Cut Day Was Full of Emotion for Some

Cut Day Was Full of Emotion for Some

Jay Adams

Published September 3, 2012 at 4:26 PM

There were a lot of smiles in the Falcons locker room Monday for a lot of different reasons. For veterans, it was because the preseason is over and the real fun begins. For first-year and backup players, being in the locker room Monday meant they still had a locker to come to.

The Falcons cut the roster down to 53 men on Friday, per the NFL’s rules, and then signed an eight-player practice squad Saturday and Sunday. A lot of familiar faces are gone from the locker room, replaced by new players, but for those new guys, the emotions were exhausting over the weekend.

“I was all over the place,” undrafted rookie guard Phillipkeith Manley said. Manley made the 53-man active roster. “Just seeing the ‘Grim Reaper’ and he walked right past me, I was like ‘Oh, my God!’ Then he said to me I was fine, so I went and lifted and whatnot. The whole time I’m looking over my shoulder, like ‘Please don’t come get me.’ We had the 53-man roster meeting and they said I made the team.

“From being down to being excited just like that. All over the place. I’m truly blessed to be here right now.”

That was the feeling from a lot of players who weren’t sure of their fate heading into the weekend. Kevin Cone was in a race for the No. 5 wide receiver position with a crowded group. During the all-important preseason finale, Cone made a couple of miscues, but was able to find redemption in a 49-yard touchdown catch.

On Saturday, when his phone didn’t ring, he knew he had done enough to make the team.

Yeah, it’s always a good thing when you don’t hear anything,” he said. “When you get here, you’re still kind of nervous because you’re not 100 percent sure, so when you find out it’s unbelievable.”

At cornerback, Robert McClain — who had spent some time in Carolina before being signed by the Falcons in January — came into camp and the preseason to prove himself. He was rewarded with one of the 53 spots on the roster, but going through the process before didn’t reduce the stress.

But after the weeks of work he put in, he was happy with the body of work he put together to hopefully give the coaching staff a difficult decision to make.

“I felt good. I felt more comfortable, especially going into this year, having experience and playing in games,” McClain said. “The concept of our defense helped also, and the coaches. The coaches did well. The players and the athletes I’m around helped me learn different techniques and different styles of play.”

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