Hundreds of NFL dreams ended on Saturday afternoon, as rosters had to be cut from 90 men to 53. That meant over 1,000 men were without jobs as of that 4 p.m. deadline.
Luckily for some, there’s a repreive – being signed to a team’s practice squad.
That’s exactly what happened to former Charlotte Catholic and North Carolina star running back Elijah Hood on Sunday.
Hood’s career at Charlotte Catholic, where he rushed for 8,981 yards and 147 touchdowns, made him one of the most sought-after running back recruits in the nation. He chose to attend UNC after initially committing to Notre Dame. His sophomore year, he ran for 1,463 yards and 17 touchdowns in his best season with the Tar Heels.
For his efforts, Hood was drafted in the seventh round in April’s NFL draft by Oakland, only to be waived on Saturday as part of cutdowns. Then a day later, Oakland announced it had signed Hood to a spot on its practice squad.
So what does that really mean for him? Here’s the five things to know about life on an NFL practice squad:
▪ Each NFL team can keep 10 players on its practice squad. Of those 10, only four can have played two NFL seasons already. Hood’s a rookie, so he obviously hasn’t.
▪ They get paid, and well. The minimum per week for practice squad players is $7,200, so theoretically if Hood was there for the entire regular season, he’d make $122,400.
▪ Practice squad players can be signed to another team’s active roster at any time, but not to another team’s practice squad. For example, the Panthers could sign Hood to their 53-man roster, but they couldn’t steal him off the Raiders squad for their practice squad.
▪ The Raiders play the Titans in their season-opener, so couldn’t the Titans theoretically sign Hood to get a little inside information about Tennessee? Nope – teams can only sign players from that week’s opponent’s practice squad five days or more before the game.
▪ Players only have three seasons of practice squad eligibility, so Hood better hope he lands a spot on a 53-man roster soon. His clock is ticking.