Sitting in the Paul Brown Stadium press box at 4:00 p.m. on a hot, sunny afternoon, one bus of personnel has arrived and four more will follow shortly.
With those buses carry the football dreams of 22 players who will not be Colts in about 48 hours.
As the football world is aware, this is the final weekend of preseason play and all 32 teams are in action tonight.
Other than the final weekend of regular-season play, this is the only time all teams play on the same day.
By Saturday afternoon at 6:00 p.m., all teams have to be at the league-mandated roster size of 53 players.
That means many players across the league will be on edge as their immediate futures are unclear. A total of 704 players will be deleted from rosters this weekend.
Colts fans have started to learn the names of new players. Though they may not know them as well as the veterans, they have started to do their homework for the upcoming season.
Some of the players who will be let go have been a part of the organization since April. Some arrived via veteran free agency, some in the draft, some as undrafted free agents.
No matter the arrival, they were dunked into the club’s culture. That meant they became part of the family atmosphere established by Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano.
The two leaders did their jobs by stocking talent at each position group. Coaches tutored the players and spring OTAs gave way to training camp – and that leads to tonight.
Some veterans will play. Some likely will not. Names bandied about as “bubble” players likely are sweating a bit even before hitting the stadium’s hot artificial surface.
These guys have played the game since kids. For some, this will be the last stop in Indianapolis. Some could return quickly or eventually, others hopefully can land a roster spot elsewhere when the music stops this weekend.
Dreams die hard. It is not an easy time for Grigson or Pagano. They have scouted these men for at least a year and coached them almost half the year. Assistant coaches truly have drawn close to their charges. They are with them every day and know them far beyond on-field talent.
One player who had an outstanding Colts career, Dean Biasucci, once was dismissed by the team, then returned.
Biasucci went on to become the franchise’s leading scorer in an illustrious career. He remembers the highs and lows of what players went through and nailed it when asked the toughest thing he remembered about this time of year.
“It’s every kid’s dream to play pro ball. It’s awful to see those dreams get crushed,” said Biasucci.
Here’s hoping guys put their best foot forward. It is a tight job market locally, a bit bigger when counting the other 31 teams.
Tags: chuck pagano, dean biasucci, indianapolis colts, ryan grigson
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