The preseason schedule has ended, leaving only one obstacle in the way from the regular season's arrival.
For players in the NFL, the last obstacle is the trickiest of them all though, with final cuts looming by the 6 p.m. EST deadline Saturday, Aug. 31.
For those slotted high on the Indianapolis Colts' depth chart, the Thursday, Aug. 29 preseason finale at the Cincinnati Bengals meant real game preparation is now around the corner.
For those still sweating out a spot on the final 53-man roster, it leaves another day and a half of anxiety and waiting.
Head coach Chuck Pagano Friday didn't provide any relief for those players, as he said not to expect any moves to be announced by the team before the deadline day with evaluations still ongoing. He said after Thursday's game how tough it is to finish this part of the process because of the relationships built up with every player, even over the short time that training camp provides.
"It’s extremely hard, and it’s an opportunity of a lifetime for a lot of them," he said Thursday. "They’ve probably been dreaming about this opportunity their whole life. For some of them, they’re going to get some disappointing news."
Part of those evaluations comes with figuring out where to put certain players onto the field, and rookie running back Kerwynn Williams said he knows that is what the coaches will decide.
"It could be and should be anything the coaches determine," he said Thursday. "That’s not really up to me. So wherever they feel it’s best for me to play, that’s where I’m able and willing to play."
Williams was the team's seventh-round 2013 draft choice out of Utah State, and could be the final running back to make the roster. The team already has second-year back Vick Ballard, along with free agent signing Ahmad Bradshaw, to go with Donald Brown. The team traded Delone Carter earlier in the preseason.
When the position you're at has plenty of players to pick from, guys such as safety Larry Asante may not know what to expect until the news is given out.
"All you can control is what you control, and that’s your play out on the field," Asante said Thursday. "All I can control is what I do out there on that field. I’m going to leave the decisions to the coaches."
While the players do control their actions on the field, they ultimately have no control on what decisions are made, and when they are announced.
Until they are, Williams said he and his teammates have only one thing left to do with the trickiest obstacle between them and an NFL future in front of them.
"What everyone else is doing — just wait," he said. "You’ve got to relax. You’ve got to go about your day."
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