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Commodores in the NFL: Roster Cuts Keep Vandy Vets On Their Toes

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The NFL season is approaching, and that means teams are scrambling to trim their rosters down to 53 players. Unfortunately, a handful of Vanderbilt alumni have wound up on the chopping block. We break down which players are looking for new jobs.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Getting cut in training camp isn't good, but it's not the end of the road for a former Commodore. Jonathan Krause was released by the Browns last summer, but he wound up finding a home on the New England Patriots' practice squad in the middle of the season. Now he's got a Super Bowl ring to hold up as proof that hard work pays off.

A handful of former Commodores will try to take that lesson to heart this fall, including Krause himself. Eight different Vanderbilt Football alums were given their walking papers from NFL teams in the past month. They'll now have to return to the weight room and hope that some team was watching their preseason tape when injuries and midseason cuts force roster changes this fall.

Here's a look at how Vanderbilt's veterans fared in NFL training camp in 2015:

Kyle Woestmann: Woestmann made it through all four preseason games with Chicago despite playing limited minutes during the preseason. He finished the early season on a high note with a sack against the Cleveland Browns, but that wasn't enough to keep him from being released on cutdown day.

Andrew East: The Allstate Good Works Team honoree fell short in a two-man battle to replace longtime Kansas City long snapper Thomas Gafford. He was released by the Chiefs last Sunday, who said that East's snap velocity fell just short of what they were looking for.

Jonathan Krause: Vanderbilt's #2 wideout from their 9-4 2013 season is back on the unemployment line after the Patriots cut him on Monday. New England was stocked with WR depth (despite the lack of a true star at the position, Julian Edelman notwithstanding), so Krause faced an uphill battle to beat out guys like Edelman, Danny Amendola, Reggie Wayne, Brandon LaFell, Aaron Dobson, and Bryan Tyms for a roster spot. If last year is any indication, he'll catch on as a member of another team's practice squad. Said squad will then win the most exciting Super Bowl of all time.

Ryan Seymour: Seymour earned a four-game suspension after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs on August 17th. The Cleveland Browns released him just over a week later, and he'll have some trouble catching on with another team now that he's endured the league's wrath.

Jordan Matthews: Matthews will play in the slot under head coach Chip Kelly, but still may wind up as the Eagles' top receiver. Snap him up in every fantasy league that you can.

Wesley Johnson: Johnson came into 2015 as the Jets' backup center but wound up being cut for the second time in his NFL career. New York brought him back into the fold when they signed him to the practice squad on Sunday.

Kenny Ladler: Ladler looked to be in a good position when defensive guru (and foot enthusiast) Rex Ryan took over as the head coach of the Bills. Unfortunately, the second-year safety failed to make a splash in the preseason and was released on Monday. That cut came one year and one day from the first time that Buffalo chopped him, so there's precedent for the Bills to bring him back on a practice squad contract in the coming days.

Andre Hal: The Texans shifted Hal from cornerback to strong safety. He's now battling for a starting spot in Houston. His place on the roster appears to be pretty secure.

Jay Cutler: Still #6 in the program and #105,693 in the hearts of Bears fans.

Carey Spear: Spear was locked in a battle for the kicking job in Cleveland, and showed off major improvements from last year's shaky performance with the Philadelphia Eagles. Murderleg converted all of his kicks this preseason, but so did Travis Coons - the other kicker battling to be the 3 in "24-3 loss" this fall. Spear definitely had the edge when it came to tackling:

But, tragically, the Browns kept Coons and released Carey Spear back to the NFL wilderness.

Brandon Barden: Barden signed with the Cowboys in August with his sights set on being Dallas's third tight end, but he failed to make the roster on cutdown day. The Cowboys haven't yet signed anyone to their practice squad, so there's still a chance that he sticks around in the Lone Star state.

Sean Richardson, Casey Hayward: Richardson and Hayward are both approaching their fourth seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Hayward is set to start at left cornerback for the Pack, but he hasn't been impressive in camp this season. Richardson nearly signed with Oakland this offseason, but the Packers matched their contract offer, guaranteeing him $2.35m this season. That should make him relatively safe from the chopping block this fall.