IRVING, Texas -- Before 3 p.m. Saturday, Dustin Vaughan didn’t want his cell phone to ring -- or at least not with a 972 area code on his caller ID.
“After that, you kind of want one,” the undrafted Dallas Cowboys quarterback said.
Saturday was the final cut-down day in the NFL with teams needing to get to 53 players on the roster. An early phone call means you have to bring your iPad and see the coach or general manager to be delivered the bad news.
The good news of actually making the roster is never delivered.
Vaughan tried to keep up with the news through social media. When he saw the cut list grow and grow without his name being listed, he figured he was safe and he could look at his phone again.
“There was a lot of texts, a lot of congratulations,” Vaughan said. “I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement along the way, so it’s been great.”
The Cowboys elected to keep a third quarterback on the roster for the first time since 2011 because of the growth Vaughan made from May through August. He hardly ever lined up under center at West Texas A&M, so just taking a snap was new.
In four preseason games he completed 22 of 43 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. Coach Jason Garrett said there was not one specific moment that led the Cowboys to the decision to keep Vaughan behind Tony Romo and Brandon Weeden.
“I think at those different junctions, what you try to do is you try to give him more opportunity and see what he does with it,” Garrett said. “Whether that’s moving him up with the twos or giving him more time in a preseason game or challenging him in this drill, whatever those things are to help your evaluation but at every turn he’s really shown us that he’s someone we want to develop. It’s such a critical position to any organization and you like to have a guy who’s in his prime playing well, like to have a competent veteran backup then like to have a guy who’s coming. We feel he has that chance to be that developmental guy.”
Vaughan’s spot is not cemented. If the Cowboys suffer injuries at different positions, they might deem it too much of a luxury to have a third quarterback on the 53-man roster. The hope then would be for him to clear waivers and slide on to the practice squad.
“I think right now the importance for me is to find a role on this team, fit it and do the best job I possibly I can every single day to fit that role,” Vaughan said. “Whatever it is, third-string quarterback, if you’re going out there doing practice reps, every single day I want to do it to the best of my ability to help this team. That’s my goal right now.”