INDIANAPOLIS — Prior to this preseason, the last time Luke Rhodes found himself as a long snapper during a game was in high school.
But now, after a months-long competition with rookie Thomas Hennessy, that job for the Indianapolis Colts is all his.
Rhodes officially sealed the spot Monday when the Colts traded Hennessy, their other long snapper, to the New York Jets in exchange for safety Ronald Martin.
Rhodes, who was also receiving a considerable amount of playing time this preseason as a backup at inside linebacker, will now, for the time being, solely focus on his long snapper duties, head coach Chuck Pagano confirmed.
"That's 100 percent on my mind right now," Rhodes said Monday about being the Colts' snapper. "I'm off the (special) teams, I'm out of the linebacker room right now, so I'm full-go long snapper. So I'm going to put all my work into that."
Rhodes originally entered the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent linebacker out of William & Mary in May 2016, and was released by the team during final cuts last year. The Colts signed him Oct. 5, and he spent most of the season on the practice squad before signing him to the active roster for the final four games of the year.
But Indianapolis released Matt Overton, its longtime long snapper, on May 1, and although it signed Hennessy three days later, the coaches asked Rhodes if he could step in and compete with the rookie for the spot, despite the fact he had only snapped "here and there" since high school.
"But it's always been in my back pocket as something I've always been able to do," he added.
Rhodes had been alternating snaps with Hennessy during the first two preseason games, but on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rhodes logged eight special teams snaps, while Hennessy did not play.
Rhodes is now officially part of the Colts' three-man core of special teamers heading into the regular season, which also includes all-time-great kicker Adam Vinatieri and rookie Rigoberto Sanchez, who beat out veteran Jeff Locke for the team's punter position on Monday.
Rhodes said he's already been picking Vinatieri's brain about tweaks he can make here and there, but said he's excited to learn more tricks of the trade from the 22-year NFL veteran.
"It's a good thing having somebody like that who's been around and seen different snappers and different holders and he's able to help tweak my stance or where I grip the ball to get it where he wants it," Rhodes said. "It's awesome."