Red Zone

New Chief describes agony of NFL cuts to Sports Illustrated

Many stories and videos, most notably HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series, have been devoted to capturing the emotion of a NFL player getting cut.

But the first-person account that

new Chiefs defensive end Austen Lane gave to Peter King’s MMQB website on Sports Illustrated

may be the closest thing to being in the room.

The Chiefs claimed Lane off waivers on June 14, a day after he was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars on the last day of their offseason training program.

Lane’s SI story describes a the start of normal practice day. Making a playlist for the drive in to work. Breakfast: a protein shake, four scrambled eggs with ham, a bowl of oatmeal, two orange juices, and three strips of bacon. Reviewing the playbook. Talking to teammates.

Then a scout taps Lane on the shoulder and he’s shuffled to general manager Dave Caldwell’s office.

Here’s Lane’s account of what happened next:

“Austen,’’ the general manager says, looking me in the eyes. “We are releasing you.’’ Cue numbness. A verbal lobotomy. That’s what the words “We are releasing you” feel like. I just sit, nodding my head like a human vegetable, saying nothing. Some sentences seep into my consciousness.
“You’re a great player.” “We just can’t see you fitting the system.” “You’ll get a shot on another team.’’ The rest gibberish.

Then Lane packs up his locker — he forgets a pair of shoes — and holds back tears.

“I look around at the vacant lockers and feel a single tear drip down my cheek,” Lane writes. “A new emotion hits me, one I can’t even name. Here I am trying to get out of the stadium as quickly as possible, but at the same time I feel like going as slowly as possible because this is last time I will ever be here. I want to abandon but cherish this moment, all at the same time.”

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