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NFL final cut to 53 looms as 4 p.m. draws near

Welcome to the worst day in the NFL calendar, cuts day.

All 32 NFL teams must reduce their 90-man rosters to a maximum 53 players by 4 p.m. ET.

In a process that already began, more than 1,100 men will lose their jobs. Brutal.

Some players will be re-signed to 10-man practice squads, which can be established Sunday afternoon following the first waiver period. Most, however, will see their dreams crushed. Men who have worked tirelessly in the background, away from the cameras and scribes, hoping for one more chance to continue playing at the highest level will be told they must find a new job.

Yes, it's a part of the business of football. It's also a part zero people involved enjoy.

For the two or three longshots that make every roster, there are many more whose faint hopes are swallowed up by the black hole of a bitter cold business.

"It's probably the most difficult day from a coaching standpoint because these kids have given their heart and soul to you for a time," Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, per the team's website. "So, when you see the ones that make it, it gives you a little boost, and the ones that don't make it pull you back a little bit. It's good and bad throughout the day. You'd love for them all to make it, but it's just not how it works."

Reid has vast experience with cuts, having been an NFL coach every season for the past 19 years.

"We're upfront with them [from the beginning] and we tell them all along that not everybody is going to make the team," Reid noted. "Certain guys are going to make it because they're good special teams players and other guys who nobody thought were going to rise, [end up] rising. They go through the ups and downs of training camp, they work their way through it and we see who ends up on top."

In addition to cutting players to get to the first 53-man roster, teams must decide whether certain injured men will start on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to open the season, costing them the first six games of the season.

The job-churning doesn't stop there. As teams claim or sign other clubs' cut players in the following days, it will necessitate more roster churning. A man who "made" the team today, could lose his spot again tomorrow.

It's not the final 53-man roster, it's the first 53-man roster. The first of many.

Most of these players are young men, whose names the majority of fans have never heard and will never hear. Make no mistake, most were the best players in their hometowns, high school standouts and college studs. Many will have their longtime dreams end. Some will get another shot -- we wish all could have a Ricardo Allen-type redemption. For most, it's the end of the line.

Today is a brutal day in a brutal business.

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