It’s no secret that many players in the NFL have continued playing with minor injuries or when they should have taken time off to heal lingering wounds. But long snapper Nick Sundberg of the Washington Redskins took it to a whole new level Sunday in a win over the New Orleans Saints.
Sundberg broke his arm, but still kept on playing.
There are cases of other players in the NFL breaking limbs and continuing to play, but a broken arm for a long snapper is a huge deal. Sundberg ended up snapping the ball four more times after breaking his arm. Those snaps were twice for field goals and twice for extra points.
At one point during the third quarter, Sundberg went over to rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and had a simple request for him.
“I know we’re rolling right now, but keep it up,” Sundberg said he told Griffin. “Because I don’t want to go out there for another punt.”
Many may have seen this as a veteran urging on his rookie leader, and perhaps there was a little of that in it, but there was also more. Sundberg broke his left arm in the second quarter, on a play where the Saints blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. His arm actually got squeezed between a helmet and a facemask.
When it happened, he knew it, too.
Sundberg was in high school when the exact same bone was broken in his arm. Honestly, he should have come out of the game and sideline doctors even insisted that he go to the locker room and get an X-ray. But Sundberg was having none of it––he merely asked for something to ease the pain.
“I think at the end of the day, you’ve got to look at yourself and see what you’re made of,” Sundberg said. “It was terrible, but I felt like I really didn’t have another option.”
The upset victory over the Saints on Sunday was a huge day for the Redskins. RG3’s NFL debut was quite spectacular, but throw Sundberg’s heroic performance on top of it, and it was truly a day to be remembered.
“We’ve got a story to tell to our kids and our grandkids, how we played with a guy who played a whole game with a broken arm,” defensive tackle Barry Cofield said Monday. “I’m going to remember both. RG3’s going to come first, obviously, because that’s what they’re going to ask me about, but when my grandson scrapes his knee, I’ll tell him about the guy who played with a broken arm.”
Washington only has one premiere long snapper on the roster, but that is not something uncommon in the NFL as the 53-man amount really limits things. The Redskins have Will Montgomery listed as his back-up, but they’re likely going to have to go out and find another since Sundberg has a huge cast on his arm now.
Continued hits and pain inflicted on Sundberg’s arm could cause permanent damage and keep it from healing properly. He already sustained a lot more pain and harm just by staying in Sunday’s game and that was courageous enough as it is.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.