Former Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos has an aortic aneurysm and will require open-heart surgery, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said Friday. The Eagles traded Dorenbos to the Saints last week.
The aneurysm was discovered during a follow-up physical by John Amoss, who Saints coach Sean Payton said “basically saved his life with his findings.” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said at his Friday news conference that he was unaware of Dorenbos’ aneurysm .
“Jon Dorenbos is like family to me and to the Eagles,” Eagles owner Jeffrey 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 the situation.”
The Eagles did not comment further, referring to the statement when asked for details of what they knew of Dorenbos’ heart before the trade to the Saints.
The Eagles know Dorenbos had had a heart murmur going back at least five years and were monitoring it, according to a league source.
Payton said he expected the trade to be rescinded because “this is a preexisting condition that he had genetically at birth.” The Eagles received a 2019 seventh-round pick for Dorenbos.
“I can’t speak for Philadelphia or the other teams he’s been with, but I do know that that’s something that came up on our physical, and there is a blessing to it in some ways regarding him,” Payton said. “I mean, finding an aneurysm this size is something that will require immediate surgery, and credit Dr. Amoss [who] was the first one that caught the red flag.”
Dorenbos, 37, played for the Eagles from 2006 through this summer and was one of the most popular players on the team. A magician in addition to a long snapper, Dorenbos transcended football when he appeared on America’s Got Talent last summer. There was disbelief in the locker room when former teammates learned of Dorenbos’ condition.
“Talk about tough circumstances to deal with,” special teams captain Chris Maragos said. “Obviously for a guy who has had to overcome as much as he has, it’s difficult. But thoughts and prayers are with him. We know he’s going to be OK, which is the good news.”
If Rick Lovato had not won the job this summer and the Eagles had not traded Dorenbos, his heart condition might never have been detected.
“That just makes me believe in my faith that everything does happen for a reason,” Lovato said. “I’m really just happy for him that when he did go there, they did find that and they did look for it. And I’m just really, really thankful that they found it when they did. Because it could have been any day or any moment when he could have [fallen] down, and no one knows. It’s unbelievable, really.”
Staff writer Les Bowen contributed to this article.