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What is today like for players? Geoff Schwartz explains

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It isn’t fun

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers
Geoff Schwartz with the Lions.
Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Dozens of players who were New York Giants on Thursday will be getting phone calls today that they don’t want to receiver. Calls that tell them they are no longer Giants, that they may no longer be NFL players.

Before you go and celebrate a player’s release, remember these are human beings with feelings and families, players who have dreams and have poured years of work, sweat and pain into following them.

In a mailbag on Friday, former Giant Geoff Schwartz, who has received that unwanted call twice, explained what it’s like:

In 2008, I knew the Panthers were releasing me. They called my hotel room at 6 a.m. after the fourth preseason game, and told me to bring my playbook and head to the stadium. I was released, sent back to the hotel, and waited for the practice squad call.

If the team releases a player without the intention of signing him back to the practice squad, he is given a plane ticket and sent on his way. You pack up your stuff in the locker room, say your goodbyes, and bounce. It’s exactly how you see it on Hard Knocks. It’s depressing cleaning out your stuff, knowing the work you put into the offseason, training camp, and the preseason games is for naught. All of us were rock stars in college and now we are humbled.

There will be that initial release, and then the team needs to make the tough decision of releasing the final few players. This is almost worse for a player. You just sit by your phone and wait for a phone call. If you don’t get a call, you just continue with your day and eventually head back to the facility for a team meeting, which means you’ve most likely made the roster.

The WORST part of this process is that players will be cut after you’ve “made” the team because teams have claimed other players off the waiver wire. You’ve gone through the “welcome to the team” meeting where the coach starts preparing everyone for the regular season. At the same time, the front office is sifting through the waiver wire trying to improve the team. Once they’ve put in the waiver claim, they don’t know right way if they’ve been awarded those players.

But once they do, someone must be released to make room. It’s awful.

So, agree or disagree with whatever moves you like. Just remember, dreams and careers are ending today.