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Bills' Batten breathing much easier now

Posted Sep 3, 2011

Most NFL players that aren’t sure of just where they stand when it comes to final cuts for a 53-man roster are going to lose some sleep. Having to wait almost 48 hours from the Bills last preseason game was almost too much for Batten to take. In the end Saturday proved to be one of the most satisfying days of his life as he made Buffalo’s 2011 regular season roster.

“Probably the most stressful time of my life to be honest with you,” said Batten. “I was real nervous. I went out to practice (Saturday) as if it were any other day and go as hard as I could. So practice wasn’t different, but there was definitely something in the back of my mind of the time to come. I’m thrilled and it’s the biggest relief ever.”

The pass rushing outside linebacker had a non-stop motor all through training camp and preseason and made several noticeable plays in practice. He got off to a great start in the preseason with two sacks in the opener at Chicago, and just tried to build on that effort the rest of the way.

Batten initially thought that final cuts would come down Friday, but a call never came. He next figured it would be first thing in the morning Saturday. Still nothing. So the second-year linebacker went to One Bills Drive for a half day of practice and meetings.

“It just kept dragging and that made it a little worse,” he said. “I knew once after practice when we were walking back in that’s when the rubber hit the road. I saw the guys standing there by the door and I remember the drill from last year and what went on. I took a quick shower and I couldn’t take it anymore because they don’t tell you if you’ve made it. They just tell you that you got cut, so I went up to them and gave a thumbs up and thumbs down gesture and asked, ‘Am I on the list?’ And they said, ‘No, you’re good.’ And I’m sure I asked seven or eight times to make sure because I wanted to make sure I didn’t hear them wrong.”

A product of South Dakota State, Batten was a very happy college player when the Bills made him a sixth-round draft choice in 2010. But in his mind it doesn’t compare to what Saturday meant for his football career.

“To me it (meant) more,” he said. “Not to downgrade getting drafted, but when you’re a later round pick you know you still need to make an impression. As a sixth-round draft pick you can get cut just as easy as anybody. You’re not guaranteed anything.

“So knowing that I made a good impression on the coaches and knowing that I applied myself during the preseason and they felt confident enough in me that I’m going in the right direction, this beats draft day as far as satisfaction.”