When the Dallas Cowboys invested one of their seventh-round draft picks on a native of nearby Waco, the team knew that it was getting a energetic player who could deliver the big hits that can get inside an opponent's head. Ahmad Dixon wasted no time in proving that point to the San Diego Chargers during the first preseason game. On the evening, Dixon led the Cowboys with 12 tackles and he delivered brutal, but legal, hits on several occasions. It was one of these hits that eventually led to his own early departure from the contest. Dixon had given himself a concussion. Still, Dallas fans were impressed with the young man and his efforts; they eagerly awaited his next appearance against the Baltimore Ravens.
That outing, against a team with it's own reputation for being a vicious and hard-hitting defense, was not to be. After being held out of all activities until Thursday's practice, Dixon made a mistake that landed him in Jason Garrett's doghouse. The rookie arrived late for the team's Friday morning walk-through and was banished from the practice field by Garrett. As a result, Ahmad Dixon would not participate in the game with the Ravens.
Following his "banishment" and the meeting in Garrett's office, where the head coach did all the talking, Dixon emerged with a change in his attitude.
"I’ve got to learn how to be a pro. That’s it. I said it time and time again. I’ve got to surround myself with those kind of guys in order to understand what it takes. As long as you’re around those guys, you will start picking up on their behaviors and how they operate." - Ahmad Dixon
The message that Jason Garrett sent last Friday appears to have gotten through loud and clear; the same Ahmad Dixon who had arrived late for the 8 AM walk-through is now making it a practice to arrive at least 45 minutes early for the 7:30 AM meetings. The rookie is learning about self-discipline and the consequences of not having it.
For Dixon, it was not being able to play that got his attention. The guy has the same fierce love for the game of football that Garrett once had as a player and missing action hurt him in a way that nothing else could. He is determined to never experience the same thing he did during the game with Baltimore. Preseason or not, Ahmad wants to be out on the field.
"I just like to play ball, man, and I’m ready to get back out there."