IRVING, Texas -- Rookie safety Ahmad Dixon isn’t fired up for Saturday’s preseason game just because of his unplanned layoff last week.
Dixon, the seventh-round pick who was benched against the Baltimore Ravens for being late to the last walkthrough in Oxnard, Calif., is fired up any time he gets to play in a football game.
“I’m just ready to play, man,” Dixon said. “I don’t even look at it like [an opportunity to get back in the coaches’ good graces]. I would ask that everybody just quit making this -- I mean, it’s a big deal, but it’s not as big as everybody’s making it seem.
“I mean, it’s ball. I’m amped up to play any game, not just because I missed a game. If I would have played last week, I would be just as amped up. I just like to play ball, man, and I’m ready to get back out there.”
Dixon seized the opportunity in his only game action this preseason. Coach Jason Garrett singled out Dixon as a bright spot from an otherwise bad defensive night after the big-hitting Baylor product made a team-high 12 tackles against the San Diego Chargers. And many of those were vicious.
Dixon suffered a concussion on his last tackle of that game and was sidelined until Thursday the next week. He was late for the 8 a.m. walkthrough the next day and waved off the field by Garrett when he arrived.
A simple lesson was learned from the experience, which included a one-sided discussion with Garrett later.
“I’ve got to learn how to be a pro,” Dixon said. “That’s it. I said it time and time again. I’ve got to surround myself with those kind of guys in order to understand what it takes. As long as you’re around those guys, you will start picking up on their behaviors and how they operate.”
Dixon has made a point to arrive at the team’s Valley Ranch facility at least 45 minutes before the 7:30 a.m. meetings this week. Alertness is almost as important as being present.
“I’ve got to be sure I’m not going in those meetings all groggy,” Dixon said. “When you get in those meetings, coach might call on you. You can’t be, ‘Uh, uh, uh.’ You have to be prepared.”