Throughout the summer, Brian Moorman’s 4-year-old son would ask, “Daddy, did you make the team?”
The longtime Buffalo Bills punter and captain was greeted with the same question when he came home Friday.
“I had to tell him, ‘No, buddy, I didn’t make the team,’ ” Moorman said. “He’s starting to be a Bills fan like every kid in Western New York grows up to be, so that was the toughest thing.”
The moment, though, soon shifted in perspective.
“It kind of breaks your heart a little,” Moorman said. “Then he quickly went back to his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ‘You didn’t make the team, but can you be Donatello?’ ”
The Bills released Moorman and nine other players Friday. The roster is down to 62 players. They have until 4 p.m. today to trim the roster to 53 players.
Friday’s offensive cuts were quarterback Jordan Palmer, former University at Buffalo receiver Naaman Roosevelt, fullback Evan Rodriguez, tight end Dominique Jones and center Jared Wheeler.
Defensive cuts included lineman Landon Cohen, linebacker Xavius Boyd and cornerbacks Kamaal McIlwain and Sam Miller.
The Bills placed tight end Tony Moeaki and cornerbacks Mario Butler and Bobby Felder on injured reserve.
The Bills also announced they signed long-snapper Garrison Sanborn to a contract extension.
Moorman’s departure was the most notable. He was a two-time All-Pro and was selected a team captain seven straight seasons.
Moorman’s also deeply ingrained in the community through his PUNT Foundation and other charities, most of them dedicated to sick children. He’s a supporter of the Go Gold for September campaign for pediatric cancer awareness.
On Friday night, Moorman still wasn’t sure what his next step would be. He said he still loves the game, but retirement sounded like an option.
“I’m just trying to get through the day,” Moorman said. “It’s been a rough day emotionally for my wife and me. It’s hard to go.
“Will I step foot on the field again? I don’t know. I leave here knowing I gave it my all.”
The Bills released Moorman during the 2012 season but brought him back last year when Shawn Powell struggled. They re-signed Moorman after the season.
“You always want to end on your own terms,” Moorman said. “I came back because I felt like I wanted to go one more year and honestly felt like I had the training camp of my career. I pictured myself finishing as a Buffalo Bill.
“But I had a couple poor games at the end of the preseason. They made their decision, and I can respect that.”
Although he fended off challenger Jake Dombrowski in training camp, Moorman was erratic in the preseason and had a rough Thursday night against the Detroit Lions. His net average was 35.1 yards, yet that was with a 52-yard punt late in the game.
Each of his first four punts was shorter than 40 yards. A 24-yard punt was fair caught at the Lions’ 20. His next punt was – even with a bounce – a 30-yarder downed at the Lions’ 35.
“Brian’s really been outstanding in practice, but the games, you’d expect him to do a better job and come back,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said after the game.
The Bills have someone on their roster who can punt, but recent waiver-pickup Jordan Gay was brought in as a possible kickoff specialist.