One of the most riveting parts of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” every August is the end of the series, where players are fighting for their jobs and a lot of the time, end up being released by their team.
Such was the case for the Cleveland Browns, as their final episode aired on premium cable network Tuesday night.
The Browns had to cut down from 90 to 53 players just like every other team this past weekend. And, after getting to the 53 limit, one intriguing move was their Sunday release of popular and talented defensive end Carl Nassib. Intriguing because of his potential, and because he was quickly gobbled up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and put on the Bucs 53-man roster Monday.
Nassib, who was drafted in the third round two years ago and had started 15 games over the last two seasons, was still not in Cleveland’s plans to begin the season.
Here’s the exchange shown Tuesday night from the behind the scenes camera with coach Hue Jackson, as Nassib entered his office Sunday afternoon:
Nassib: “Coach, how you doing?”
Jackson: “Not great (in reference to having to make cuts). How you doing?” Jackson continued, “These are the tough times in my job. Not fun.”
Nassib: “It can’t be easy for you?”
Jackson: “Nooooo.” He continued, “Obviously, I love ya to death. Think you’re a helluva football player. Obviously we’re letting you go. You got a bright future ahead of yourself.”
Nassib: (Smiling) “Thank you, sir.”
Jackson: “You’re a good man. You’ll be missed. But, this is what we’re doing (releasing him). Anything I can ever do to help just call on me and I will.”
Nassib: “I wish I could be here with you to turn it around. I wish you all the best. You’re great guy. Great coach. You’re gonna do great things here.”
Jackson: “Thank you. So are you. There’s no question in my mind.”
With that the 6’7 Nassib stood up, hugged Jackson and left his office. He then cleaned out his locker saying goodbye to a couple of teammates and an equipment assistant and then, was shown driving off.
The show immediately made mention that Nassib had already landed with a new team, the Bucs. Tampa Bay signed him on Monday to help provide spark rushing from the defensive end spot.
Nassib has got 5.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss in his career. And, he was the former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at Penn State in 2015. He also registered a sack/fumble in the preseason finale’ with the Lions last Thursday night, as well.
“Hard Knocks” always delivers with access rarely seen anywhere else in the NFL, and the Browns having to make a difficult and risky choise to get rid of him, was definitely worth the watch.
And now, there’s more intrigue, as the Bucs will host Cleveland on October 21st.
Let’s see if Nassib sticks on the roster and is active for that game against his old club.
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