Subs to snaps: Rick Lovato, from sandwich shop to Packers' long-snapper

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Rick Lovato can tell you everything that belongs on a No. 15 at Joyce's Subs and Pizza in Lincroft, New Jersey.

"That's our Italian sub," Lovato said. "Five bucks at most for a half sub."

A week ago, Lovato was putting together boiled ham, genoa salami, capicola and provolone for customers at the shop owned by his father and uncle.

On Sunday, he'll play in his first NFL game as the Green Bay Packers' new long-snapper. A rookie from Old Dominion, Lovato signed Tuesday after the Packers learned veteran Brett Goode tore his ACL in Sunday's win over the Raiders.

It's not the first time the Packers have tabbed someone from the working world. Running back DuJuan Harris was selling cars in Florida when the Packers signed him in 2012, and punter Tim Masthay was working as a tutor at the University of Kentucky when he got the call in 2010. They even signed a bartender once, Ryan Flinn, to punt for the final two games of the 2005 season.

"I was doing everything," Lovato said. "When you work there, you work as the cashier, make food. I make breakfast sandwiches, pizzas, anything you could name."

The specialty at Joyce's, according to manager Dave Desbiens, is the pork roll sandwich. He said it was voted one of the best in Monmouth County.

In fact, Lovato's special teams coach at Old Dominion even mentioned it during an interview.

"I'd stop at Joyce's every time I'm up there recruiting and get a pork roll sandwich -- double bacon, double egg," said Michael Zyskowski, Old Dominion's special teams coordinator.

Lovato had no idea he would get his shot with the Packers so soon after working out for the team last Friday. Goode is scheduled to be a free agent in the offseason, which probably was why the Packers were looking at snappers in the first place. Had Goode not torn his ACL, Lovato would probably still be making subs and waiting for a shot.

"I'm just here to do my job, and that's all I can think about right now," said Lovato, who was a four-year scholarship long-snapper at Old Dominion and went to training camp with the Bears this summer. "All I can think about is the present right now, so I'm not too worried about the future.

"I've been working out at my gym at home 15 minutes away from my house. I've been training for this and waiting for a moment like this for a long time now. I'm ready. I'm ready to go show everyone that I can do this, and no one should know my name."

That's the goal of every long-snapper -- to go unnoticed.

"I knew Rick growing up, and it's cool," Desbiens said. "He disappeared for a little bit to go to school, and he came back, and he said, 'You know what, I'm trying out for the NFL,' and he was waiting for his call. He'd get a call one week, and he'd be over somewhere the next week trying [out]. It's a big deal over here at Joyce's because we're so family-oriented. Everyone who works here knows what this has been like."

Back at Joyce's, everyone was making plans to watch Sunday's Packers-Cardinals game, which kicks off off at 4:25 p.m. New Jersey time.

"Sunday is the only day we close early, and we close at 2 o'clock," Desbiens said. "So all of us are going to be hanging out watching the game. I know everybody from the shop's all going to be hanging out."