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Five things to know about Tyler Ott

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The Washington Commanders decided to add some competition at long snapper by signing veteran Tyler Ott. Here are five things to know about the new special teams contributor for the Burgundy & Gold.

1. He was a three-sport athlete in high school.

Ott is known for doing one job in the NFL, but his athletic roots go deeper than just snapping a football better than most people.

Ott was a talented athlete at Jenks High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and operated as a leader for the football, basketball and track and field teams. He served as a three-year captain for the football team, earning all-state and all-district recognition as a tight end. Jenks went to three state championships during Ott's time with the team, winning one in 2007.

Ott was a member of Jenks' basketball team in the last two seasons of his high school career and was named a senior captain. The Trojans went 27-2 during his junior year and 15-13 during his senior year before being eliminated by Putnam City in the playoffs in both seasons.

Ott also showed exceptional talent as a member of the track and field team, specializing in the discus and shot put. He finished his career with personal bests of 50-feet-2 inches in shot put and 148-feet-9 inches in discus.

2. He has previous experience working with Larry Izzo.

The 2024 season is not the first time Ott and Commanders special teams coordinator Larry Izzo have been on the same time. They spent four seasons together with the Seattle Seahawks, and Izzo left quite an impression on the long snapper.

"The energy he played with, he brings that coaching," Ott said. "He's gonna get the rest of these guys and myself to play really hard for him."

Izzo's special teams units as a coach are often recognized as some of the best in football. His unit played a key role in helping the New York Giants reach the Super Bowl, and in his last three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, the team had top 10 DVOA special teams rankings, finishing eighth in 2023.

For people like Ott, who played for the Seahawks from 2018-21, Izzo's influence is easy to spot.

"You see that on the tape from the time we were in Seattle," Ott said. "And I think you're gonna see it on the tape moving forward, just with guys running around and hitting, having a good time on special teams and I think bringing pride to the special teams unit and hopefully making a difference in games."

Take a look back at long snapper Tyler Ott's career before coming to Washington. (Photos via The Associated Press)

3. He has a personal connection to March of Dimes.

The NFL's "My Cause, My Cleats" initiative is a unique time for NFL players. It's an opportunity for them to represent a charitable cause that they care about and show that there's more to life to being a professional athlete.

Ott's cause in 2023, March of Dimes, has a more personal connection to his life.

Ott was born five weeks prematurely and spent nearly two weeks in neonatal intensive care. Babies born prematurely have an increased risk of developing both physical and mental disabilities, but Ott left the hospital in perfect health and went on to graduate from Harvard with a degree in Economics and a minor in Environmental Science & Public Policy.

"It's such an easy cause to be passionate for because we firsthand experienced what families go through with premature birth," Ott told FOX 5 in 2023.

March of Dimes is focused on ending preventable preterm birth and infant death. Among their many accomplishments, they helped advocate for 192 state and federal bills, 49 of which were signed into law to improve health equity, access and prevention.

Check out more information about March of Dimes **HERE.**

4. Snapping is more complicated than it seems.

On the surface, it looks like long snapper is a binary action; you're either good at it, in which case you can have a long NFL career, or you're bad at it.

The position is more complicated than that, according to Ott.

"It's always a mental game, every week and day is different – I liken it to golf, where one day my driver's going down the middle and the next day I'm slicing it into the woods," Ott told The Team 980. "Snapping is like that in a lot of ways; your laces might not be perfect day to day, but then you find a way to battle through and adjust, and you're constantly improving your craft."

On top of that, Ott has to adjust his snaps to match the preferences of the holder and punter. That doesn't take too long, but there is a learning curve to changing his operation.

"Tress will have to pick up on Brandon's keys when he's ready, and to really get into it, it probably takes two or three practices and we'll have this whole kind of off-season together to really like to find each other's keys, and maybe a few weeks of practices to really just not even have to think about the rhythm, and be on cue with each other, where we know where Tress likes to catch it or the speed of the snap," Ott said.

5. He has a long relationship with Tress Way.

The 2024 season marks the first time Ott and Commanders punter Tress Way will play together, but their relationship goes back much further than the NFL.

Way, an undrafted free agent in 2013, attended Union High School -- Jenks' rival school -- and the two even played against each other. Union normally got the better of Jenks during Ott's time with the team -- Way even hit a game-winning PAT against Jenks in 2007 -- but the Trojans did beat the Redhawks in the state championship game.

That might come up a couple of times in some friendly banter during practice.

"I've been in contact with Tress already, right when we found out I was gonna come sign here," Ott said. "I'm excited to get the band back together.

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