By JOE SCALZO
It’s not completely accurate to say Donald Jones was nervous about whether he would make the Buffalo Bills roster on Saturday’s NFL cutdown day.
He’s been nervous a lot longer than that.
“Oh man,” he said, “I’ve been nervous for the last month.”
The nerves only got worse when the former YSU wide receiver attended team meetings on Saturday, but when the day passed without getting called in by the coaches, he knew he’d made it.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Jones, speaking by phone Saturday night. “It was a hard road go to through.”
When asked when it finally hit him, he laughed and said, “It still hasn’t, really. It probably won’t until next Sunday.”
Jones is the only former YSU player currently on an NFL team. Chargers running back Marcus Mason, who played at YSU in 2005-06, was released on Aug. 31.
The former standout wide receiver at Youngstown State seemed like a long shot four months ago when he signed with the Bills after going unselected in April’s NFL draft. But he stayed positive and vowed to make the coaches’ decision as difficult as possible.
“I wanted to get drafted and I was very disappointed that it didn’t happen,” he said. “I knew I had a lot of work to do to make the team and that’s all I’ve been doing the last few months.
“I wasn’t going to let anyone outwork me.”
Jones (6-2, 210), a first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection, had an impressive senior year for the Penguins. He set a single-season school record for receptions (77) to go with a team-high 790 yards and six TDs. He twice tied the school record with 11 receptions in a game (Missouri State and Southern Illinois).
Buffalo opens the season Sept. 12 against the Dolphins.
“It’s been a pretty big past few weeks,” he said. “I haven’t come down yet.”
Mooney High graduate Kyle McCarthy was cut by the Denver Broncos on Saturday as teams whittled their roster to the 53-man limit. McCarthy, a standout safety out of Notre Dame, could be re-signed to the practice squad.
Like Jones, McCarthy went undrafted in April, then signed with Denver as a free agent.
Fitch High graduate Dan Gerberry, an offensive lineman from Ball State, was waived by the Detroit Lions.
Gerberry, who went undrafted in 2009, spent much of last year on the practice squad before being activated before Week 16. He did not see action in a game. He is also eligible for the practice squad.
Around the NFL:
Justin Hartwig, the Steelers’ starting center the last two seasons, has been cut after the team failed to work out a trade for him. Hartwig, due to make $2,080,000 this season, was beaten out by first-round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey.
Also cut were Stefan Logan, the primary kickoff and punt returner last season; offensive lineman Kraig Urbik, a third-round pick in 2009; cornerback Joe Burnett, fullback Frank Summers, defensive linemen Sunny Harris, Steve McLendon and Doug Worthington, linebacker Patrick Bailey, wide receiver Tyler Grisham and safety Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith.
The Cleveland Browns activated Pro Bowl nose tackle Shaun Rogers from the physically-unable-to-perform list and waived two rookie draft picks to get to the 53-man roster limit.
The Browns announced that defensive back Larry Asante (fifth round) and defensive lineman Clifton Geathers (sixth round) were released. The team also waived veteran cornerback Brandon McDonald, quarterback Brett Ratliff, tight end DeAngelo Smith and terminated the contract of wide receiver Bobby Engram.
Two former Heisman trophy winners were also cut.
Baltimore parted ways with backup quarterback, and former Ohio State standout, Troy Smith. The Arizona Cardinals released quarterback Matt Leinart.
Leinart won the Heisman trophy in 2004, and Smith won it two years later.