Between them, Laveranues Coles and Antonio Bryant have 1,046 career receptions, more than 14,000 combined receiving yards and 79 touchdowns in the NFL. That both of them are suddenly out of work, however, is not entirely surprising.
Coles’ days as an NFL receiver may be over. Bryant’s days are probably not finished, but first he has to get over an injury to his left knee that has been plaguing him since last year.
Training camp stories like these happen every year. Jobs are tough to win in the NFL, even if a player has 10 years in the league, as Coles does. But the New York Jets released him on Sunday in order to get down to 75 players, leaving him with few options.
Coles, who is 32 and in his third stint with the Jets, said he might retire after this latest tour. He was holding down a position until Santonio Holmes’ suspension ends (probably after four games), so the cut he endured Sunday was especially unkind. Coach Rex Ryan said it was possible the team could still re-sign Coles, calling it a "definite possibility."
Bryant, 29, signed a four-year, $28-million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in March, but his knee – combined with the team’s signing of Terrell Owens as a complement to Chad Ochocinco – left him with virtually no opportunity to make the final roster. He was also released.
Bryant injured his knee twice last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and admittedly tried to come back too soon. But the Bengals nonetheless gave him a deal that will pay him $6.95 million in bonuses for absolutely nothing. He did not appear in any of the team’s three preseason games.
So what happens now to Bryant? Depending on what happens with Coles, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Jets come calling – and assuming Bryant can pass a physical.
That’s life in the NFL. One career ends, another begins anew.