Long snapper is not the most glamourous position on the field. A long snapper is rarely a household-name player. Kids are not fighting to play the long snapper in the street or backyard. It is a position that does not make much of an impact on the fans watching the game unless a bad snap costs a team points.
When it comes to Miami Dolphins long snapper Blake Ferguson, his on-the-field impact may not always get noticed, but his off-the-field impact is something that should turn him into a household name. This year’s Salute to Service award nominee for the Dolphins, Ferguson has turned family ties to the military into a desire to serve service members and their families.
“I am incredibly proud to be nominated for the Salute to Service Award,” Ferguson recently shared with The Phinsider. “My appreciation for the service-members who keep us safe every day can’t be overstated. I have family members who’ve served, and my best friend was deployed as well so I understand the sacrifices our military endure. Providing them with all of the support I can is the least I can do.”
Ferguson’s grandfathers, Jim Seale and Robert Ferguson, his great uncle, Jerry Seale, and his great grandfather, Howard Seale, all served. That family tradition, as well as a close friendship with Air Force veteran Kiley Greathouse, an equipment manager at LSU while Ferguson was there, was a driving force early in Ferguson’s life leading to a desire to assist military members in any way possible.
“Giving back to the community is something that my family instilled in me at a very young age,” Ferguson explained. “I remember growing up, my grandfather brought us along to give out Christmas presents to community members who were in need. So giving back is something that is something that I love to do and I am blessed to be in position to have a positive impact.”
The Dolphins have routinely looked to support the military in any way possible. Ferguson, a sixth-round pick by Miami in 2020, has looked to do anything and everything he can to be involved in those efforts. While the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of the 2020 philanthropic efforts for the Dolphins - and everyone - to move into a virtual setting, Ferguson did what he could last year and has led an effort this year to get back out into the community to assist.
Ferguson has spent time working with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a non-profit organization designed to provide comfort, care, and resources to people grieving the loss of a military loved one. According to the TAPS website, in 2020, they averaged assistance to 21 new survivors every day. Many of the staff members of TAPS are themselves survivors of a loss of a military loved one who are now looking to help others as they deal with a tragic loss.
Just reaching out and doing anything you can to assist TAPS in their mission is noteworthy. Ferguson is not done there however. He has also developed a military appreciation BBQ event for military personnel veterans, and families in the South Florida area.
Ferguson’s charitable work is not limited to just his support of the military. His My Cause, My Cleats effort was focused on JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Ferguson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 13 years old. He reaches out to kids who have been recently diagnosed with diabetes to share his experience with them, as well as make sure they know they can do whatever they want in their life - the diagnosis does not prevent them from reaching their dreams. In a video produced by the Dolphins, Ferguson explained that, when he was diagnosed, he had professional athletes make sure he knew he could continue to play sports, and he uses that as the motivation to continue to give back as well.
Ferguson has played in all 31 games since being selected by the Dolphins. He played 52 games at LSU from 2015 through 2019, and was a two-year captain. He followed his brother Reid at LSU, taking over the long-snapping duties from him. Reid signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 2016, spending time on the practice squad before making the 53-man roster in 2017 and appearing in all 79 available games since then. The brothers see each other twice a year in the annual AFC East division rivals home-and-home series.
Ferguson has locked down the long snapper position for Miami, a position that from 2005 through 2018 belonged to a two-time Pro Bowler in John Denney. He is becoming a key member of the team’s special teams and he is making an impact on the field.
But, it is not about the on-field impact of Ferguson that should make him a household name. And it is not the on-field performance that Ferguson is trying to establish as his legacy.
“I’ve said this since probably my sophomore year of college when I realized the kind of platform for positivity football can really provide,” he said. “I want to be somebody who is remembered for the impact I made off the field more than the impact I make on the field. Those are the memories and moments that little kids in the community never forget. That’s why I do what I do.”
The play of Ferguson is something that is great on the field. Those memories for the kids are something they will never forget. The legacy he is already building off the field is one that will be lasting in South Florida, among the military community, and in the lives of so many with diabetes. Long snapper may not be the most glamorous position on the football field, but Ferguson’s use of his platform really should turn him into a household name.