Running back Darren McFadden told The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on June 29 he feels "like a rookie all over again" with the Dallas Cowboys.
Make no mistake about it: Darren McFadden is happy with his fresh start with the Dallas Cowboys.
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McFadden, who signed a two-year, $5.85 milion deal with Dallas on May 14, told The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Steve Rogers on Monday he feels "like a rookie all over again":
"It's great to be in Dallas. I'm looking forward to getting on the field with those guys and doing great things this year...Definitely exciting. I tell everybody I feel like a rookie all over again.
"I just want to go out there, stay healthy and run the ball the way I know I can run the ball."
McFadden was in Jacksonville, Ar. on Saturday to facilitate a football camp for the 150 children of Little Rock Air Force Base employees. He told Rogers about his relationship with Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who also attended the University of Arkansas just like him:
"Being a former Razorback, we're always going to have that bond. But he stays in his office and takes care of his business, and I stay in the locker room and take care of mine."
He also said his hamstring, which he strained at the conclusion of the Cowboys' OTAs, is okay now.
"It's doing great," McFadden told The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "I feel like I had a decent mini-camp, so I'm just looking forward to putting in my work and getting ready for training camp."
On June 16, McFadden reported to the Cowboys' first day of minicamp for full practice participation. He told Rob Philips of the Cowboys' official website he was already in tip-top shape as early as back then.
"One hundred percent and ready to go play ball," McFadden told Philips.
McFadden, a seven-year NFL veteran, said he will try his best to act as a mentor to Dallas' other running backs, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar, per Rogers:
"I'm just going out there and making plays. Right now, we don't know much. We just know we're competing for a job.
"I'm with a lot of younger backs now. My thing is, I just try to give those guys some of the knowledge I know from being around the league seven, eight years now. Those guys are great athletes and great players. I look forward to being back there beside them."
The Cowboys signed McFadden to bolster their running back corps after DeMarco Murray moved to the Philadelphia Eagles in the offseason. McFadden has yet to experience a winning season in the NFL, as the best mark his past Raiders teams were able to muster was 8-8, per Philips.
Nonetheless, he told the Cowboys' official website he will work as hard as he can to help the team's cause:
"There's still a lot of excitement for me. I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing with everyone. I see how hard everyone works here, so I just want to come in and do the same thing, work as hard as these guys and go out there and make plays on the field.
"I just want to go out there and stay healthy and stay on the field and everything else will take care of itself."
The Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota predicted in his June 28 article Randle will have the edge as the prospective starting running back for the Cowboys. McFadden can aptly fill in while Dunbar should be more effective during passing-down situations.
Despite losing Murray, Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown told Machota he's confident in the players the team has:
"We're very confident in what we have. We got some very good football players. With the addition of Darren it's going to be a nice group. I can't say who is going to be the lead dog right now, but those guys are going to compete and we're going to do what's necessary to win games.
"I think we have three capable guys who can go out and do what we need to do. I'm not concerned about it at all."
McFadden has run for 4,247 yards and 25 touchdowns on 1,038 carries in 83 career regular-season games for the Oakland Raiders, per ESPN stats.
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