Cutdown day is a stressful one for fans, as you anxiously wait to see if your favorite underdogs made the team, or if some of the veterans you think are dead weight are cast aside. There might be a few leaks here and there about those who were informed that they were not making the team—and most cuts are obvious—but for the most part, it’s about waiting until 4 p.m. to find out who’s on the 53-man roster.
And you know what? It’s basically the same thing for the players as well—if they made the team. That’s the process 2020 seventh-round pick Carlos Davis had to go through last September before he could finally breathe and process that he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“That and draft day were the most stressful days of my life”, he recently told Teresa Varley for the team’s website as he prepares for his second NFL season. “My brother called me and told me he made the team. He said if they don’t call you, you made the team. It was at four and I knew the cuts would be done”.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Khalil Davis, his twin brother, a round earlier than Carlos. Both of them spent five years at Nebraska, posting largely similar statistics as they made up the nucleus of the team’s defensive line. Both made their teams; though Khalil would only dress for two games, he would earn a Super Bowl ring. A far cry from the agony of waiting to find out if you have a job.
“My girlfriend and I sat on the couch, played Madden to take my mind off of it, and when I didn’t get a call, I called my brother”, Carlos recalled, of not getting a (virtual) visit from the Turk. “But first I saw on the Steelers’ website. They put out the final roster, and I was on there and I couldn’t believe it”.
That’s right. He found out the same way we all did, like most fringe players who make the team do. Teams talk to the players who are not making the team to let them know beforehand, for multiple reasons, but the ones on the borderline who don’t make the team? They usually have to sit and wait.
“I knew that I did enough to make the team, but the experience wasn’t there so I wasn’t sure”, he said, understanding that he was coming in as a seventh-round pick who didn’t put in any preseason tape—since there wasn’t a preseason. “Just to see your hard work pay off gave me motivation to keep going”.
Davis, of course, did make the team, and while he spent the early portions of his rookie season inactive, he would eventually surpass Isaiah Buggs for the top backup defensive tackle role. He only played 54 snaps, but he did manage six tackles, including one for loss, across seven games.
Now he has to win a roster spot all over again, even if he’s in a better position, so that likely means another long day of Madden.