Jason Hatcher was motivated Sunday night, motivated to show he should have been a Pro Bowler and motivated to showcase his talents as he becomes a free agent in the off-season.
The defensive tackle had four tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble. It's no wonder Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli said Hatcher "made a statement."
Hatcher finished with a career-high 11 sacks. He had never had more than 4.5 in a season before this season, his first playing in the Tampa 2.
But Hatcher was passed over in Pro Bowl voting, as the six defensive tackles selected were Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy, Baltimore's Haloti Ngata, Kansas City's Dontari Poe, San Francisco's Justin Smith, Detroit's Ndamukong Suh and Buffalo's Kyle Williams.
“It’s just one of those things where politics takes its role," Hatcher said after the game. "I’m not big on Hawaii, man. It would have been nice to take my family, but it’s not one of those things I’m crying over. Screw Hawaii. I’ll take my family anyway.”
Hatcher becomes a free agent his off-season and is coming off a career year, but he turns 32 this summer. Hatcher earned $2 million this season.
Owner Jerry Jones wouldn’t comment on re-signing Hatcher, who has spent all eight years of his career in Dallas, but Jones gave Hatcher praise for his efforts this season.
“I wish Jason the very best,” Jones said. “I thought Jason had an outstanding year for us. I thought he played lights out tonight here, too.”
Hatcher said he is certainly open to the idea of staying in Dallas and finishing his career as a Cowboy, but he is also open to moving his family wherever he might land next season.
"I’m numb right now, and whatever happens, happens,” he said. “If I have to move my family out of here I’m good with that. It’s up in the air, and I really don’t care if I go or if I stay. It would be awesome to stay here and finish my career here, but if not I can move on. It’s a business. You know how it goes. You can’t get any emotions involved or else you’ll find yourself in a bad situation.”
-- Travis Brown