Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Keelan Doss appears to currently be in no man’s land in terms of the roster.
This time of the football year is full of excitement and hope. Fans from around the league are always excited about their team, and a new season brings hope and possibility, especially from teams that lacked it the year before.
With that said, for the players who spend this time fighting for a roster spot, it’s anything but that. This part of the year revolves around stress and competition. Fans don’t care too much about preseason games, but for these players, their careers oftentimes literally depend on them.
It’s a story that must be told. Football has plenty of its own household names that everybody knows, and we expect to watch them every Sunday. A majority of the players in the NFL haven’t reached that level, and likely never will. Most players enter training camp knowing that every single snap they see in camp and the preseason games matter. A simple drop, a missed assignment, or missed tackle could be the difference between making a roster or losing a spot in the NFL.
This week, the Raiders had to trim their roster down to 80 players before their preseason finale. Marcell Ateman, Rasul Douglas, and several others found their Raiders’ careers shut down. If they can’t find another team, this could be the end of their NFL careers. Most fans don’t care about these players, but they often are undergoing one of the most important time periods in their lives as they try to keep their careers alive.
This is the situation Keelan Doss currently finds himself in.
Doss became a fan favorite when the team was still in Oakland. Doss played at Alameda High School and then spent another four years at UC Davis. He was a local kid, at least when the Raiders were still in Northern California, and many fans were excited to see the team grab him as an undrafted free agent in 2019.
Doss was one of the stars on Hard Knocks during his first training camp. Despite that, he didn’t make the team. Doss was able to sign onto the Jaguars’ practice squad a few days later. A week later, he was signed again by the Raiders after they released Antonio Brown. Doss was able to re-sign with the Raiders the next offseason and was once again cut. He re-signed to the practice squad where he spent the season, save for an appearance in Week 4.
Now, Doss finds himself on the roster bubble for the third consecutive year. Doss has had some solid moments this year and played well during the last preseason game against the Rams. He seems to have built some chemistry with backup quarterback Nathan Peterman, and the two had several connections on Saturday. Still, Doss has had some issues as well. Many players have the luxury of roster safety despite those mistakes. Doss does not have that luxury, neither do countless other players.
Doss now finds himself in a position many players around the league can relate to. He showed enough to make an NFL roster, but will he be able to stand out enough amongst his counterparts in the Raiders wide receiver room? His story is like many others. In all three years of his short career, he’s been forced to fight tooth and nail for a roster spot, let alone playing time. This is the reality most players in the NFL have to deal with this time of the year.
Sometimes, hearing about the big-name players so often makes you forget the NFL is a cutthroat business. This is the only time of the year fans realize just how brutal it is when so many players get cut. As the preseason winds down, the Raiders and other teams around the league will have to cut 27 players to get their roster down to 53. Let’s pay attention to the stories of these players that either make or miss the cut.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri