Commentary

Jared Green living in the moment

With his Hall of Fame father watching, WR tries to make the Cowboys' roster

Updated: August 7, 2013, 12:36 AM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

The Hall of Famer didn't talk long, only a couple of minutes.

But you could hear the pride in his words. And the love. And the frustration. The disappointment, too.

Darrell Green's words were slow and deliberate. If you're a father, they were also powerful.

[+] EnlargeJared Green
AP Photo/James D SmithFormer Redskins cornerback Darrell Green watched his son, Cowboys receiver Jared Green, play in Sunday's Hall of Fame Game.

And if you're a Hall of Fame player who had a 20-year career filled with the joy of winning championships and being the top 1 percent of 1 percent to ever play professional football, then watching your son chase his dream of pro football is equal parts pleasure and pain.

"It's kind of like when they're kids," Darrell Green said. "You wish they could take their shots when they'd be crying when they got shots at the doctor. You wish you could just do it for them.

"If you get two minutes to know him, that kid is a top-notch kid. You pull for him."

Right now, Jared Green is just another anonymous body in the Cowboys' training camp, trying to prove he's worthy of one of the coveted 53 spots on Jason Garrett's roster -- even if it's as a member of the practice squad.

Jared, a slender 6-foot-1, 186-pound receiver, has no pedigree as an undrafted free agent from Southern and a member of the Carolina Panthers' practice squad last season.

In a preseason game that Garrett said was for the young guys to showcase their talents, Green didn't play until the third quarter.

He had only one pass directed his way, a deep fade along the sideline. Green made the most of it, beating his defender off the line of scrimmage and making a nifty over-the-shoulder grab.

Then he absorbed a big hit from a Miami safety that drove him out of bounds after a 32-yard-gain.

"I only got one ball thrown to me tonight and I had to take care of that one ball," Jared said afterward. "The NFL is about opportunity. I did the little things right and that's the most important part about the preseason, especially if you're a young guy like me: do your job.

"That play is important, but preparing every week is important. Being on time is important. Looking like a professional is important. That's just one piece to the puzzle that I'm trying to put together to make this team."

This is when it doesn't really do much good to be a former professional athlete instead of just a father. Darrell took a pragmatic approach to his son's catch, one Garrett described as clutch because it set up the Cowboys' game-clinching touchdown.

"Hey man, that's what he's supposed to do," the father said. "The kid is prepared to be a player. He's on a long road by not getting drafted -- he should've been drafted -- but that's just one catch in one preseason game.

"His opportunities are going to get less and less as the veterans get out there. He's just got to do what he calls the right now moment. That means whatever moment you're out there, you gotta be great at that moment."

Jared learned not to get caught up in trying to match his old man's exploits a long time ago, about the same time he learned that the comparisons were going to occur even though he's a receiver while his dad was a cornerback.

His job is to do whatever he can to get the coaching staff's attention with limited opportunities.

Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Terrance Williams have guaranteed spots. Dwayne Harris, who tied for the league lead with seven punt returns of 20-plus yards last season, is probably on the team, too.

Cole Beasley is probably a front-runner for the fifth spot, but veteran Anthony Armstrong is pushing him.

Tim Benford, a member of the practice squad last season, is trying to get into the conversation. So is rookie undrafted free agent Eric Rogers.

There's no guarantee that the Cowboys will keep a sixth receiver. Garrett could easily opt for a 10th offensive lineman, fifth tight end or fourth running back.

Realistically, making the practice squad is probably Green's best route onto the team. And if Jared makes the team, Darrell said it would be easy cheering for the Cowboys.

"Can I get used to him in a Cowboys uniform? I got used to it when he signed," Darrell said. "I played for the Redskins for 20 years, that's done. I'm not going to play again, that's done.

"This is his life. This is his day. This is NFL. The Cowboys are one of the great teams in the league, and he has an opportunity to play there. That's all any kid could want."

The son was simply happy to have his father in the stands.

"This is one of the biggest honors in the world," Jared said. "I don't know if there's ever been Hall of Fame father who's been in the stands and watched his son play in the Hall of Fame Game.

"Having my pops out here? It's the greatest feeling, man."

It'll be even better if the father watches the son play in a regular-season game at AT&T Stadium.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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