FRISCO, Texas — Two undrafted free agents that were acquired soon after the NFL Draft in April made the initial 53-cut for the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday as Oregon product OL T.J. Bass and North Dakota State product FB Hunter Luepke were among the 11 rookies to make the cut.
For each, it was a testament to their performance in training camp and the preseason to make the active roster, but it's also a sign of what the staff expects out of them this season and in the future.
"It feels great, it's a big accomplishment," Bass said. "The work is just starting still, so I still got a lot of work to do."
"It was awesome," Luepke said. "Showed up yesterday and I was able to go to all of the meetings. It was a special time. I've worked hard for this my whole life and I got the chance to make this team, and I made the most of it."
Upon learning that they made the roster, Bass and Luepke both made phone calls to loved ones to share the big news.
"I called my wife," Luepke said. "She was just super happy for me. She knows the hours that I've put in playing football. She was very excited for me and excited for our future."
"I called my parents later," Bass said. "There were a lot of emotions. They were super proud, happy for me."
When you're cut from the roster, the process is typically straight-forward. You get called out of a meeting and learn the news. But when you make a roster, sometimes it can be a little unsure until you make it to the end of meetings without being called out.
"You just kind of show up," Bass said. "If you're there and you don't get pulled out of meetings or anything, you know you made it."
"Hours were ticking by and I was getting nervous, but I felt good at the end of the day," Luepke said. "I called my wife and she said to just put the phone down."
Arriving at training camp as a rookie is one thing, but as an undrafted free agent, the task in front can be daunting. While each needed time to settle in, the eventual confidence gained became important towards the eventual success.
"Once we got into the second week of camp, things started to click and confidence started rising," Bass said. "When you see improvements, it's nice to see and confidence just rises from that. You're able to play faster once you know the offense better too."
"I just took every opportunity and ran with it," Luepke said. "I think they like how quick I learned our offensive scheme with pass pro. I really took pride in learning everything that I possibly could."