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Russell: Cutdown Day Is Filled With Many Different Emotions

Posted By The Finsiders On August 31, 2013 @ 8:16 am In Football | 3 Comments

Finsider and former Dolphins linebacker Twan Russell shares his experiences from cutdown days throughout his NFL career.130830_Russell [1]


My cutdown day experience was pretty typical for most first-year players. My rookie year with the Washington Redskins, I was a fifth-round draft pick, and they had brought in 12 draft picks. So I had no idea which direction they were going to go. Were they trying to go young? Or were we just camp bodies?

I remember a couple days before cutdowns; the anxiety was palpable. I’m playing, giving everything I have and I have no control whether or not they want me on this team. I was very anxious, but I realized that the key was just channeling that energy into the things that you can control. I can control being on time, I can control studying the playbook, I can control playing hard, and I can control making every play I can. I can’t control whether or not I fit on their team. My hopes were that they would look at my effort, what I brought to the table, and the fact I could play all the positions they needed me to. It was a very anxious time, especially for a young guy like me at the time.

But after my rookie year, my attitude changed. It got to a point where I said, “You know what, I’m playing football, if not for this team, then somebody else.” It wasn’t a stressful scenario for me anymore. It wasn’t something I spent a lot of time thinking about. For me, all I focused on was doing what I have to do, and if I deserved to be on the team, I would be there. It wasn’t an important conversation because if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m going be on the roster. Honestly, you pretty much know when you’re going to be cut. You know where you fall 90 percent of the time.

Of course, there were guys that did get very worried [2]and straight avoided the man doing the cuts – “The Grim Reaper,” so to speak. The Grim Reaper kept everybody nervous. He could be walking to the bathroom, and everybody started ducking and stopped talking, and looking away because guys didn’t want to be near him. And then he would say, “I’m just walking through the locker room, guys. Chill out.”

(Head of Security) Stu Weinstein was the Grim Reaper when I was here. Nobody knew Stu during training camp. He came knocking at your door and you would jump, but he was just doing bedroom checks. So people were just trying to avoid the whole situation.

And that situation really hasn’t changed [3]. Getting cut is still a brutal but necessary part of the game, and here’s my advice for the guys that used to be in my position. Focus on the things you can control. Study as much as you can, play as hard as you can. If you can walk into a film room and know that you did not take a play off, you did all your assignments right, you made every play you were supposed to make, and you’re not on the team, you can walk out with your head high knowing that you let it all out on the field.

If you’re one of those guys who thinks you could have done more, shame on you. You’ve got to take care of your business, and the rest will fall into place.

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URL to article: http://www.thefinsiders.com/blog/2013/%ef%bf%bcrussell-cutdown-day-is-filled-with-many-different-emotions

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.thefinsiders.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/130830_Russell.jpg

[2] there were guys that did get very worried : http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Dolphins-Players-Now-Play-The-Waiting-Game/76b0d7b2-9cba-4a1c-bdc4-77ededb22d1d

[3] And that situation really hasn’t changed: http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Players-Know-Bubble-May-Burst-On-Thursday-Night/60dd706c-f261-44b2-bccb-ca2bc9ec9ad3

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