Wide Receiver Keon Hatcher
And now, the waiting begins.
With Thursday's preseason finale now in the rearview mirror, for the Oakland Raiders players sitting squarely on the proverbial roster bubble, it's all out of their hands now.
Now, they go about their business and wait, hoping that the phone either rings or doesn't ring; most of them aren't quite sure how the whole "hey, you've made the team" conversation goes.
"I don't know if they call you if it's good news," said wide receiver K.J. Brent postgame. "I don't know, so I'm just waiting for everything, and whatever happens, happens, and just letting the man above take control for now."
It's an interesting situation to be in for sure, and the uncertainty of whether or not you want to see that 510 area code pop up on your phone between now and Saturday is the perfect embodiment of just how confusing the next 48 hours can be for a bunch of young players within spitting distance of realizing their NFL dreams.
"I think that's how it goes," added rookie linebacker Woodson-Luster. "You know, I'm a rookie, so I'm assuming that's how it goes. I just stayed prayed up, and stay positive about the situation."
The situation is this; as of now, the Silver and Black's roster sits at 90 players, and with the removal of the reduction to 75 players, the Raiders will have to cut their roster by nearly half to meet the 53-man requirement by Saturday at 1:00 p.m. PST.
"There's a lot going on these next couple of days, but everything really isn't in my control," said wide receiver Keon Hatcher who finished his preseason with a team-leading five catches and a touchdown. "All I have to do is just stay focused, continue to work, and let God handle the rest. The coaches have some tough decisions to make, and hopefully I'm on the right side of those decisions."
And Hatcher is right, General Manager Reggie McKenzie, Head Coach Jack Del Rio and their respective staffs will certainly have some tough calls to make before all is said and done Saturday afternoon, a fact that Del Rio alluded to in his postgame remarks.
"[General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] and I talk and work through it," Del Rio explained. "That's really how we do it. It's very inclusive and a lot of information. A lot of tape to look at. I think what we want to do is end up picking the right 53 for us, and understand what's out there with the league and opportunities that become available."
The preseason finale – while it doesn't showcase starters on either team – is interesting in myriad ways, mainly in the sense that for these "bubble" players on both sides of the ball, a good play here, or a bad play there can be the difference between ending up on the final roster or not.
No pressure, right?
"I know what's at stake," Brent said. "I know it's a competition, and I'm trying to make this team, I'm trying to do everything I can to make this team. Like I said, I feel like I did a pretty good job of honing in on what I had to do and executing."
The former Wake Forest Demon Deacon's four-catch performance ensured his preseason ended on a high note, so now, like a handful of his Raiders teammates, Brent will spend the next few days waiting, counting down the hours until he finds out if he's earned one of the 53 coveted spots on the final roster.
"It's a waiting game now," Brent said. "It's anxious. The anticipation is pretty high. You just want to get to that day, and I guess find your fate."
The Raiders have meetings tomorrow, and then Brent, Hatcher, and Woodson-Luster, will start waiting once again, hoping the phone does or doesn't ring.