Hoping for another shot: Raiders career now done, Condo waiting for a call
PHILIPSBURG — Jon Condo found himself in a familiar place in an unfamiliar situation at Friday’s Tee Off for T-Cells event at the Philipsburg Elks Lodge & Country Club.
Condo hosted the event, which benefits the Emily Whitehead Foundation, for the fourth consecutive year, but he did so for the first time while not being on an NFL roster.
After 12 years as the Oakland Raiders’ long snapper, Condo’s contract was not renewed at the end of last season. Condo was the last player remaining from the Al Davis regime.
“It’s a business, and I understand that first and foremost,” Condo said. “It’s not so much frustrating as it is that I know everyone has a time to move on, and the Raiders felt it was their time to move on. Whether it’s a decision they had to make, I don’t know, but I’m grateful for the Raiders for giving me the opportunity to play 12 years for them.”
Condo was among the highest paid long snappers after being a model of consistency for the Raiders over the past decade, but his salary may have played a role in Oakland moving on to a younger long snapper.
Condo, a Philipsburg-Osceola and Maryland graduate, isn’t ready to call it a career yet.
“I’m a free agent right now,” Condo said. “My first year was 2005, so I’ve been in the league for 13 years. I’m happy with where I’m at, but I’m also hungry to get back out on the field. If a team comes calling, I’m definitely staying available and keeping in shape. I want to make myself ready for the opportunity.”
Condo had a tryout with the Houston Texans but is still playing the waiting game.
“There’s definitely teams interested,” Condo said. “But with me being 36 years old, they want to give the reps to the younger guys. They know what I can do. If they want to see me, they can put on 12 years of film. I’ve spoken with my agent, and he told me a lot of teams are interested in me, but right now it’s a matter of someone getting hurt or a team losing confidence in their guy.”
Until then, Condo is focusing on helping the Emily Whitehead Foundation, something he did last season by wearing specialized cleats in an NFL game as part of the “My Cleats, My Cause” promotion.
“It really makes us proud and so happy that he’s such a big supporter,” Emily’s father Tom Whitehead said. “Those cleats were pretty cool, and they were a hot item when they came up for auction.”
Condo brought fellow athletes like Kerry McCoy, Maryland’s wrestling coach and former Olympian and NCAA All-American wrestler at Penn State, and fellow ex-Raider Matt McGloin to help support the cause.
“Jon got me aware of it, and it means a lot to him, with him being from Philipsburg,” McGloin said. “To hear the story of the Whitehead Foundation and everything Emily overcame and everything she’s gone through is something that means a lot to me, especially as someone who runs a charity myself, I know how events like this help.”
Condo also provides NFL memorabilia and got the Oakland Raiders to donate a trip to Pebble Beach to help raise money.
“We try to do a good job bringing in auction items and trips they wouldn’t normally have,” Condo said. “There is so much stuff they can spend their money on. We have World Series tickets this year. It’s great for the Whitehead Foundation and the people who come up here to support it. They know their money is going to a great cause that is saving lives.”
The Raiders made the playoffs in Condo’s 11th season with the team, snapping a long drought for the franchise.
“I’ve seen some bad seasons with the Raiders,” Condo said. “To make it to the playoffs, I was happy for myself, my teammates and coaches, but I was even more happy for the fans. Spending all that time out there with them, they have so many loyal fans, not just in California. There’s a group of Raiders fans in York that have a booster club and come up to this event. They live through us, and it felt great to give them some bragging rights.”
Condo said his best memories came from when he was asked to perform in the most nerve-wracking moments.
“Just stepping on the field and playing on a Sunday, I’ll always cherish those moments,” Condo said. “I always enjoyed being out there for game-winning field goal situations. Having the last snap of the game, with the ball in my hands, is pretty special. We’ve had several game winners, including one against the Steelers.
“Making two Pro Bowls was special. Going to Hawaii once and the other one in Miami were special moments.”