Cole Beasley is not the first image that would pop into your mind if someone asked you to imagine an NFL football player. The Little Elm High School and Southern Methodist product does not look the part but looks can be deceiving. What matters most is that Beasley acts the part and he puts in the kind of effort that head coach Jason Garrett asked for each day from every man on the Dallas Cowboys roster. He also has that intangible asset known as "It", that so many players are lacking.
"Obviously undersized and looks like the paper boy coming in - despite the beard that he has, but right from the start of his rookie minicamp, he was someone who showed up to us, and you could tell he just had a good feel and instinct for playing, very quarterback friendly, makes a lot of little plays, makes a lot of big plays - just has a knack for playing the game." - Jason Garrett
The "It" factor is what makes Cole the perfect player for Garrett's vision of what his team is supposed to be. He refuses to allow his limitations to impact his role on the team, and he cashes in on every opportunity that comes his way. The Cowboys undersized receiver chooses to draw his motivations from the challenges that his so-called liabilities provide.
"People really kind of put me below other people, I guess? And that's what drives me. I knew I wasn't going to get drafted, I knew nobody expected anything from me, and that's what keeps a chip on my shoulder and keeps me grinding." - Cole Beasley
Grinding is certainly what Cole did during his initial contract. Beasley has gotten a little better each time he stepped onto the playing field during his time in Dallas. As a rookie he slowly earned more snaps for himself as a role player. During those limited snaps fans began to notice what it was about The Bease that had caught the coaches' eyes. Somehow the guy was always open and if the ball was anywhere within his vicinity he caught the thing for a much-needed first down. The rookie was proving that he was a clutch player.
Season two came and with it came an expanded role in the Dallas offense. Beasley responded by continuing to deliver the same type of results as he had the prior season. He earned the trust of his quarterback, Tony Romo, and the Dallas passer was often looking for the little dynamo receiver when he needed a critical conversion. In that way Beasley began to take on the same role the Jason Witten played for Romo. He was a security blanket who would be there when needed. Season three built on the foundation of the previous two years.
It was not just the passer who had faith in Cole, the head coach held the slot receiver in high regard. Coach Garrett is resolute in his belief in the Cowboys #3 receiver.
"He's had our trust for a long time. He's caught a lot of big passes for us, converted a lot of big third downs for us over the last couple of years. He's someone that we really, really believe in and I think that's very justified with his performance."
That trust is paying dividends for Beasley, both on the field and on payday as well. The Cowboys extended the his contract to the tune of $13.6 million over the next four years, and he will be given the opportunity to earn every cent of that deal. To go along with the raise, Cole is being challenged to expand his utility to the club. The Cowboys are looking for ways to expand his repertoire beyond just being the slot receiver and the guy who can somehow manage to pull their bacon out of the fire on crucial third down situations.
"I'm just here to do whatever they ask of me. If they need me to play any role, I'm willing to do so - whether it's catching punts, catching in the slot or even going some outside. Whatever they ask, I'll do."
Based on what we have seen over the past three years, the Cowboys trust has been placed in the hands of the right kind of guy. As Garrett has mentioned, Cole Beasley has made a ton of plays for the Cowboys over the course of his career, and there is nothing on the horizon that appears to be able to stop the player who is determined to succeed in spit of what many would consider to be liabilities. He may be one of the smaller guys on the gridiron, but Cole Beasley also has one of the biggest hearts in the game.