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Indianapolis Colts

This weekend's preseason game will be the final contest for 15 current Colts

Intro: The time of year has come where number crunching to “53” has complete attention around every NFL personnel department. This weekend’s Colts/Browns game will offer one final chance for many Colts to impress the staff before 15 players will be cut on Tuesday, the 27th.





INDIANAPOLIS— This time next week the Colts roster will have been trimmed by 15 players and another 22 will be in the midst of their final days in the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.

It's the harsh reality of life in the NFL.

One minute you are in the NFL playing at the highest of level. The next you are unemployed, searching for one more chance.

The time of year has come where many Colts know that this weekend's preseason game with the Browns could be the final opportunity to make themselves necessary.

"Anytime you step on the field, it could be the last," center Thomas Austin says. "It's a privilege to play the game. You don't know when it's going to end.

"I try not to think about the numbers. I can't control that. I can control my preparation and play. If I look myself in the mirror and I said I did everything I could, than I can live with that. Hopefully that turns into a roster spot."

Austin, who has gotten some significant reps at the center position this spring, is in a different situation than that of Jeremy Kelley.

At 6-6 and 231 pounds, Kelley has been an intriguing prospect at the receiver position.

Traditionally, the Colts have never carried receivers with the stature of Kelley.

Kelley has been with the Colts since the end of January and has kept telling himself "don't look back" in an effort to transform from the Canadian and Arena Football Leagues to the NFL.

"You always here guys say, 'You can't get comfortable.' You've always got to let yourself be a little bit uncomfortable and you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable because that's just how it is," Kelley said earlier this week.

"If you can take that approach, you won't get complacent. You will play every practice, every game like, man this is it."

As an undrafted free agent, Emmett Cleary started 29 games along the offensive line during his time at Boston College.

Cleary has changed positions during training camp and keeps talking to guys who have followed a similar path in trying to be one of 53.

"You're definitely aware that your opportunities are dwindling but you can't get preoccupied on numbers," Cleary said. "You have to go out there and make the most of the reps that you are going to get."

Those reps for the 75 who survive Tuesday's cuts will increase significantly in the preseason finale, when the backups tend to play a majority of snaps.

No one envies the job that Chuck Pagano and his staff have to do over the next 9 days but it's life in the NFL.

"Just getting to 75 is tougher this year. Obviously, getting to 53 after the Cincinnati ball game is going to be tough," Pagano said.

"We've got a lot of guys taking full advantage of their opportunities. We're deeper at every position. We wanted to create competition. This is what we wanted as far as the roster goes. It's going to be a much tougher task this time around."

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