It has been just over a week since the Dallas Cowboys were given the news that center Travis Frederick was calling it a career. Retirements sneak up on you, and none of us are ever ready for them.
Frederick has always been a soft-spoken person when it has come to the media. He speaks confidently and in a matter-of-fact way, but he doesn’t speak all too often. He has always let his loudest voice be the one controlling things for the Cowboys offensive line on the field.
The last major Cowboy to retire originally left for the media (shout out to Las Vegas Raider Jason Witten) before returning and it feels unlikely that Frederick will take that path. Fredbeard appeared on the latest episode of The ThomaHawk Show featuring Joe Thomas (a fellow great Wisconsin Badger offensive lineman like Frederick) and Andrew Hawkins (shout out to 4th and Long) and discussed a variety of things.
You can listen to the whole interview right here, but we have transcribed some of the highlights for you.
Travis on how he is feeling:
“I tell you… I feel relieved. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and it was tough. It’s a tough decision to make. You try and weigh all the options and see where you’re going to be. I’ve spent the last probably three months going through it and it’s been a lot of pressure and a lot of stress. So now it feels like the world’s off my shoulders. I feel like it would have been that way either way had I decided that I wanted to play or had I decided I wanted to retire. But that stress, the weight of the world feeling, is off my shoulders. It makes me feel good. Unfortunately we have all of these other situations occurring, everyone’s locked down, you can’t be leaving the house or anything like that to celebrate or go get some food or dinner or something like that. But I’m enjoying it so far.”
Travis on what was happening while he was figuring out what was wrong with him in 2018:
“It got to the point where I couldn’t do toe raises, like a double leg toe raise. I had to do assisted. I had to use 50 pounds of assistance to do a toe raise. I was having a hard time walking. My hip muscles couldn’t stabilize, so my hips swayed when I walked. I sort of had to walk with a limp. I think at the worst point… it was too difficult to walk down to the lunch room. The lunch room is probably 200 yards from the locker room so there was days where I wouldn’t go eat because it was too hard to go all the way down to the lunch room and get the food. Couldn’t open a water bottle. I really couldn’t hold a fork to cut a steak. I was so weak I wasn’t able to do a lot of those day to day tasks. You come home and your kids want you to pick em up and take em up to bed or anything like that. At that point it wasn’t safe for me to be climbing the stairs while holding my kids. There was a lot of dark days.”
Travis on what he wants to do next in life:
“I’ve been working on a couple of things off to the side. I think number one the thing that’s next for me is spending time with the family and being back around. We’re working on building a house back up in Wisconsin. So moving back up to the promise land… you have these things called seasons up there! We don’t get a lot of that here in Texas. So I enjoy that. Maybe I can convince Joe [Thomas] to let me go out to his land and hunt a little bit. I’d enjoy that… but also I run a foundation and I want to be able to spend a little bit more time working through that and trying to help the kids that we’re working with there. I’ve had a lot of interest in doing other things, getting back into the tech world, and working on computers and working in the business world a little bit. So I’m excited to just try that out and see what it’s like.”
Travis on the thing he wishes he would have accomplished before retiring:
“I think for me number one is win a Super Bowl. That’s the ultimate goal for so many teams and generally when you come into the league that’s what you’re looking to do. And we weren’t able to do that and that was one of the hard parts about retiring this year is I feel like the players that the Cowboys have on the roster and the direction that they’re moving with the coaching staff… I feel good. I feel like this is a year that they have a chance to compete for that. And I had to walk away from that opportunity. But they’re so fleeting. There’s only a certain number of players that get a chance to win a Super Bowl. It was time for me to move on, but that’s the one thing that I wish we had been able to accomplish.”
Travis on if he has spoken with Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones about a future role with the team:
“I got a chance to talk to them. When I retired I called them and let them know it was happening and what was going on. Unfortunately we couldn’t meet in person because of the restrictions down here, but they both mentioned that they were willing to have me around as much or as little as I want. The Cowboys organization does a tremendous job of supporting their alumni and providing opportunities for them to be around the fans and to be around the game. I may or may not take advantage of that, but I don’t see myself moving into any sort of coaching role or anything like that. One of the benefits of retiring is that you get more time.”
Travis on Dak Prescott’s contract negotiations:
“I think everything in the media is probably on the right track. I think at this point it’s a matter of how long the deal is and I think it makes total sense. When you talk about the tv contracts and when they come up and how the tv contracts effect the cap, it makes total sense that you want to make it work that way. And it also makes total sense for the Cowboys that they don’t want it to meet up with those tv contracts. That they would like to have a little more time with him under a certain contract.”
“You definitely see both points equally being made so that’s probably where there’s some stuff there. I think it’s been clearly made on both sides that Dak would like to play for the Cowboys and that the Cowboys would like to have him. But ultimately this isn’t a game about what everyone likes to happen. And there aren’t people that are going to compromise on certain things because it’s your livelihood, it’s the livelihood of your entire family, often times for some guys it’s about how much good you can do in the world and things like that.”
“And I think Dak is one of those people that is thinking about a lot more people than just himself in a deal like this. You see a lot from the fans. ‘Oh it’s so much money, how can you possibly turn that down? Quit arguing over whatever it is.’ And it’s so much bigger than that. There’s so much more that goes into it. I think that it’s important that people understand that and that it’s not just him that he’s thinking about.”
Fare thee well, Fredbeard.