Victim of NFL Roster Cuts? You Still Have a Chance

Many NFL players deal with roster cuts

roster cutsAnyone who watches HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL preseason, understands that getting removed from a team as the organization goes through roster cuts is tough. However, for many players, the pursuit of a dream career in the NFL doesn’t end at these sudden roster cuts, but rather, their career¬†simply moves in a new direction.

By Sept. 1, NFL teams will have to cut their rosters down to 75, and then by Sept. 4, organizations will have to have trimmed their depth charts down again to 53 players, according to CBS. While the men who make each roster will surely celebrate their achievements, those dealing with these roster cuts prior to each of those deadlines will begin a whole new journey, and will likely benefit from the knowledge of an experienced sports agent, as well as the advice of players who have also dealt with the inevitable roster cuts. Just because a player is cut from one team, though, does not mean that he doesn’t have a chance with any of the other 31 teams in the league.

Nate Jackson’s preseason cut stories

Nate Jackson, for example, wrote on Yahoo about the times that he was cut during the preseason. The former tight end was in training camp with the San Francisco 49ers in 2002, but was dealing with a shoulder injury from college that prevented him from passing the physical. He signed a waiver allowing the team to go through their roster cuts without consequence should he reinjure it and, it turns out, he did hurt it again. The team cut him, he had surgery and rehabbed on his own, lived with his parents during the regular season and waited for his next chance.

After the season ended he was picked up by the 49ers once again, made it half-way through training camp, then was traded to the Denver Broncos, then cut following the final preseason game. However, the team did offer him a spot with the practice squad. Jackson cleared waivers and the next day signed a contract to play on the Broncos practice squad. He remained with the team for six years before being cut once again at 29. Jackson continued to bounce around between training camps before his football career eventually ended.

Have you dealt with roster cuts during the preseason? There are a few Hall of Famers who know what it’s like

Other players who have been cut have gone on to find great success in the league. NFL.com posted a video listing what it considers to be the top 10 players who were cut by NFL teams, and then went on to find success. They are:

  1. Wes Welker, a wide receiver, was cut by the San Diego Chargers in 2004.
  2. James Harrison, a linebacker, was cut by the Pittsburg Steelers three times, once in 2002 and twice in 2003.
  3. Jake Delhomme, a quarterback, was cut three times by the New Orleans Saints between 1997 and 1999.
  4. Jack Kemp, a pre-Super Bowl era quarterback, was cut by the Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Steelers and 49ers.
  5. Trent Green, a quarterback, was cut by the Chargers in 1994.
  6. Bob Kuechenberg, an offensive lineman, was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons in 1969.
  7. Jim Langer, a center and Pro Football Hall of Famer, was cut by the Cleveland Browns in 1970.
  8. Kurt Warner, a quarterback, was cut by the Green Bay Packers in 1994.
  9. Willie Brown, a cornerback and another Pro Football Hall of Famer, was cut by the Houston Oilers in 1963.
  10. Johnny Unitas, a quarterback, Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL.com‘s top pick for the best players ever to be cut, was cut by the Steelers in 1955.

Which is all to say, when a player is cut during the preseason, that doesn’t spell the end for his career. He can even make the Hall of Fame one day.

If you’ve been cut by an NFL team, but refuse to end your professional football career, consult with a sports agent on your next move, because you’ve made it this far, and there’s always a chance that you will find new opportunity in the league.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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