What’s It Like to Be Cut in the NFL?

Pro Bowl Right Tackle Eric Winston was cut at the onset of the NFL’s Free Agency Period

Athletes Can Have Their Lives Flipped Upside-Down Like the Rest of Us – I’ve always wondered exactly how roster moves go down. Fans are left to sort through the news after hearing about it on Sportcenter or reading about it online. What about those most affected? Fans of HBO’s Hard Knocks have been able to see some players being informed of their release right on camera, but those players usually had a small shot at making the team. What about proven veterans? Eric Winston found out he was being cut by the Houston Texans a few days after returning from a visit with troops in Afghanistan. He documented his experience for Peter King:

“The general manager needs to see you” is about the worst thing any professional athlete can hear. Very seldom does any good, at least in the short term, come of it. Around this time of year, as well as the end of August, pro football players hear it too much. When it happened to me the day before free agency began, a few things ran through my mind. They can’t be calling to cut me, I thought. But I also doubt that they would call me to the stadium to ask me how my trip overseas to see the troops went …”

Winston goes on to write about how his sudden release affected his wife, ten year old daughter and six month old son. Suddenly faced with the prospect of uprooting and relocation, Winston’s tale gives us an interesting glimpse into the behind the scenes workings of an NFL team. Sure, you can point to the millions of dollars that some of these players make as a way to dehumanize them and belittle their plight. But that money does very little to soften the blow of having your whole life temporarily thrown into upheaval.


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