Houston Texans coach Lovie Smith has been the man on the sidelines for 11 previous NFL seasons, which means that he has also had the unenviable task of derailing the dreams of scores of young, talented players.
Such is the nature of the NFL, which demands that teams finalize their 53-man rosters each year. For the Texans, they will have to go from 80 players to 53 by 3:00 p.m. Central Time on Aug. 30.
Smith has compassion on the young players, particularly because of how much time was spent together inside NRG Stadium throughout the offseason workouts and training camp.
“You feel for guys,” Smith told reporters Monday. “I’m looking forward to all of the conversations because we all started at the same spot, and when you signed up for this, you knew this was a part of it, too. It’s never any fun when you tell someone that we’re going a different direction.”
The glimmer of optimism despite the rejection is the fact there are 31 other teams, and the adventure of playing in the NFL can continue in another city.
“If they’ve done everything they’re supposed to do and they can play, there’s 32 teams,” said Smith. “I haven’t only been at one team. If you’re a good coach or you’re a good player, there will be a spot for you somewhere.”
The Texans will have 16 practice squad openings available, which means a cut may not be the end of the line in Houston. However, players must remain on the waiver wire for a day before being signed back to Houston’s practice squad.