730,000 salary for '08 really isn't holding the team hostage. The team would save less than $400,000 if they cut Joe Z., and signed one of the rookies. If Joe Z. is to stay employed by the team in 2007, he'll have to win his job outright like he's done for the last six seasons in Jacksonville.

Jags Illustrated Top Stories