After a restless night, hundreds of NFL players nervously checked their cellphones Saturday morning, cringing every time it buzzed.
Tim Tebow was among those who got the dreaded call telling him to come see the coach and bring in his playbook.
Teams had to whittle their rosters to the 53-man maximum Saturday, and although his release wasn’t a big surprise, Tebow was by far the biggest name among the notable cuts.
“I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback,” an undaunted Tebow tweeted.
After being let go by his third team in 18 months – and with the season just five days away – the quarterback’s chances of immediately catching on with another team seem slim.
Several other veteran QBs also found themselves looking for work on this Labor Day weekend as the Giants released longtime backup David Carr and the Packers cut Vince Young. The Bills chopped Matt Leinart on Friday and Thaddeus Lewis on Saturday, leaving undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel out of Washington State and injured rookie E.J. Manuel as the top options.
The Redskins went the other direction, keeping four QBs on their depth chart. Pat White joins Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman for the reigning NFC East champions.
Other noteworthy cuts included: Eagles RG Danny Watkins; 49ers LS Brian Jennings; 49ers WR Austin Collie; Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen; Saints S Jim Leonhard; Browns K Shayne Graham and Chargers WR Robert Meachem.
Those who made the 53-man rosters had a weekend respite before heading back to work Monday, except for the Broncos and Ravens, who kick off the season Thursday night in Denver.
Every coach calls this the cruelest day of the year in pro football. But today might prove worse as some bottom-rung players who barely had the chance to celebrate making the team get discharged in favor of waiver wire pickups.
Teams can field eight-man practice squads today.
This could be it for Tebow, the popular but polarizing player who has provided both his supporters and detractors with plenty of fodder during his 35-game NFL career that includes a 47.9 completion percentage, 17 touchdown throws, nine interceptions, a dozen TD runs and 15 fumbles.