FOXBORO, Mass. — Imagine walking into your office Monday and knowing that by the beginning of next week, close to 30 of your coworkers will have been fired.
That’s the reality facing every NFL player this week.
NFL rosters, which began the summer with 90 players apiece, must be trimmed to 75 by Tuesday and 53 by Saturday, meaning hundreds of professional football players will lose their jobs over the next few days.
Players on the roster bubble obviously are the ones most affected by this process, but it can be a difficult time even for those whose jobs are not in jeopardy.
“It’s tough,” Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan said. “It’s always a tough time. These are your friends on and off the field. You get to know the people’s families. It’s what drives me so hard personally, and I think other guys, (too). Because this job is so hard, and it’s a business, and this is the hardest part of it every year. But it puts an inner fire in my belly to go out and support my family and do what I need to do so (getting cut) doesn’t happen to me right now.”
As of Sunday afternoon, the Patriots had released eight players since the start of training camp (Kyler Kerbyson, Brock Vereen, Bear Pascoe, Cedric Thompson, V’Angelo Bentley, E.J. Biggers, Donald Brown and Nate Washington), placed one on injured reserve (Frank Kearse) and traded another (Bryan Stork). The acquisition of Barkevious Mingo on Thursday gave New England 82 rostered players, meaning seven more must be shown the door by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
“It can be on your mind,” said defensive end Trey Flowers, who recently has morphed into a roster lock, thanks to his strong play this preseason. “It can be nerve-wracking. But for me, I just took (the mindset) that you can control what you can control, and you can only control what you can control. Go out there, give it your all, give it your best shot, and if it don’t work out here, you may get a shot somewhere else. I just really focus on just me and just how much better I grow each and every day.”
While a number of spots on the Patriots’ depth chart are all but solidified, several others remain in limbo, including fifth wide receiver, fifth cornerback, starting right guard, reserve defensive line and third tight end.
“You try to keep tunnel vision during camp, but certainly there’s the element of, you have teammates coming and going,” said defensive end Chris Long, who is entering his first season with New England after eight with the St. Louis Rams. “So it just drives home the reality that this is a great opportunity, and you need to make the most of it every day, because not everybody has that opportunity.
“It makes you appreciate — this is my ninth year, and I’ve seen people come and go — it just makes you appreciate things. And any time you come to work, you come into the building, you should cherish that.”
Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images
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