Pro Bowler reflects on long road to NFL

Matt Overton has played the last two seasons with the Colts.

Brian Spurlock/Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Typically Pro Bowlers don’t have to take the scenic route to get into the NFL. Colts long snapper Matt Overton is different.

While Overton will be playing in Sunday’s Pro Bowl in Honolulu, it took him six years to step on an NFL field after going undrafted from Western Washington.

“I’m treating it like a once in a lifetime experience,” Overton told on Friday. “It’s awesome being here. We’re at a beautiful resort and Hawaii is obviously awesome.”

Overton, 28, was brought into rookie minicamp by the Seattle Seahawks in 2007, but was never signed. After stints in the now-defunct Arena2 Football League and United Football League, the Seahawks came calling again in 2010. It didn’t last long as he was released in training camp.

“Fortunately, the UFL was still there,” Overton said. “I went to Omaha, Nebraska and played for the Omaha team for the next two years and then was cut there in 2011. In 2012, I went to a long snapping clinic in Arizona and that’s where the Colts coach Brant Boyer spotted me.

“He brought me in for a workout and I made the team.”

Now, Overton is among the NFL’s elite this week. The players have practiced at Pearl Harbor in front of the military and their families and have visited local high schools. He also learned one key lesson from the veterans in his first Pro Bowl.

“Don’t let anyone know this is your first year at the Pro Bowl,” Overton said with a laugh. “I’ve heard that they’ll start to throw the tab on your room so I definitely haven’t let anyone know what room I’m in. I’m staying clear from the bar.”

So, how do long snappers differentiate themselves among the other 32 special teams aces?

“There are 32 of us in the NFL and they’re all really good,” Overton said. “To be a good long snapper you need to be precise, accurate and reliable each time you step on the field. I’ve had good snaps for the past two seasons and I’ve been making a lot of tackles, which is icing on the cake for long snappers. I’m also snapping to a future Hall of Famer in Adam Vinatieri.”

Overton’s family joined him for the pre-game festivities and he has been relishing every moment. It has also been a good time to reflect on the season and the windy path to getting here.

“Being in the NFL is an honor, but making the Pro Bowl in my second year sometimes I can’t even wrap my mind around it.”