clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cowboys news: Travis Frederick diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome

There’s a lot of other news, but it is hard to think about it.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Frederick announces that he has Guillain Barre Syndrome, an auto-immune disease - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
After seeing multiple physicians, Travis Frederick found out what he actually has. And it was a lot more than just stingers.

Frederick tells us that he has been diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome, an auto-immune disease. He notes that while his doctors have said that it is “not possible to determine a time table for a return to the field right now” he is maintaining hope that he can be able to play “as soon as possible.”

Here is a description of the rare disorder.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system—the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord. GBS can range from a very mild case with brief weakness to nearly devastating paralysis, leaving the person unable to breathe independently. Fortunately, most people eventually recover from even the most severe cases of GBS. After recovery, some people will continue to have some degree of weakness.

Guillain-Barré syndrome can affect anyone. It can strike at any age (although it is more frequent in adults and older people) and both sexes are equally prone to the disorder. GBS is estimated to affect about one person in 100,000 each year.

There is no timetable at this time for a possible return, and even though it was caught early, this is a disease that may have permanent effects on Frederick. If he is able to return to play, the recovery can take weeks.

Travis Frederick Timeline: Complete breakdown of how a “stinger” turned into Guillain Barre Syndrome - Blogging The Boys
Ochoa takes a look back at a tumultuous week and a half for the Cowboys' star center.

The diagnosis is the latest development in the series of what began as a “stinger” for Frederick just over a week ago when the team was still in Oxnard for training camp. Inside of the last 10 days they’ve done additional tests, gone back to Frisco, offered opinions and predictions, and a lot in between.

It’s both unbelievable and part of the unpredictability of medicine and the human anatomy that so much changed with Travis Frederick over the course of a week, including how Cowboys brass felt about the state of his health.

Obviously there were different medical opinions on hand that hypothesized different things considering one specialist recommended rest while another recognized an incredibly rare auto-immune disease.

For now all we can do is do our best to learn about GBS (this is a great start) and send positive thoughts towards Travis Frederick. He’s everything that’s right about football, the Dallas Cowboys, and people in general.

Neurologist weighs in on road ahead for Travis Frederick and why Guillain-Barre syndrome shouldn't threaten his career - Brandon George, SportsDay
Dr. Spencer Miller, a neurologist at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, weighed in Wednesday night on the likely road ahead for Frederick. An excerpt:

Miller said on average 80 percent of patients with an early diagnosis and who receive early treatment - Frederick checks both boxes - fully recover from GBS. He said Frederick's recovery should also be helped by the facts he's young and a well-conditioned athlete.

Miller said GBS shouldn't threaten Frederick's career in the NFL. He said only 2 out of every 100,000 people with GBS have a reoccurrence.

"Once the nerves are healed they are fully healed," he said. "It is favorable that it wouldn't permanently alter his career, but a one- or two-month recovery is standard. If my patient's job was football, I'd be very hesitant to let him go back to football within a month or two. I'd be very surprised if someone could."

With Tyrone Crawford at tackle, is comeback kid Randy Gregory poised to start at end? - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
Randy Gregory's comeback is not just on track. It seems well ahead of schedule.

A rash of injuries inside, plus the four-game suspension for David Irving, as well as a surplus of talent at defensive end prompted the move for Crawford this week. He is running with the first team at under tackle alongside nose tackle Antwaun Woods.

With Crawford at tackle, Randy Gregory has started at right end opposite left end David Irving with rookie Dorance Armstrong and Taco Charlton backing them up on each side, respectively.

That Gregory is in this position at all is the biggest surprise considering he is only in his second week participating fully in practice after not playing football since the 2016 season finale because of an NFL suspension due to repeated violations of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Now a Cowboys team that once hoped Gregory would get up to speed in time to make a significant contribution about the time Irving returned from his suspension Oct. 1 is poised to put him in the starting lineup for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Carolina Panthers.

That perpetual smile Gregory wears after practice every day tells the whole story about how he feels about what he has accomplished so far less than a year after thinking he may never play again.

Why Cowboys believe they can now shift Tyrone Crawford back inside to DT from DE - Brandon George, SportsDay
Being able to go with Gregory as a first team end is, to a large part, due to the flexibility and willingness of Tyrone Crawford to work as a 3-tech.

Crawford has been a full-time starter the past four seasons. He spent much of his time at tackle earlier in his career but has played mostly at right defensive end as of late.

However, Crawford was taking snaps back at tackle in the Cowboys' first two training camp practices back at The Star on Monday and Tuesday. That allowed the Cowboys to get Randy Gregory at right defensive end with the first team.

"I think [Crawford] has a chance to create a nice role in there for him because of his speed, his movement up field," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "So we just kind of see how this next game [goes], we're still looking at the ends, who all deserves it, so it gives us the best chance to get our best players on the field."

Worried about the Cowboys' offense? Why Brad Sham thinks it's going to be better than people think - Staff, SportsDay
This is part of an interesting conversation between Brad Sham and Kevin Sherrington where Sham compares Dak Prescott to Tony Romo. Here's an excerpt, but go read the full thing, or listen to the latest Ballzy podcast.

Sham: If we presume they're going to play with a full deck of what they have, my answer to your question is first I think the offense is better than a lot of people think it is.

There's enough talent combined with the offensive line and the running back and the unique skills of the quarterback. Don't throw Terrance Williams out in the wash yet. People can say what they want, but just watch him play. That touchdown the other night is something that it takes a real professional player to do. He didn't just show up there in the corner of the end zone. I talked about him at length about how routes work with Dak when the pocket breaks. There's a plan. Everybody's got a place to go, and Terrance Williams knows where to go and he outfought that guy for that touchdown. That's not the last time you'll see that this year.

Sherrington: You like to think that's something that's not just drawn up on the school yard.

Sham: It's not. Terrance used to say to me when [Tony] Romo was in his prime, that the thing about Tony that when the play is over that's when the play starts. Laurent Robinson probably made his whole career earnings on that. The one year he showed up in the second game, he and Romo had school-yard chemistry. He scored 11 touchdowns and went off to Jacksonville with a lot of money. I don't think you've ever heard of him again. The question I asked Williams is whether that's where we're getting with Dak. He said yes, partly because there's a plan for where everyone is supposed to go. It requires intelligent focus on the part of the receivers. They're being required to do that by who I think is an exceptional receivers coach. It's partly incumbent on the offensive coaching staff to put these guys in position to be the athletes that they are.

If they have their offensive line, and their quarterback is gonna continue to grow at a rate that I think is reasonable to expect, I think their offense is absolutely capable. Then if the defense improves to the extent you are suggesting, and I think they might have, then you have a nice little contending team that no one wants to talk about for a while until everybody's talking about them.

Don't call it another Doomsday quite yet, but this Cowboys defense has a chance to earn its own nickname - Tim Cowlishaw, SportsDay
Lots of optimism in Dallas about the defense, and Cowlishaw explains that quartet of second-round picks (DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, Jaylon Smith, and Chidobe Awuzie) could be on their way to changing how the league views the Dallas defense.

I’m not predicting that this defense will be worthy of a Doomsday IV label by midseason, only that it is the goal. And if it’s a unit that can even force that to be a discussion -- as limited preseason results suggest -- then the Cowboys are on their way to becoming a different team.

Dallas Cowboys defense, ‘tired of losing,’ wants to be No. 1 in the NFL - Mike Fisher, 247 Sports
Expectations are high for the Cowboys defense - which may have to help the offense a bit more this year.

There is no argument that some of the components are in place, on the field (where the Cowboys defense was fairly fired up about its rotational guys-vs.-rotational guys work against Cincy) and on paper. Lawrence’s ferociousness and speed at end is a huge part of Dallas’ “identity’’ as an up-field pressure team, with names like Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, Taco Charlton and Randy Gregory all primed to help when the games get serious (Week 1 at Carolina) and by Week 5, maybe suspended linemate David Irving gets to join the party.

That sort of pressure should lead to continued success for cornerbacks like Chidobe Awuzie and Byron Jones, with the beat-up safety group the arguable weak spot, especially now that Jaylon Smith’s health is such that the Cowboys are bursting with pride over having build what they believe is an elite linebackers corps. Now, maybe owner Jerry Jones goes too far when he tells 105.3 The Fan, as he did this week, ”I think this is as good of talent as I can ever remember on defense ... It’s young, its deep and we can keep them fresh.’’

Scout’s Notebook: Beasley’s Return; Heath’s Role - Bryan Broaddus,
Broaddus always sees so much in practice. Here are a couple of highlights from Tuesday’s session.

Good to see Cole Beasley back on the practice field after dealing with a groin injury that forced him to miss time during the Oxnard portion of camp. Beasley appeared to once again play with an explosive quickness that’s been such a major part of his game. Down on the goal line, Prescott missed an opportunity to get him the ball while he was running that return route where he goes outside, plants then comes back to the inside. Prescott instead had his eyes to the other side of the field and took a sack from DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tremendous athletic catch by Geoff Swaim as Prescott broke the pocket avoiding the rush. Swaim was able to stay active, moving with Prescott until he found space by running away from Sean Lee. Swaim somehow went full extension with his hands in order to catch the back of the ball before going out of bounds.

Garrett thinking through dress rehearsal plans - Clarence Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
An important thing to remember about this: Garrett is always reticent to give away the team's plans about anything. But not dismissing this idea may be a bit of a hint.

Earlier Tuesday, owner Jerry Jones offered up the trial balloon of possibly sitting quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott until the Sept. 9 season opener because of the absences of Martin and Frederick. But he said that coach Jason Garrett had the final call.

Garrett didn’t run from the suggestion. And if Prescott sits on offense, look for left tackle Tyron Smith to sit as well.

Garrett said those are among the discussions the team will have this week. None of the starters will play in the preseason finale at the Houston Texans on Aug. 30.

Jeff Heath Is A Good Player, And It's Time He's Recognized As One ✭ Kevin Brady, Inside the Star
This is a ridiculous idea. Jeff Heath is not "good". He is the GOAT.

Over the last few seasons Jeff Heath has become a meme amongst Cowboys Twitter. Though they have struggled to cause interceptions as a defense, Heath has found himself in the right place at the right time for those rare takeaways. Over the last 3 seasons Heath has 6 interceptions, including 3 when he saw increased time in 2017. Heath was also able to force 2 fumbles a year ago, creating 5 takeaway opportunities overall.

While some will argue that these takeaways are luck, they really have more to do with his relentless pursuit and constant effort. As we saw on Saturday night against the Bengals, Jeff Heath flies all over the field and is constantly looking to make plays.

This, above all else, is why he finds himself in the position to create turnovers and change the course of a game each Sunday. Sure, turnover numbers as a whole are hard to replicate and often flukey, but playing the way that Heath plays gives him a chance to capitalize on those flukey opportunities.

NFL breakouts 2018: Can Swaim help the Cowboys move on from Witten? - Stephen White,
This article, by a retired NFL defensive end, offers a little hope for the tight end position. (But you do have to wonder if Swaim is the most likely breakout player on a team with Tavon Austin, Michael Gallup, Randy Gregory, Jaylon Smith, and Chidobe Awuzie making some noise. But that's a quibble.)

At 6’4 and 260 pounds Swaim has good size for a tight end. Because of Witten’s presence, pretty much the only chance Swaim had to get on the field was to prove himself as a competent blocker, so it is already apparent he’s good in that department. Now he just needs to show he can use his size to help him be a formidable receiving option.

There isn’t any reason why Swaim can’t be one of the better all-around tight ends in the league this season, if he can show the ability to consistently catch the football.

In the limited amount of plays where the Cowboys involved Swaim in the passing game in his first three seasons, he has looked natural and fluid running his routes and catching the football. On the few occasions when the Cowboys sent him on deeper routes, he looked plenty fast, too. Swaim should at least be able to get open on most linebackers, and he is athletic enough to run all kinds of routes, as well.

Sorting through the Cowboys’ tight end options – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
In parsing the tight end situation for Dallas, Sturm sums up why Rico Gathers looks to be a long shot to make the team.

In short, the Cowboys have lost patience. Gathers’ second training camp in 2017 came with a “here we go” mentality, whereas his third training camp (2018) carries the sense that “this may never happen.” Yes, there was a concussion along with jaw/neck issues. But, there was also a lack of real progress in the important questions of taking a step forward in simple “football IQ” issues. We undervalue this because it is not an athletic trait, but there are plenty of ingrained instincts in this sport that you subconsciously learn in ninth or tenth grade. He missed those lessons. He has those senses when playing basketball, but just understanding what needs to happen in the five seconds from snap to whistle is often lost on him and project players like him. Jason Garrett has repeatedly said, “he just needs to play football” to learn those things. Trouble is, this isn’t a sport with minor leagues. The only place he can play is in a live game, yet nobody trusts him in a live game. And round and round we go.

The Cowboys steal a major winner from America’s biggest loser - Mac Engel, Star-Telegram
Dorance Armstrong has been a pleasant surprise for the Cowboys, and Engel has an interesting observation about how that came about.

Defensive end Dorance Armstrong fell to the Cowboys in the fourth round in the ‘18 NFL Draft not because of anything he did but because of the team he played for in college. KU won a total of three games in Armstrong’s college career: 3-33. Of those 33 losses, 29 were by double digits.

NFL GMs and coaches all like to dismiss that this sort of losing has no impact on player evaluation, but it’s harder to notice guys on a bad team.

“It could at times,” Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “All eyes go to the Ohio States, the Clemsons, the ‘SCs the first time out of the chute. Good scouting, though, and you look at everybody.”

They may look at everybody, but it’s hard to be graded as a top-tier player when you’re on a losing team. Had Armstrong played for a winning team, he would not have been a fourth-round pick.

Cowboys' safety solution staring them in face: Earl Thomas - Todd Archer, ESPN
With George Iloka safely stowed away in Minnesota for the veteran minimum, Cowboys fans can now re-focus their attention on Earl Thomas.

Since the offseason began, the Cowboys have opted not to address the position. They did not do it in a truly meaningful way in free agency. They did not select a safety in the draft. They have been content with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier as their top safeties.

It's why the Thomas talk does not go away.

The regular season is 19 days away. It's not too late to add Thomas.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys