I’m sure you know what Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor, David Garrard, Kyle Brady, Mike Peterson and even Byron Leftwich have in common. All were either unceremoniously cut or dumped from the Jaguars when they seemed to have some productive years left in their NFL careers. Stars at one point while playing in Jacksonville, they all were considered expendable and sent on their way.
Boselli was exposed to the expansion draft, they didn’t think Taylor could be a back up so they cut him; Garrard was shoved out by a first round pick. Brady fell out of favor with the coaching staff and ended up on a Super Bowl team in New England. Mike P questioned Jack Del Rio and was allowed to move on. He is still starting for the Falcons. Leftwich wasn’t cutting it according to the coaching staff and wouldn’t react well to a demotion.
Whether their assessment of a player’s skills was correct or not, when a team is done with you, they’re done. No niceties in this business. It’s pretty cut and dried when they call you in and tell you you’re services are no longer needed. Sometimes it’s a classic “Coach wants to see you and bring your playbook.” Sometimes they grab you after a meeting or after practice and tell you you’re gone. It’s not a long process and it can be a combustible situation.
There are stories about the player taking a swing at a coach. Or verbally dressing him down. I came across the Jaguars player personnel guy in his office once with a player signing his “separation” papers at his desk. With security standing guard outside the hall just in case and to provide an escort out of the building.
When you look at that short list of players, you could make an argument that most were done and spent the last few years of their careers just hanging on. How they cut Garrard was pretty harsh, and not right, just 5 days before the season. Same thing with Leftwich just before the opener. But it underscores the harsh nature of professional sports. You’re in it until somebody else says you’re not. And when you’re out, you’re gone.
It’s no wonder the players are so focused and intent on keeping their jobs. They know they’re one play away from it being over.
Have you ever been fired? I have, and it’s no fun no matter how they handle it. Recently in radio I was fired via text! That’s not harsh, that’s just cowardly. In pro sports they’ll look you in the eye at least and tell you you’re done. But when they’re done with you, they’re done.