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May 27, 2014

Fourth-round pick says he is not where he needs to be right now to replace Sean Lee in the middle

Anthony Hitchens already knows a couple of things in the wake of the knee injury to Sean Lee.

No. 1, he is first in line to replace the veteran middle linebacker.

No. 2, he is not quite ready for that.

“It’s just letting me know that you’ve got to be ready and you’ve got to get in your playbook and stuff like that,” said Hitchens, who took Lee’s spot in the lineup after the injury Tuesday on the first day of organized team activities. “The tempo with the 1s was a little faster, so it just shows me that I’m not where I need to be right now and I need to still get better.”

But it is the reason Hitchens was drafted in the fourth round in May. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on draft weekend the team wanted to protect itself in case of another injury to Lee.

Hitchens said there will be urgency to get himself ready to play middle linebacker.

“They were already making me speed up the process, so it’s not going to slow down now,” he said. “Yeah, definitely, I’ve got to study that much harder now in case my number does get called. I have no idea what the coaching staff is going to do for tomorrow’s practice, so I’ve just got to be prepared. Either way, I’m going to home and be studying, so that doesn’t change my plans tonight.”

Asked if it is all an overwhelming thought, Hitchens said, “Not really. I’ve been through it once, coming as the guy that didn’t know everything at the start of it. Iowa definitely prepared me to keep getting better. You can never stop getting better.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez


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