CHEYENNE – Getting three camp invites and being part of a tryout might have discouraged some players trying to make their way into the NFL.
Those flirtations only encouraged Jacob Bobenmoyer. They motivated him to continue honing his long snapping and working on the deficiencies that had been pointed out to him during those camps.
The 2015 Cheyenne East graduate’s perseverance paid off last week when he signed a three-year free agent contract with the Denver Broncos.
“I was a little discouraged when I wasn’t one of the guys they signed to a futures contract after I tried out with them in December,” Bobenmoyer said. “I tried to not get my hopes up too high when they reached out to me about three weeks ago. They just needed some time to figure things out.
“I continued to grind, and it has paid off so far.”
Bobenmoyer was a preferred walk on linebacker at the University of Northern Colorado. He became the Bears’ starting long snapper during fall camp his true freshman year, and eventually earned a scholarship. The 6-foot-2, 238-pounder also played linebacker for the Football Championship Subdivision school, and tallied 24 tackles and blocked a punt.
Bobenmoyer spent a weekend in the Chicago Bears’ rookie minicamp, where he spent the majority of his time snapping for field goals. That wasn’t a surprise, considering Chicago’s run in the 2018 playoffs ended in the Wild Card round when kicker Cody Parkey’s 43-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter bounced off the left upright and then the crossbar before falling into the end zone to secure a victory for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The ball appeared to be tipped at the line of scrimmage, but the Bears eventually released Parkey. Coach Matt Nagy spent rookie camp and training camp putting several potential kickers through the paces, including having them attempt several 43-yarders.
“I probably did only 10 punt snaps per day,” Bobenmoyer said. “That was a blessing in disguise, because I had been wanting to really focus on my field goal snapping, so I got to work on it a lot that weekend. I probably did 250 or 300 short snaps in three days there.”
Bobenmoyer spent the following weekend at the Broncos’ rookie minicamp. He performed well enough there that he earned an invitation to veteran minicamp.
He struggled there, especially when it came to blocking defenders crossing into the backfield.
“The crossers are usually (defensive backs), who run 4.4s and 4.5s in the 40,” he said. “They got me tangled up quite a bit.”
Bobenmoyer also admits to being more than a little starstruck as he walked around the Broncos’ facility.
“I’d be walking down the hallway and see (linebacker) Von Miller, or (quarterback) Joe Flacco,” he said. “They were really good dudes and normal people, but I had a Fat Head of Von Miller on my wall growing up. I remember thinking, ‘Man, I’m on the same team as this guy!’
“I think it took me out of it mentally. I was better prepared for it when I went back for my workout in December.”
Bobenmoyer earned an exercise physiology degree from Northern Colorado. He tried to get a job in the medical field and was told he was overqualified for some and underqualified for others. He eventually landed a full-time job working in a warehouse in Castle Rock, Colorado. That job started early enough Bobenmoyer could start training at Elite Speed Performance in Centennial, Colorado, each afternoon.
Bobenmoyer also set out to improve his blocking footwork and learn how to better handle speedy players crossing his path.
He employed friends to alternate rushing straight at him after a snap and crossing after a snap. They also would throw softballs at him that he would have to use his footwork to get in front of and block.
“You always hear that nothing gets you in football shape like actually playing football, and I think nothing actually gets you ready to try and block guys like actually doing it,” Bobenmoyer said. “But there were things I could do to simulate what I had struggled with and try to get better at it.
“I broke it down and did it as slowly as I could before I started speeding it up. Eventually, it became second nature at game speed.”
Bobenmoyer showed enough improvement at a December tryout that Broncos special teams coordinator Tom McMahon told him to stay ready in case the team decided to move on from fourth-year snapper Casey Kreiter.
That call finally came earlier this month, and Bobenmoyer put pen to paper March 11.
He has since cut his warehouse hours to a part-time level so he has more time to train. He planned to spend this weekend working out at Special Teams University in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Bobenmoyer has his foot in the door, now he wants to carve out an NFL career.
“I really like McMahon, and I have always kind of been a Broncos fan since I grew up in Wyoming,” Bobenmoyer said. “I’m just so excited to being playing football again. I don’t really care about the money.
“I would play for the league minimum every year. That’s more money than I’d make in any job I went to school for.”