Life on NFL practice squad: short leases, luggage

By Teresa M. Walker, AP

NASHVILLE, Tennessee–Unlike his millionaire teammates, Brett Brackett doesn’t go to a mansion after work. Home for the Tennessee tight end is a bedroom in an apartment shared with three other Titans practice squad players �X any of whom could be gone in 24 hours. He’s bounced himself from practice squad to roster and back again with the Titans and Seattle Seahawks nine times since September.

So short-term apartment rentals are a must when it’s time to pack up and move on.

��It’s nice to have a month-to-month thing so you’re not locked in or somebody you can split rent with like that,�� Brackett said.

Chasing an NFL job leaves no time to be choosy about roommates or living conditions, and opportunities abound as the NFL season winds down. Through Wednesday, 279 players are on injured reserve around the league. Teams juggle rosters, signing and releasing players to have enough before the next kickoff. That keeps practice squad players hoping for the right fit at the bottom of an NFL roster.

��(They) have an opportunity to participate at this level when perhaps they had no snaps coming in before,�� said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who has a league-high 19 players on injured reserve.

Teams also sign players with an eye to next season.

��You see that happening on the wire every day,�� Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ��Teams are trying to look at the back end of their roster and improve it and get opportunities.��

Brackett entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2011. Now he turns 27 on Saturday having spent at least a few days with six different teams, including stints on the practice squads in Miami, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Seattle. Some stops have been as short as two days. An injured knee three days after being claimed off waivers by the Jaguars in 2012 meant a whole season on injured reserve.

This year has been Brackett’s busiest. He started with a futures’ contract in Arizona in January before detouring through Miami and Tennessee with a quick stop in Seattle. The Titans have signed him the most, adding him to the practice squad three different times and later promoting him to the active roster before waiving him a couple days later.

Seattle claimed Brackett off waivers Oct. 21 only to cut him a week later, then signed him to the practice squad Oct. 30 only to see Tennessee poach him back by signing him to the roster once again Nov. 5.

Even amid all those moves, the Dolphins stand out.

��I went into camp the third day with Miami, then three days later I was cut because they had issues at another position,�� Brackett said. ��Then four days later they re-signed me, and three days later played in the first preseason game, had three catches for 60 yards. That was within seven days I was on and off a team and then playing.��

He enjoyed a quick weekend at home in Pennsylvania, with the Dolphins saying they’d likely bring him back.