As Eagles begin shedding players, Doug Pederson can empathize with them

Ed Kracz

Sitting on pins and needles might be an understatement when it comes to NFL players waiting to hear if they will have a job once this weekend ends.

Doug Pederson knows the feeling all too well. The Eagles coach was cut about a dozen times during an NFL career that lasted 12 years, mostly as a backup quarterback. He can certainly empathize with what so many Eagles are going through right now as they await their fate.

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Pederson said his harshest cut of all came in 1995 with the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins had signed Dan McGwire that offseason.

“I came into training camp and felt like I had outperformed him and out played him,” said Pederson. “I was the fourth guy on the roster and ended up getting released at the end of training camp, and of course you're disappointed, you’re a little bitter and kind of upset about it.”

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Pederson.

He was signed by the Green Bay Packers and spent eight seasons there backing up Brett Favre.

“This is not the end of the road for these players,” said the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning coach. “I tell them all the time, they’re obviously competing for our team but there are 31 other teams that are looking at our roster to see who gets released and who stays and all of that. So your dream is never, never over, and it was my case in '95 when I went to Green Bay and had a chance to play on two Super Bowl teams and go from there.”

Having been through the ugly process of cuts, Pederson tries to ease his players’ minds in the few days leading up the final preseason game.

“It's tough, it's hard,” said Pederson. “There is a lot of uncertainty, am I going to make it or not? I think at this point of the training camp, in their mind, they kind of see exactly what's in front of them. I try to explain to them, listen, you can't count the numbers of guys in line.

“You just have to make every rep count and every play count. So I know it can be a little bit of a distracting week for some of these players, but at the same time, you still want them to go out and play and play well.”

The Eagles have until Saturday at 4 p.m. to have their roster at 53 players, but they can still alter it in the few days that follow.