Rick Lovato is saving the spotlight for someone else.
The Eagles' new long snapper steps in after the team parted ways with Jon Dorenbos – a relationship that lasted 11 seasons and 162 games. The unavoidable reality remains, however, that the Eagles did what was best for the organization in acquiring a 2019 seventh-round draft pick for Dorenbos. The NFL is a business, and that's just how Lovato is handling the situation.
"I'm not necessarily trying to fill his shoes because he did such a good job here," Lovato said. "Honestly, there's no taking anything away from him so I just want to come in here and do my job and be unnoticed and do what I have to do."
Lovato understands how challenging a task it will be to supplant what Dorenbos brought to the team and the City of Philadelphia off the field and doesn't necessarily have intentions on replicating that. Instead, Lovato acknowledged what a tremendous individual and mentor Dorenbos was for him.
"He really was such a big part of this city, this organization, what he did in this locker room. I felt that the moment I met him when I came in here last year and it's hard to take that away from him," Lovato admitted.
"He helped me developed into the snapper that I am and being a guy that's going into his third year it's just still tough to be able to learn things really that I haven't been able to experience yet but he has."
Lovato has to move forward like the City of Philadelphia and the rest of the players in the Eagles' locker room. Fortunately, he's already had experience working with punter Donnie Jones. Late last season, Lovato filled in admirably during the team's final three games after Dorenbos went down with a wrist injury. Although he and Jones have yet to take a snap together this preseason, the game reps the two shared toward the end of last season should prove valuable.
"It was a huge thing for me because that work there got me comfortable with them in regular-season games and that's the most important part. That's what we're getting ready for, the Washington Redskins," Lovato stated. "So having that and now working with (Donnie) again. It's been a while since we've been working together because we haven't taken many reps together, but I feel like we can get back on that pace pretty quickly because we have done it before."
The coaching staff proceeds with confidence in their decision to move forward with Lovato. Most importantly, it helped to have special teams coordinator extraordinaire Dave Fipp show his support for the 24-year-old long snapper.
"(Coach Fipp) was very positive. He knows how hard I've been working this whole Training Camp and he really truly believed I deserved this job," Lovato stated. "It was something that I loved to hear from him because he is my coach and that's all I want is honesty."
Likewise, head coach Doug Pederson lamented the loss of Dorenbos and admitted just how much of a staple he was in Philadelphia, but offered praise for Lovato's work.
"Without getting into a lot of the details, Rick has done a nice job, even going back to last season when he came in late in the season and filled in for us last year. He's done a good job," Pederson indicated. "At the end of the day, (we) felt like he was in a good position to help our football team."
The Middletown, New Jersey native will have plenty of people supporting him. Lovato's family hasn't missed a game dating back to his college days at Old Dominion.
"I just feel really comfortable in Philly. I just always felt being here, I was here for a reason," Lovato said. "I just want to go in and keep my head down. Do my job. Not try to be noticeable or anything like that, but I really hold myself to a high standard so I wanted to win this job overall. I felt like I did that and I'm just really happy about how it happened."