INDIANAPOLIS --- Many NFL fans will see their favorite team widdle rosters down from 90 to 75 Tuesday, then down to 53 Saturday and not think too much of it. Starters move the needle in the NFL and for good reason.
But Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle's story highlights an often forgotten caveat about the rules of this week four in the preseason.
Sometimes players aren't just trying to make their own team. They could be auditioning for other teams at the same time.
Last season, Doyle spent training camp with the Tennessee Titans, before being waived prior to final roster cutdowns. Instead of making the 53-man active roster, the Titans opted to put him on their practice squad, but you have to clear waivers first to do that. Before Doyle cleared waivers, his hometown Colts picked him up. The pride of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis was going home.
"I was trying to tell the young guys," Doyle said Monday. "One thing I learned last year was you're not just playing in those preseason games for the team you're on. You're playing to put film on for 31 other teams. You're always being watched and evaluated."
In less than a week, 1184 players will be waived in the NFL from 90, then from 75, to get down to those final 53-man rosters. That's 37 players cut from each of the 32 teams in the league. Doyle was one of those players but at the last second was scooped up allowing him to continue his NFL dream.
"Going through offseason and camp with Tennessee and coming out of that fourth preseason game, you just never know what's going to happen," said Doyle. "I was cut, about to sign with their practice squad, and claimed here."
That homecoming was a wonderful surprise for Doyle.
"It was a blessing to be able to come back to your hometown," said Doyle. "It's just something I'm trying to keep going, working every day to try and hang around."
That's the sentiment from a lot of players in the locker room this week. It's the Super Bowl for them. Many Colts players' NFL dreams are on the line at Cincinnati Thursday. 22 more players have to be cut between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon.
"National championship, Super Bowl, whatever you want to call it," said Colts undrafted rookie defensive tackle Zach Kerr Monday. "It's do or die time. You want to get a job. I told a couple guys there's no reason to go back home. I don't want to go back home. This is where I want to be. It means a lot to me this upcoming week."
Remember that as you glance at roster moves this week and watch the final game of the preseason. Sometimes, the NFL job interview is not just with the current team.