CLEVELAND (AP) -Ryan Pontbriand, regarded as one of the NFL's premier long snappers, signed a four-year contract extension Tuesday with the Cleveland Browns, a deal that will keep the specialist with the club through 2011.
Former Browns coach Butch Davis was laughed at when he used a fifth-round draft pick (No. 142 overall) in 2003 to select Pontbriand, who played at Rice. Typically, teams will use one of their backup linemen to handle snapping duties.
But Pontbriand has been steady and nearly flawless while snapping for punts, field goals and extra points in 59 games since '03.
Last season, Pontbriand helped punter Dave Zastudil record a career-high 44.0-yard average. In 2005, the 6-foot-2, 255-pound Pontbriand handled the snaps when kicker Phil Dawson made a career-high 27 field goals and scored 100 points.
The Browns have given long-term deals to several of their top special teams players, including Zastudil, Dawson and punt/kick returner Joshua Cribbs.
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