The next chapter of Niles Scott’s NFL career has begun.
This past weekend, the former Elkton High School gridiron standout was named to the San Francisco 49ers practice squad, the same team that signed him in April as an undrafted free agent. Scott, a defensive tackle, joins eight other teammates on the practice squadand remains in contention to join San Francisco’s 53-man roster in the future.
“It’s a blessing to know you’re still living the dream,” Scott said. “It’s a little sigh of relief knowing that you’re here right now and it’s the regular season.”
The rookie was not on the 53-man roster submitted to the NFL by 4 p.m. Saturday, but was officially brought back Sunday, along with several of his teammates who had also been waived the previous day. Per NFL rules, the rest of the league had 24 hours to claim Scott before the 49ers had the opportunity to sign the Elkton native to their practice squad.
Niles joined the practice squad a week ahead of the team’s season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
“On our second day of cuts, we had just had practice and everything, and [team officials] came up to me… to bring me up to the room where they just expressed the whole time how they wanted me back on the practice squad, and if I didn’t get claimed off waivers, how they would really be excited to have me back,” Scott explained. “It’s a blessing to be able to have the opportunity to get better on the practice squad.
“You’re just one play away from getting on the field. You could also just be one play from going home. It’s all about how you take it,” he added. “You can take it like a glass half full or a glass half empty, you know?”
Scott, who was among the best defensive players in NCAA Division III football last autumn as a senior at Frostburg State University, was inked to an NFL contract as a priority free agent. In August, he experienced his first career training camp and finished the preseason having made six combined tackles in four exhibition contests.
He made his debut in an NFL stadium at home against the Cowboys on Aug. 9, and found the field in the second half. For those that tuned in, the 2014 All-County Defensive Player of the Year could be seen playing under the lights on national television.
“It was really good. It was kind of one of those things where you take it a day at a time, try to improve every single day, which I felt like I did. The coaching staff told me I did when they said they wanted me back on the practice squad,” Scott said of his first NFL training camp. “It felt good to hear that, especially after putting in a lot of work.”
As a member of the practice squad, Scott will provide the 49ers with an extra player during the week of preparation prior to an NFL game. He will also participate on the scout team defense, helping the team train for an upcoming opponent. If an injury were to occur to a player ahead of him on the depth chart, there would be a good chance Scott would earn a promotion.
The rookie is part of a defensive line rotation that also includes Earl Mitchell, DeForest Buckner, Sheldon Day and D.J. Jones.
“The game has slowed down. The speed was really only an issue for me, I feel like, during OTAs [organized team activities in May]. OTAs, when you’re with the NFL guys, it’s a totally different speed. But, you catch up to them pretty quick,” Scott said.
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