For players on the fringe of making the roster, preseason games are all about creating the most of any opportunity given. When someone goes down for whatever reason, it is a chance for an unknown name to step up. Dallas Cowboys’ tight end Codey McElroy is going to get his chance Saturday night.
The Cowboys thinnest position right now may be the tight end spot. Blake Jarwin (sprained foot), and Dalton Schultz (sprained ankle), both missed practice last week and have a decent shot at not playing much in this week’s game. Not to mention their starter, future Hall of Famer Jason Witten, is 37 years old and requires taking some veteran days off at camp.
Dallas is so thin at the tight end spot they had to sign former Missouri Tiger Marcus Lucas late this week just to have enough bodies to get through the game this Saturday.
Now injuries are every team’s worst nightmare during training camp, but sometimes they create an opportunity for another player to do something special... see Dak Prescott. If you asked the casual Cowboys fan if they know who Codey McElroy is they would probably say no, but being doubted has never stopped him. The story of how McElroy even made it to the NFL is pretty remarkable.
McElroy started his sports career as a baseball player. After attending a junior college in Oklahoma, he was given a shot to play baseball for the University of Texas. Strangely enough, the 6’6 225-pound McElroy was a shortstop at UT. He played in Austin for one year before transferring to a Division II college and eventually was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 19th round of the 2014 MLB Draft.
After almost two years of Minor League baseball, McElroy decided to switch it up and walk-on at Oklahoma State to play basketball. In the end, the switch to basketball did not work out, as he never was able to score a single point at Oklahoma State.
After striking out in baseball and basketball, the only logical thing to do was give football a try. McElroy was given a shot at Southeastern Oklahoma, where in his one season of football he caught 14 passes for 173 yards and five touchdowns. If McElroy’s career had ended there, it still would have been a remarkable story. Playing all three major sports in college is something hardly anyone is able to do, but McElroy did not stop there.
In 2018 he got his first shot at the NFL as he was signed by the Los Angeles Rams. In four preseason games in 2018, he caught just two passes for eight yards and was released at the end of camp, but as always is the case with McElroy, his story was not over. In March he was given his second NFL shot as he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys. In his Dallas debut last Saturday he caught two passes for 24 yards, one for a first down.
With the injuries to Jarwin and Schultz, McElroy was extremely active in practice this week and made some nice plays.
Now, it is still a longshot for McElroy to crack the roster, but the 26-year-old has never been one to shy away from a challenge. With Jarwin and Schultz banged up, McElroy is going to get a chance to play a lot on Saturday. He will be given every opportunity to show he has what it takes to make this roster.
McElroy gets to go up against the team that released him, the Los Angeles Rams, in by far the biggest football game of his life to date. McElroy’s chances of making the team may ultimately depend on the health of Jawin and/or Schultz, but if he shows out on Saturday, he still may not make the roster but the practice squad becomes more of a reality.