But for those who don’t fall into that category — an extraordinarily high number of players — it’s a cutthroat and unpredictable business, where at any time you could get a visit from “The Turk” and receive your walking papers.
To Packers general manager Ted Thompson, cutting players is the worst part of his job — a sentiment likely shared league-wide.
“Often times, most of the time, I get physically sick, like I get this huge cold or something,” Thompson told Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Gannett, via USA Today’s ‘For The Win’.
By Saturday, all teams must trim their rosters down to 53 players. A lot of jobs will be ended and dreams crushed. Although he realizes the necessity, Thompson says it affects him on a personal level.
“You get attached to the guys, you always wonder if you’re doing the right thing,” Thompson said. “Because there’s no one set answer. There’s no right answer. There’s multiple different decisions you have to make.”
He believes some just don’t grasp the gravity of it all.
“Sometimes from the public standpoint, it’s a little too much fantasy football,” Thompson said. “This is a hard thing to do is to come in and compete against grown men and make a roster in the NFL, so sometimes there’s almost a flippant way of reporting that so and so got axed or something like that. I think that’s a little harsh. Maybe I’m a little sensitive to it because once upon a time I got axed, but it’s hard.”
This is an interesting and candid perspective shared by Thompson, universally regarded as one of the league’s best GMs and evaluators of talent. As captured on shows like “Hard Knocks,” it’s brutality depressing watching players be chopped, and the accompanying sadness and anger that fills their faces. It turns out it’s no walk in the park for anyone involved.
(Photo credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)