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Jihad Ward: Why Rod Marinelli calls him “Dr. J” and why he wants to bring glory to the Cowboys

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Get to know the Cowboys defensive tackle.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more intriguing players on the Dallas Cowboys a week into training camp is defensive tackle Jihad Ward.

The Cowboys flipped wide receiver Ryan Switzer to the Oakland Raiders on the final day of the draft in order to acquire Ward’s services. His presence on the team has become all the more valuable what with the injury to Maliek Collins and the four-game suspension of David Irving.

I had the chance to catch up with Jihad out in Oxnard. Here’s part of our conversation. You can listen to the full thing on BTB’s OchoLive right here as well.

RJ: Joining us now, the one and only Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle, Jihad Ward. It’s Ji-had, right? People get confused.

Jihad: Yea they call me Jee-had, but my name is Ji-had. Nickname is Hady. Around here they call me Dr. J.

RJ: Dr. J? I know you’re an NBA guy. Is that different Dr. J? Is it Dr. Jihad or Dr. Julius, what is it?

Jihad: Just Dr. J. You know, Rod Marinelli, he just named me Dr. J so I’m going to rock out with that.

RJ: So it’s a Rod Marinelli nickname, because he’s known to do that. What are the other ones?

Jihad: Dr. J. We got Tank. We got Ty, it’s Tyrone. We got Maliek, Leek. Taco you already know, Tac. Tone, Datone, they call him Tone. Also we have Sean Lee, I call him Shizzy. He like that.

RJ: You’ve got a good number. 51 is a solid number. Do you think numbers matter as well as jerseys? They’re a big thing for me.

Jihad: I like 51, I think it looks good on me. Once we penetrate and get off of the ball, it’s going to look real good for me.

RJ: You talk about penetrating... today (Sunday) there was a bit of a scuffle. A small scuffle, not really a fight, just a bit of a disagreement with Taco Charlton and La’el Collins. You guys are getting into pads, you get an off day finally (Monday). What’s it like, is that intensity kind of brewing up after being out here for a week?

Jihad: I’ll tell you like this. At the end of the day it’s all about competing as y’all hear this millions of times. It’s just getting us better as a brotherhood, and we just got to keep doing what we got to do make each other better. I feel like LC, he’s real good. He’s a hell of a tackle. And Martin, you know me and Zack Martin go against each other hell of a times. This dude, he just got that contract, and it’s worth it. He’s really one of the best. There’s two guards that I like in the NFL that I’ve been playing against. It’s Kelechi (Osemele), K.O., and Zack Martin. And Zack Martin... I vouch for that one.

RJ: Obviously defensive tackle is a little under the radar this season. Maliek Collins coming off of an injury situation, everybody knows what’s going on with David Irving, what are your individual expectations for yourself? This situation’s kind of unfolded probably in a way maybe you didn’t expect when you first got that news (of the trade). How are you approaching this situation, as your head coach would say, day by day?

JIhad: Just really do what I’ve got to do to make the team better. Whatever they got going on in the office, I don’t know that. I don’t have the answer to that. They’re going to put their best players out there. I think Maliek and David is a hell of a player in my eyes. We’re going to have a good rotation. We just out here to go get it. We’re trying to make history in this team, we ain’t made history in no while. We’re just here to get each other better and really just win this Super Bowl.

Jihad also mentioned at the end that he enjoys roller-skating, how neat is that? Rod Marinelli has made a living out of finding diamonds in the rough along the interior of his defensive line, maybe Dr. J is the latest example.

“Snake” Lee has emerged as a new potential nickname for Sean due to recent events, but Shizzy could work as well. You know, if you don’t want to call him a snake or anything.