Denver. Carolina. Jacksonville. Tampa Bay. New York. Those have all been stops on Tavarres King’s NFL journey, which began in 2013 when the Denver Broncos made him a fifth-round selection.
King got cut by the Broncos before the end of his first preseason, beginning his NFL practice squad odyssey. Through all of those NFL practice squad stops he made it to an active roster just once, playing two games and catching two passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. He spent last season on the practice squad of the New York Giants.
King is 26 now. Giants’ GM Jerry Reese once said that by the time they are 25 many players are already almost out of the league. So, the clock is ticking — loudly — on King’s chance to make it in the NFL.
He has spent this spring and summer competing in a crowded wide receiver field with a number of players, most of whom are younger than he is. Geremy Davis, Roger Lewis, Darius Powe, Myles White are among those trying to win the same roster spot King has his eyes on.
King’s moment to shine finally came Saturday night. His two catches both went for touchdowns, a 27-yarder and a game-winning 11-yarder in the final minutes. He had a 20-yard run on a reverse. He beat a Jets cornerback down the right sideline for what might have been a long gain had he not stumbled and been unable to haul in the pass from Ryan Nassib.
King termed as “indescribable” his feelings about his two-touchdown performance.
“My emphasis was just stacking good days from day one. I’ve done that since OTA’s just kept stacking good days, being positive every day. It’s paid off,” King said to a crowd of reporters around his locker Saturday night. “It’s (having a good game) extremely important. These are things that matter, right? For me to get an opportunity, for the coaches to believe in me, Ryan, my teammates, to believe in me to give me the opportunity to make a play like that, it’s tremendous. It means a lot.
“I’m a guy that wants to win. I want to compete and be out there. I want to help this team anyway that I can and I feel like I’ve shown that.”
Will it be enough to earn King a spot on the 53-man roster? Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz and Dwayne Harris will be on the roster. Geremy Davis, a 2015 sixth-round pick, seems like a safe bet. That probably leaves one spot for King, Lewis (who had a 20-yard catch Saturday and has also been impressive), Powe, White or anyone else.
“That’s not up to me to decide. I’m going to continue to be me. I’m going to continue to be Tavarres and I’m going to continue to be someone that’s hungry,” King said. “Not only to be on this team but to bring this team a championship.”
Whether King makes the team is something we will find out over the next couple of weeks. What we know is that he has certainly done everything he can to force the Giants to keep him.