Each player found out in a different way and some of the celebrations were a little different as well, but when each of the four undrafted rookies found out he'd made the Falcons' final 53-man roster, the feeling was all the same. It didn't take long, however, for that sense of joy and pride to wear off and be replaced with a feeling of "what's next?"
"I think it's definitely more of a first step," offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder said Monday. "I've still got a lot to prove. I've definitely still got bigger goals. I just want to keep getting better as a player and try to benefit the team as much as I can."
Schraeder joins Terren Jones on the offensive line as undrafted rookies making the squad. On the other side of the ball, linebackers Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu landed spots after joining the team as college free agents following the draft. For them the odds were long to make the roster, but now there's not much time for relief.
"Not so much relief," Worrilow said as he stood in front of his new locker, sporting his new No. 55. "I've still got to prove myself out here. Now I really have to go out and perform well. Now is when it counts. There's definitely not a sense of relief but a sense that now that I'm here, let's go."
For some, Saturday evening rolled around and they heard nothing, a sign that they were still on the roster. Others received a text message. Calls to mothers and family members came after the deadline Saturday evening from most undrafted guys and a little celebration dinner came shortly afterwards.
For Worrilow, making the roster was the culmination of a preseason worth of hard work and it coincided with the first time he'd seen his girlfriend, also from Delaware, since camp began over a month ago. The linebacker said he thought making the team generated more excitement from his family, but once he rejoined the team after the weekend off and was a member of a roster of 53 players in the locker room, he got excited, as well.
But in the NFL there's not much time for excitement. Almost as soon as they made the roster did the calendar turn to Week 1 of the regular season. Now comes the hard part of carrying what they accomplished in the last month forward. Each player wants to make the coaching staff look smart for selecting him and not make anyone regret picking one of them over a player with a better draft pedigree. Each of them wants to be more than a player on the roster, they want to now contribute.
"I've still got a lot to prove," Bartu said. "It's just one step toward my ultimate goal and that's to make a big impact on this team. It's been a great journey."