NFL dream realized; taken away
Last Friday, Jamie Cumbie found out a second training camp with the Oakland Raiders had paid off in the form of a spot on their 53-man roster.
By the end of the weekend, that spot was gone.
Cumbie, a 2006 graduate of Morris Community High School, initially survived the Raiders’ last round of cuts following their fourth and final preseason game last Thursday. The good news was followed by heartbreak when the Raiders needed to find room for three players they signed the following day. Cumbie, who had battled a foot injury during the preseason, was waived/injured last Saturday, Sept. 1, and was waived from injured reserve on Wednesday. He reached an injury settlement from the team.
Andy Peterson, who was defensive coordinator for the 2005 state-championship team at MCHS on which Cumbie played, is currently an assistant at Wilmington High. Peterson, who remains in contact with Cumbie and his family, got a phone call as the Wildcats were getting ready to play Sandwich last Friday night.
"He called me up and told me he'd made it. He was thrilled," Peterson said. "Forty-eight hours later, he was crushed.
"He called Friday night and told me, and they threw a big party for him. The next day, he got a call telling him they were putting him on injured reserve."
Multiple attempts to reach Cumbie this week were unsuccessful.
A Raiders spokesperson confirmed this week that the team had reached an injury settlement with Cumbie and that he was no longer a member of the team.
"It’s a very common practice in the NFL," the spokesperson said in an email.
Cumbie, who played at Clemson University, spent training camp in 2011 with the Raiders. He did not make the 53-man roster, but the team re-signed him to its practice squad. The Raiders re-signed him as a reserve/future free agent on Jan. 3, 2012, which led to him competing in training camp with them for a second time.
In the Raiders' 2012 preseason opener against Dallas, Cumbie assisted on three tackles and had a pass deflection. He did not play in their second preseason game at Arizona due to the foot injury.
Cumbie was able to play in the third preseason game against Detroit, and his stat line included a sack, two solo tackles and three pass deflections. In the wake of that game, several Raiders beat writers and bloggers began speculating that he was likely to survive the final cuts.
After that game, Cumbie acknowledged that the upcoming cuts were "always in the back of your mind" in comments posted on the team website.
"We’re reminded constantly every day, that cuts come after the third preseason game, down to 53 the next," Cumbie said, according to the website. "I’m just a firm believer I was on practice squad last year and I’m just lucky to be here. I’m a firm believer in hard work, getting after it, realizing what you’ve got. Hard work pays off.”