KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Now that the NFL preseason is over, teams only have two days to shave down their roster to 53.
While fans like to play their own roster games and cape for who should make their favorite teams, players anxiously wait by the phone for a call to say if they made the team that they’ve been practicing with during the preseason.
The process was different years ago. The 90-man training camp roster was cut to 75 during the preseason and then from 75 to 53. Now, teams must cut from 90 to 53 after the final preseason game.
“Yeah, so (General Manager) Brett (Veach) will get with his guys [Sunday] morning and then the coaches will grade the tape and get that in for their final, the coaches’ final evaluation on the guys playing,” head coach Andy Reid said. “And then Brett will shake it all up and come out with the best group that we think can help us here and yeah, it’s always – this is the toughest day. When you have to make the cuts because these guys have busted their tails through all the OTAs and then through the training camp, so then you got – they all can’t be here unfortunately.”
Some players will be cut but will get picked up by another team. Some players will be cut and may never play a single down in the NFL or professional football again.
“There’s some tough spots of guys competing there at certain spots,” Reid said. “So we’ve got to make sure we make the right decision there.”
For players who have shined in the preseason like Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, most would think that he easily makes the Chiefs’ roster. But because the Chiefs have about seven wide receivers that have all but secured a spot, ISM will likely get his next chance with another team.
“Stressful.. because I don’t know,” Smith-Marsette said with a smile after Saturday’s win over the Cleveland Browns where he had 101 receiving yards and a touchdown. His family is in town to help him through the process.
“I feel like I made it hard for them. The other 31 teams, they get to see what I did [Saturday] and last week. I definitely feel like I proved myself just a little bit.”
Running back La’Mical Perine is in his fourth year in the league on his fourth team and his performance has also made fans think he deserves a roster spot as well. But the thought of being cut still looms.
“Sometimes you just gotta block that out,” Perine said. He garnered 76 total yards and a touchdown on Saturday.
“You be in ya head the whole game and then you not realizing that you just gotta make plays. Just putting good stuff on film.” Perine’s cousin, former Cincinnati Bengals and current Denver Broncos running back Samaje Perine, had a similar journey to La’Mical’s.
“Samaje was on the practice squad just like I was at one point. But now he going on Year 8 in the league. Everybody got a different route.”
Some players will be cut and transitioned to the Chiefs’ practice squad.
The practice squad is made up of any number of players who have not accrued at least nine games in an NFL season. The squad can also include up to four players who have accrued no more than two NFL seasons and up to six players with no limitations on experience.
Teams can also call up two practice squad players a week via standard elevation three times a year. To be called up a fourth time, the player has to be signed to the active roster and remain there.
Last season, LB Cole Christiansen and S Zayne Anderson were the benefits of standard elevation and core special teams players for the Chiefs.
As players wait by the phone, they can only hope that what they’ve done during the preseason warrants teams to give them an opportunity to play.
The Chiefs have until Tuesday, August 29 at 3 p.m. to cut down their roster to 53.