(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JANIE McCAULEY AP Sports Writer Kevin McDermott became a long snapper almost by default.
As one of 15 players on his middle school team in Nashville, Tenn., the coach asked everybody to line up and give long snapping a try.
McDermott enjoyed it, and showed some natural talent, too. A high school coach told McDermott's father he might have a college career ahead of him if he stuck with snapping. Sure enough, the 6-foot-4, 234-pound McDermott earned a scholarship to UCLA and quickly emerged as an NFL prospect.
While he went undrafted back in April, the rookie free agent got his shot when he signed with San Francisco in May - then, in a few short months became the starter by beating out 13-year veteran Brian Jennings, the longest-tenured member of the 49ers.
''If you are still around when the timer goes off, that's how you know you made it,'' McDermott said.
Not that he celebrated when an equipment manager told him in the cafeteria that he had won the job...