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New Long Snapper Taybor Pepper Welcomes Opportunity With Dolphins

For the first time in 14 years, the Dolphins will have a new long snapper. His name is Taybor Pepper, but the truth is he's hoping he's forgotten very quickly.

Pepper was signed Monday, the same the day the Dolphins released veteran John Denney, who had handled the team's long-snapping duties since 2005.

"Coming here, I'm not trying to be the new John Denney, you know what I mean?" Pepper said. "I'm here to play my style of football and snap the ball and be perfect and be famous for not being known at all. Like, Who? Taybor Pepper who? That's what I want people to say when they hear my name."

It's kind of the goal of any long-snapper, really, because the only time their names are mentioned usually is when things go awry and an errant snap plays a big role in the outcome of a game.

Another way long-snappers get recognized is if they stay on the job for a long time, which certainly applies to Denney.

It's what Pepper now is shooting for. It's actually been his goal since he ended his collegiate career at Michigan State in 2015. The goal never wavered, not even when he out of football the entire 2018 season.

"Every opportunity I've gotten, I've learned a little bit more and I've gotten better," Pepper said, "so I knew that it was going to reach a point to where a team can't say no to me eventually. So quitting was never really in the equation."

The Dolphins were that team that came calling, two days after the New York Giants waived Pepper, ending his quest to unseat 13-year veteran Zac DeOssie.

This actually was the first time Pepper went through an entire training camp. Nobody signed him after he went undrafted in 2016, so he sat out that season. He signed with Green Bay in January of 2017 but was waived in May. He then was picked up by the Ravens late in the preseason that summer but was waived again before the start of the regular season.

His big chance came with the Packers in September 2017 and he played in four games before his season ended when he was placed on injured reserve because of a fractured foot.

Then came last year when the Packers declined to make him a qualifying offer and he became a free agent, leading to him missing the entire season.

"I trained," Pepper said. "I was lucky enough when I was put on IR to have enough money to where I could really focus on training and taking care of my body. I drove for Lyft just to keep my sanity because I was sitting at home most of the day, but other than that I was pretty lucky and fortunate that I was able to get IR money and stuff like that."

Pepper will become the first Dolphins long-snapper other than Denney since Ed Perry in 2004.

"I've been preparing to be an NFL long-snapper since I graduated college," Pepper said. "Going into camp with the Giants and competing with Zac (DeOssie), he's going on his 13th season, I think of got me in the right mindset if it were to happen in that situation.

"I had a couple tryouts here and there (last season), but the thing I've learned with this league is literally anything can happen and when I think I've had everything happen to me, something new happens. So this (signing with the Dolphins) was definitely new. My main goal going into training camp wasn't to win just the spot at New York but to put out film that could win me spots all across the league and I'm here now."

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