Miami Dolphins ironman John Denney, 36, could face most serious challenge yet

John Denney has played a club-record 192 consecutive games dating back to 2005, when he won the long snapper job over veteran Ed Perry. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

When long snapper John Denney arrived in Davie, George W. Bush was president and Nick Saban was settling in as Dolphins coach.

Denney not only outlasted Saban, but he survived Cam Cameron and four others (including interim coaches) before Adam Gase arrived.

Question is, will he survive Winston Chapman?

Denney, 36, is the Dolphins’ elder statesman and aiming to enter his 13th NFL season. To do so, he’ll have to fend off a challenge of Chapman, a 24-year-old undrafted free agent from Mississippi State.

This isn’t a challenge to be ignored. Special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi revealed that the Dolphins have had their eye on Chapman for a year. Unfortunately for Chapman, he suffered an ACL injury his senior season.

“We really liked his skillset,” Rizzi said. “So he’s been out for a year and now he’s fully healthy.”

Rizzi called Chapman “a very solid snapper.”

There’s also this: “Look,” Rizzi said. “John is getting up there in age.”

True, but Denney’s qualifications speak for themselves. He has been to two Pro Bowls. He’s the team’s all-time ironman, playing a club-record 192 consecutive games and counting.

And he’s a Rizzi favorite, judging by the razzing Rizzi gives.

“John is older than me,” joked Rizzi, who’s actually 8 years older. “Not quite. He has as many kids, though. Combination-wise, I think we have 10 kids together. That’s a little nutty. So we’re always talking kid stories.”

Rizzi isn’t pushing Denney out to pasture.

“I still feel very strongly about him,” Rizzi said. “ … He’s in tremendous physical condition for a guy at his age. I don’t know if there’s a guy that has a better work ethic than John. He’s a guy, I think he’s probably in the building more than I was in the offseason. He’s always here, always working on his body, always working on his skill.”

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