You don't often get second chances in everyday life, but the odds of a team sticking with you in the cutthroat business of the NFL is even less than that. Nobody told that to Rico Dowdle though, and despite his injury history that has seen him miss opportunity after opportunity, Dowdle is heading into the 2023 season healthy and ready for his biggest chance yet.
Rico Dowdle is RB2 and he left no doubt
Dowdle was kept on the sideline instead of running the ball versus the Las Vegas Raiders just to make sure he didn’t get hurt. He suited up to play a few special teams plays, just to fill out the numbers, but the Cowboys were not going to risk his health as he has made the squad.
Despite many believing Malik Davis and rookie sensation Deuce Vaughn were going to make Dowdle dispensable, the young veteran didn’t blink and went out there and won the job outright. Dowdle gave the team confidence with his ability to pick up blitzes in the backfield, showed good burst while running the ball, and proved more than capable as a back out of the backfield. He showed he is a complete back and won the right to spell starter Tony Pollard for week one and beyond.
It was never about the ability, it was the availability
For the first time since 2016, the backfield in Dallas does not have Ezekiel Elliott in it. It’s a new era for the Dallas Cowboys running back room. Dowdle beat out Davis in 2022 to be the third running back before being placed on the injured reserve early in the season which saw Davis come in and make Dowdle an afterthought to much of the fanbase.
Despite the injury and the fact Dowdle has only seven career carries since his rookie year in 2020, the team understood the ability that he possesses and never gave up on him through his time here, allowing for this training camp to unfold and his ability to prove he is the man for the job.
The story of Dowdle’s 2023 is still unwritten, and while there are other exciting players to look for this season, if you are looking to root for a player that embodies the determination, focus, and perseverance of a champion, look no further than Rico Dowdle. He took the long road to get where he is today as the Cowboys clear-cut running back number two.