Cornerback Mario Butler spent all of last season on the practice squad, waiting for a chance.
Maybe he is getting it now.
But not at cornerback. At safety. With the Cowboys missing Gerald Sensabaugh, Brodney Pool and Matt Johnson from the safety ranks, Butler has been filling in the first two days of training camp.
“Right now, we’re taking a look to see if he has a future there,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. “He’s a smart kid. He plays corner. We want to see if he can add to his flexibility and value to our defense.”
Sure, Butler says.
But he hasn’t played safety since high school.
“It’s the same mentality as cornerback to a certain extent, especially being the free safety, using my abilities and ball skills to get out there and try to make plays,” he said. “You can roam a little bit. You can read the quarterback a little bit. As opposed to corner, when your back is always to the quarterback. It takes away some of your ball skills because you’re so aggressive against some of the receivers sometimes.”
But should he call his high school coach? For reminders?
“That would be nice,” he said with a laugh.
Instead, he’ll give it a shot for the team and in the name of value.
“That’s the best thing you can be in this league is be valuable,” he said. “Play multiple spots. Because when injuries occur, you can plug in. That’s what this is all about, training camp, being valuable, being part of the team.”
-- Carlos Mendez