There is a great sense of euphoria when a young guy makes an NFL roster coming out of training camp. All of the anxiety that goes with being a question mark, suddenly vanishes. "I made it"! It's a great accomplishment and a dream come true for many.
But don't get too comfortable. Don't loose that "free agent" mentality. You're one play away from being placed on waivers, one injury at another position from being replaced. To no fault of your own, the team may need a roster spot because they like someone else who was dropped from another team, just a little more than they like you.
There is nothing permanent in the NFL, especially for the guys at the bottom of the roster. That's why every day, every practice, every play, should be treated as if it's your last in the league. That "chip" on your shoulder should NEVER go away. The tenacity and ultra competitiveness that got you noticed in the first place, needs to be maintained. You need to keep that "free agent" mentality throughout your career, and NEVER relax. In fact, you should have "free agent" stamped on your forehead as a reminder.
Just this week, after the final cuts, the Buffalo News ran an article on WR Ruvell Martin. Signed by the Bills just recently, he was lauded as a great find, a big play who would help on special teams. According to the News, he had finally found a home in the NFL and was praised by head coach Chan Gailey.
But that very same day that Ruvell had "made it", he was placed on waivers when the Bills claimed OT Sam Young from the Cowboys. Now, there is nothing Ruvell did, or didn't do, in that short time to cause his release. He was just a victim of circumstances beyond his control.
His emotions must have been on a roller coaster and I hope he finds a team that needs him soon.
It's just an example of life in the NFL for the "fringe" guys. You can't ever relax.