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<span style=”color: #000000; font-family: ‘Microsoft YaHei’; font-size: 12px;”>NFL: What life is like for players at the bottom of rosters For one Indianapolis Colt, it looks like this: Getting yanked from a team meeting in Green Bay one afternoon and being told you’ve been traded, given hours to pack your life into a single suitcase, a physical the minute you get off the plane, two pink slips in 20 days, a contract signed hours before kickoff, a 10 p.m. call from the GM, who’s telling you that you’re going from the practice squad to the starting lineup in a span of 48 hours.“We really need you,” Colts cornerback Lenzy Pipkins remembers Chris Ballard telling him last week. “This is your opportunity. Time to step up.”</span><strong style=”margin: 0px 3px 0px 0px; padding: 0px; color: #000000; font-family: ‘Microsoft YaHei’; font-size: 12px;”>More: 32 things we learned from Week 5 of the 2018 NFL season<strong style=”margin: 0px 3px 0px 0px; padding: 0px;”>More: Baker Mayfield is already backing up the Browns’ decision to draft him with No. 1 pickSo certain in the days prior that he wouldn’t be playing in the Colts’ primetime game in New England last Thursday, Pipkins had booked a flight home to Dallas for a long weekend. In an instant, it was goodbye Dallas, hello Tom Brady. He signed his contract at the team hotel an hour before he boarded the bus for Gillette Stadium, then saw 55 snaps across the line of scrimmage from the five-time Super Bowl champ.“My head’s been spinning,” says Pipkins, who in the last 43 days has been traded, survived final cuts only to get released a day later, signed to the practice squad two days after that, elevated to the active roster a week after that, cut before the team boarded its next flight, signed to the practice squad two days later, then activated back to the roster 48 hours before the game in New England.One player. Seven transactions. Forty-three days.For this team and this season, it’s become the norm, brutal and fluctuating as it is. Ballard’s Colts aren’t deep enough – and certainly aren’t healthy enough – to remain intact, week-to-week, as currently constructed. The team has made 31 moves since final cuts at the end of August, often late in the week to further tailor its roster for that weekend’s game plan.If the Colts need more pass protection, they bring up a blocking tight end like Ryan Hewitt or Mo Alie-Cox. More of a downfield target? Erik Swoope gets the call. With three corners ruled out for last week’s game in New England, Pipkins went from the practice squad to the Colts’ starting slot corner.The byproduct? Seasons in limbo, players left to shuffle between the active roster, the practice squad and Sundays on the couch.“We tell this all the time to guys,” says coach Frank Reich, “‘If you’re on the practice squad, believe me, we are watching every move you make because you are one play away from playing and helping us win games.’”Erik Swoope knows all about that. He’s lived it for the last five weeks.He’s perhaps the only man in the Colts’ locker room that can commiserate with Pipkins’ misery, then raise him some. He’s been cut twice, signed to the practice squad twice, then activated to the roster twice all in the last 20 days. Six transactions in less than three weeks’ time.Swoope had been with the team for four years, had transformed himself from college hoops star at Miami to bonafide NFL tight end in Indianapolis, had made it through final cuts after a completely lost 2017 season. Then he was called into Ballard’s office on Sept. 13 and told he was being released.It floored him.“Devastating,” is how Swoope described it almost a month later. “I had no idea. I was totally shell-shocked. You don’t go into a work week thinking I may or may not lose my job. I’m focusing on the game plan, getting my body right. …”… And then it hits you like a blindside blitz you never saw coming. You turn in your iPad and exit the team facility unsure if you’ll ever step foot inside the building again. After he was waived the first time, Swoope was too emotional to say goodbye to his teammates or the training staff that over the last year helped him work his way back to full health.He spent the next day staring at his phone, waiting <strong style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px;”>https://www.robgronkowskifanonlie.com/authentic-rob-gronkowski-jersey-sale-1_107.html to hear his fate.Swoope credits his girlfriend for lifting him up <strong style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px;”>https://www.robgronkowskifanonlie.com at his lowest point. “Let’s not sit around here and mope,” she told him. “Let’s go to the gym. Let’s do something productive.” So Swoope took out his frustration in the weight room. Finally, word came: He’d cleared waivers. He was back on the Colts’ practice squad. He could get his iPad back.Whew. Little did he know he’d have to slog through the whole ordeal all over again two weeks later.“When you get called back, you can’t show up with some type of grudge,” he’s learned. “I’ve been trying to trust that what I’m putting on tape is good enough to play in the NFL. And when you do miss a week of football, or weeks of football, you start to ask yourself, ‘Am I doing everything I need to do to be an NFL player, and be an Indianapolis Colt?’”Swoope watched the team’s Week 2 win in Washington from the couch, recorded the game on his DVR, then re-watched the offensive sets so they’d stick in his mind. Seven days later he hauled in Andrew Luck’s final completion of the day in Philadelphia, scraping his way down to the Eagles’ 4-yard line in a game the Colts couldn’t find a way to close.He was waived five days later, and watched the Colts lose to Houston in overtime at home. Four days after that he caught the second touchdown of his career in Foxboro, a nifty, 13-yard grab in traffic that cut the Patriots’ once-cushy lead down to seven.He flexed his biceps and screamed. Can you blame him? It had been that kind of month.“The biggest thing to me in all of this is, no matter what’s happening, do your teammates trust you?” Swoope says. “When it comes down to game time, it’s you and the guys out there. Doesn’t matter if you play eight games, or four games, or all 16 games.“To me, that’s what meant so much to me in that Thursday night game. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. When I’m called to duty to make a play, I’m going to be in the right place at the right time.”As for Pipkins, the corner traded from Green Bay the final week of the preseason, only to get cut six days later, he calls the last six weeks “one of the craziest times of my life.” A Packers scout called him out of a defensive meeting back on August 26, and since then he’s bounced between the active roster and the waiver wire and the practice squad.He remembers throwing every article of clothing he could find into his biggest suitcase, remembers his first practice snap in Indianapolis, a pick-six of Jacoby Brissett, remembers getting cut twice in 20 days, and certainly remembers Ballard’s call last week. That suitcase? Took over a month to arrive. Pipkins spends his off days running to the mall so he can buy enough clothes to get him through the week.Shaken by the emotional swings, Pipkins remains undaunted. “My just knowing I’m a dog, I’m not gonna let any of that get me down. … I’m gonna keep fighting no matter who I’m fighting for or what number’s on my back.”Swoope learned early the NFL was a cold business, but wasn’t ready for the curveballs this fall. It’s leveled him with a new appreciation. Nothing humbles a player more than learning they’re expendable any given week.“In college, you’re on scholarship, locked in for four years,” Swoope says. “Here, I learned fast that it can be week-to-week, damn near day-to-day, and that was a harsh reality when I first started, and that was
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<strong style=”margin: 0px 3px 0px 0px; padding: 0px; color: #000000; font-family: ‘Microsoft YaHei’; font-size: 12px;”><strong style=”margin: 0px 3px 0px 0px; padding: 0px;”>to the fact that people were losing their jobs, and families were having to relocate in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, all it took was one bad game, even one bad assignment.”Then he relays it to his current situation.“My dad always used to tell me to give the coaching staff enough reason that they can’t take me off the field. I’ve been thinking that from my rookie year on.”He’ll want to keep that thought lodged in his mind. Life in this league can change in an instant. Swoope’s been living it the past month, and the season is just five games old.<em style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px;”>Call Star reporter Zak Keefer at (317)<strong style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px;”>https://www.robgronkowskifanonlie.com/authentic-lawrence-guy-jersey-sale-1_83.html-6134 and <strong style=”margin: 0px; padding: 0px;”>https://www.robgronkowskifanonlie.com/authentic-lawrence-guy-jersey-sale-1_83.html follow him on Twitter: @zkeefer.Dwayne Allen Jersey Terrance Knighton Jersey Jason King Jersey Tedy Bruschi JerseyJonathan Cooper Jersey Josh Kline Jersey Aaron Dobson Jersey Brandin Cooks Jersey Duron Harmon Jersey Justin Coleman Jersey Damarius Travis Jersey Tom Brady White Elite Jersey Nike Tom Brady Jersey On Sale Reggie Wayne Jersey Tom Brady Jersey Cheap Jacob Hollister Jersey Dion Lewis Jersey Jamie Collins Jersey Will Likely Jersey
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