The Jaguars are just a few days away from purging their 90-man roster.
The moves made to get to the initial 53-man squad create intrigue for the fan base, but for those inside EverBank Field, it's a stressful process.
Players are fearful for their jobs. Coaches are eager to form the best group of guys to produce wins for the Jaguars.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone falls into that second category, but he also shares a personal connection with players on the fringe of the roster.
“I was that guy, so I think that has probably helped that a little bit more," Marrone said Monday.
"When that day comes I think it’s tough. I’ve been cut six times myself. I know from personal experience that you sit there and you’ve worked your ass off and you’re in that hotel room or wherever you may be and you go to yourself, ‘Tomorrow morning I’m going to wake up and walk into this building that I’ve been walking into for so long and either it’s going to be the greatest day of my life or I’m not going to have a job.’"
Marrone entered the NFL as an undrafted offensive lineman in 1987. He only saw the field in five regular season games with the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints.
He bounced around to a few other NFL cities before becoming a college tight ends coach in 1992.
Now in the spot where he has to make the calls for players to be released, Marrone feels for those he has to let go, especially those who worked so hard to earn a job.
"I have respect for everyone that has come in and done that," Marrone said. "I kind of know what they’ve gone through. I think that day is probably the worst day of the year for me, and I don’t have a problem cutting someone that is not doing what they’re supposed to do, but there’s a lot of guys."
Marrone will need to make 37 roster moves by Saturday at 4 p.m. The majority of the departures will look for work elsewhere, but only some will get another shot.
That's the reality of playing in the NFL. Players know it's a business, but that doesn't make the news any better to hear.
"You sit there and look in their eye and it’s hard," Marrone said. "It just hurts.”
The Jaguars' fringe players will get one more shot to make sure Marrone doesn't have that conversation with them. Thursday's preseason finale against the Atlanta Falcons will be the final test for those looking to stay on the Jacksonville squad.
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