Jon Dorenbos, the popular long-time Eagles long-snapper who gained international fame as a magician, needs heart surgery, Saints head coach Sean Payton announced on Friday. The team placed him on the Non-Football Illness list.
The Eagles traded the 37-year-old Dorenbos to the Saints on Aug. 28. Dorenbos played in 162 games in an Eagles uniform, sixth-most in franchise history.
"Jon Dorenbos is like family to me and to the Eagles," Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie said in a statement. "We are concerned for Jon first and foremost. Our thoughts are with him and his wife. At this time, we are all waiting to learn more about his situation."
Saints team physician Dr. John Amoss discovered that Dorenbos has an aortic aneurysm, Payton said.
"It's a pretty serious condition that will require surgery," Payton told reporters on Friday.
The case appears similar to one in 2011, when the Eagles traded running back Ronnie Brown to the Lions for running back Jerome Harrison. But the trade was nullified when Eagles team physicians discovered that Harrison had a brain tumor and needed immediate surgery. Harrison never played football again.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Dorenbos’s condition will nullify the Eagles’ trade with the Saints. The Eagles received a 2019 seventh-round pick in exchange for Dorenbos. Payton said the Saints will attempt to rescind the trade and re-claim that pick from the Eagles since Dorenbos’ condition was pre-existing. Generally, in cases where a pre-existing condition is revealed, the trade is nullified and the draft pick reverts back to the original team.
Dorenbos spent his first two seasons with the Bills and then 2005 and part of 2006 with the Titans before joining the Eagles late in the 2006 season. He played in a franchise-record 162 consecutive games from Week 12 of 2006 through Week 13 of last year before missing three games with a wrist injury.
He was replaced in those three games by central New Jersey native Rick Lovato, who beat out Dorenbos for the long snapping job this preseason.