Mark Nzeocha is partnering with Sport1.de, one of Germany's largest sports websites, to bring NFL fans in Germany a German-language diary of his progress in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. Sport1 editor Eric Böhm has graciously given us permission to provide a translation of his second diary entry for Sport1.de for our non German-speaking readers (here's the link to the first entry).
I am Mark Nzeocha of the Dallas Cowboys. That sounds really nice, and I have started to realize that my dream has become reality. I am proud to be the fifth German to make it to the NFL and I'll use this SPORT1 diary to share my preseason impressions and progress with you.
A lot has happened since I wrote part one of this diary. We have concluded training camp and have been back in Dallas for about a week. Most of the new players are currently living in a hotel, but there's a good chance I could get my own apartment soon. Dallas is a great city, but it's also damn hot."
Dealing with injury
"From a football perspective, I had hoped training camp could have gone a little differently. But due to my ongoing rehab from the torn ACL I suffered in October, I couldn't yet practice with the team and also couldn't play in the preseason games.
The team has placed me on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) List. The difference to the regular Injured Reserve List is that I suffered my injury at college and not with the Cowboys. Being on the NFI means that I can't practice or play for the first six weeks of the season.
Cowboys roster moves to get to 75: Scandrick on IR Reserve/PUP OL Chaz Green Reserve/NFI LB Mark Nzeocha.— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 1, 2015
This is not the end of the world for me, and there's also a positive to all of this: The coaches wanted to keep me at all costs, I can continue to rehab and work on my NFL debut, and after those first six weeks I get a three-week period during which I can show the team in practice that I am worth a roster spot. I greatly appreciate this show of faith and understand that it is not to be taken lightly. I remain a part of the team, I participate in all the meetings, and I continue to learn.
Something else worked out in my favor in Dallas. Our Wyoming defense was very similar to the one in Dallas, even the terminology is very similar. There's a lot more attention to detail in the NFL of course, but I have no problems whatsoever with the playbook."
The Awesomeness of AT&T Stadium
"While I didn't travel with the team to the first two preseason games, I did at least join the team on the sidelines against the Vikings in Dallas. It was incredible! The vibe and atmosphere in our gigantic stadium is truly unique. There were 80.000 people there! For a preseason game! I got goosebumps just standing on the sidelines. It's almost impossible to describe what an awesome experience that was."
Chilling with a Marvin Gaye tune
"I really got lucky with the rookie hazing rituals in Dallas as well. The whole thing is super cool. Each evening a few rookies had to sing in front of the entire team. [Note: rookies are asked to stand on a folding chair and give their name, school, position, and signing bonus before singing a song. Jason Witten and Tony Romo run the "contest"].
That wasn't bad at all. I had to sing Marvin Gaye's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "The World's Greatest" from R. Kelly, and I definitely got some applause. Some teams handle their rookie welcome very differently.
It really is a lot of fun being part of the team, and I hope to soon be part of the team on the field as well.
I will keep you posted.
Until next time,