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August 6, 2013 - Mike McLain
First it was offensive lineman John Greco, and now long snapper Christian Yount has signed a contract extension with the Browns.
It might not seem like big news, but as the Browns discovered two seasons ago an ineffective long snapper can be a dangerous thing.
You might remember Ryan Pontbriand, a long snapper the Browns selected in the fifth round of the 2003 draft out of Rice. Butch Davis, the coach at the time, was criticized for using a draft pick on a long snapper, but he claimed that he had never seen a better player at the position.
Pontbriand proved to be everything Davis said he was, putting the ball into the holder's hands on field-goal and point-after kicks and the punter's hands with remarkable accuracy. Former Browns kicker Phil Dawson often raved about Pontbriand's skills, claiming that the snaps usually placed the ball with the seams pointed toward the target.
For reasons no one can explain, Pontbriand lost his skills during the 2011 season. He was waived after a poor performance in a 13-12 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Yount was signed a couple of weeks later and has been as steady as Pontbriand was early in his career.
The extension continues the plan to lock up key players for the long term. Greco was signed through the 2017 season prior to the start of training camp. Don't be surprised if a long-term deal is worked out for center Alex Mack, who hasn't missed a start since being selected in the first round of the 2009 draft.
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