This week’s episode of Hard Knock’s unfolded more akin to an HBO drama series, rather than an HBO sports/documentary series. There was high tension, unpredictable developments, broken spirits, and life-altering decisions. With over 150 gridiron athletes eyeing a spot on the roster, the league-mandated 53 player roster, forced elimination factors that determined who was going into the regular season with the Cleveland Browns.
As mentioned during the first episode of Hard Knocks, all players (including Browns veterans), had to earn the brown stripe that is superimposed on the orange helmet. In lieu of attempting to list the fate of the 150+ players, below is a list of Hard Knocks featured players that made the cut:
- Winning the Heisman trophy, signing for a $30 million dollar guaranteed salary, and performing well during the preseason, secured Baker Mayfield’s spot on the roster. Yet, the promising rookie will serve as the backup quarterback until further notice. Tyrod Taylor will remain at the starting QB position.
- Antonio “I have yet to learn that marijuana is not legalized for athletes” Calloway, made the starting squad, despite recent run-ins with the police. The future of this versatile wide receiver will not only depend on his playing caliber but his ability to obey the law. Veteran wide receiver and Calloway’s assigned mentor Jarvis Landry also made the starting line-up.
And sometimes good just isn’t good enough. The Cleveland Browns dropped potential backup quarterback Brogan Roback. Roback made his debut and exit on Hard Knocks episode 5. With an exceptionally supportive girlfriend in the crowd during the preseason game against the Detroit Lions, Roback shined in the second half of the game. The Browns were already on to certain victory, and Roback still managed to throw a touchdown pass to widen the margin. Despite this, the coaching staff still cut the young man from the 2018 roster. Coach Hue Jackson, having given words of encouragement to each axed player, said that he saw a professional football future that had Roback leading the offense on another team. Roback was not totally surprised by the decision, despite the strong performance. Having more than three quarterbacks on a single NFL team in unwarranted, even in an injury-plagued environment. More of this year’s favorites that would not be earning stripes were:
- Devon Cajuste’. The strong-willed tight-end had to break the heart of a father who has had three heart attacks, by telling him he was not a Browns. Cajuste’ showed great dexterity by receiving short and medium ranged passes under extreme coverage. His agility and strength were showcased while blocking. Nonetheless, the young man was still sent with his bags packed, with a destination to elsewhere.
- Carl Nassib & Nate Orchard. Both Nassib and Orchard were in a fierce but gentlemanly competition for a defensive lineman position. Both failed at that objective. Orchard scored the only defensive touchdown of the preseason for the Browns and practiced consistently well. Nassib improved his tackling exponentially throughout the training camp but was met with the “I am sorry, but we need you to come in” phone call, following the victory over the Lions. The fate of Orchard’s NFL career is currently unknown, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added Nassib to their roster.
- Linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who won a Superbowl with the Philadelphia Eagles last season, was indicted on insider trading charges. He was immediately cut from the Browns before the story could sensationalize in multiple media outlets.
The emotional roller-coaster that was this episode will most likely be eclipsed by the upcoming NFL season that faces the Cleveland Browns. Maybe, you’ll pay a bit more attention to the Browns that have earned their stripes now that you followed Hard Knocks. Good Luck Browns!