Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Tashard Choice says he's in a fight
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cowboys running back Tashard Choice returned to the practice field Tuesday after suffering a calf injury in the first week of training camp.
Choice was his typical loud self, screaming while running down the sidelines after catching a screen pass in the afternoon session.
As he enters his fourth season, Choice is in a battle with three players for playing time: third-round pick DeMarco Murray, who made his practice debut Tuesday, and backup running backs Lonyae Miller and Phillip Tanner.
"I fight," Choice said. "I take everybody against me. That’s cool. I got God on my side, so I'm alright. So, I'll fight. So whatever I'm going to do I'm going to make it alright."
Choice is always seeking more playing time. But there have been concerns about his ability to play special teams, something the Cowboys want their No. 3 running back to do.
When he was drafted in the fourth round out of Georgia Tech four years ago, Choice was a complete back not used to a backup role. He transferred from Oklahoma because he was going to back up Adrian Peterson.
Choice has only three starts in a 48-game NFL career. Those came in his rookie season in 2008 and he excelled in two of those, rushing for 88 yards on 23 carries at Pittsburgh and 90 yards on 17 carries in the last game at Texas Stadium.
Last season, Choice rushed for 100 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown in a backup role in the victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
With Marion Barber now playing for the Chicago Bears, Choice was thought to be the No. 2 back, but he's still fighting for his roster spot. Murray was drafted to create competition at the No. 2 spot, and the younger backs Miller and Tanner are getting better.
"Now it’s a time for me to actually get over the hump," Choice said. "People [are] tired of seeing little spurts. 'He's good enough, but why he ain't playing?' What else? I've heard, 'He can't block, he can't play special teams.' I heard a lot. That's fine. I'm just going to go out on the field and work and prove my worth and that’s all I can do and be the best Tashard I can be. That's what I'm going to do."
Coach Jason Garrett was asked if Choice was in a fight for his spot in the rotation and he answered it in general terms.
"I think everybody is fighting for their job on a daily basis," Garrett said. "Everyone's competing to make this football team, competing to start on the team and then competiting for what their role is. So we try to create those environments throughout our team."