The final episode of each season of HBO's "Hard Knocks" hinges on players on the NFL bubble, of the hard-fought battles for the final spots on a roster and the emotion of players getting the news about making the cut from their coaches.
Bucs linebacker Cameron Lynch has seen both sides of that, making the Rams' roster as an undrafted rookie two years ago, then getting cut last year even as "Hard Knocks" cameras followed the Rams in their first season in Los Angeles. Spoiler alert ahead: Lynch used a strong preseason to grab one of the last spots on the Bucs' roster and earning a job as a backup linebacker and key special-teams player.
"I've been through this before twice -- it was stressful, but at the same time, I knew I did my best," Lynch said of the hours waiting as final cuts were made, confident after getting seven tackles and a forced fumble in the final preseason game.
Players often only get a call if they're being cut, so it's the absence of a call that actually delivers the news they've worked so hard for -- Lynch said word that he had made the cut had trickled out through social media, so his phone was beseiged by congratulatory texts and voicemails.
"They were blowing my phone up -- I've been going through this since Day 1, the whole stress thing, but it was great," said Lynch, who made a quick series of phone calls once he was sure he had made the cut: "My parents, my girl, my best friends, everybody that's close to me."
Lynch was featured with his girlfriend on last week's episode of "Hard Knocks" -- their relationship became closer after he was cut by the Rams last season, and he settled in with the Bucs last year and now can be with Tampa Bay from the very beginning of this season. He said he did a wrapup interview for the final show, grateful he had come out on the right end of the storyline.
"I closed it up," he said. "Some good closure, and just happy with everything and will continue to grow. We've got more to go. It's not done yet. We've got to keep climbing."