FRISCO, Texas – When Darren McFadden suffered a broken right elbow in the spring, he thought he would be ready for training camp. When training camp was ruled out, his thoughts turned to a return in Week 1 of the regular season.
On Tuesday, McFadden finally found his way back to the Dallas Cowboys’ 53-man roster.
“When I had the surgery in June, I never would have thought it’d be December before I would be playing again, but you know it’s one of those things I had to deal with,” McFadden said. “I’m glad it’s behind me now, I’m ready to move forward and keep getting better.”
McFadden spent the first 14 weeks of the season on the non-football injury list as he continued to rehab. While he finds himself on the 53-man roster, he now has to find a way to get on the 46-man game-day roster.
The Cowboys waived rookie running back Darius Jackson to make room for McFadden, but Jackson was inactive for the first 13 games. With Ezekiel Elliott, Lance Dunbar and Alfred Morris, there weren’t enough snaps to get Jackson on the field.
McFadden led the Cowboys in rushing last year with 1,089 yards, which was fourth-best in the NFL, but he is not going to take a carries away from Elliott, who leads the NFL in rushing this year. McFadden could provide a boost as a third-down back, which has been Dunbar’s role, or on special teams.
“That’s something I’ve been doing, getting with [special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia] and just working with the special teams,” McFadden said. “Just getting the different looks down and just try to make sure I know what I’m doing when I’m out there.”
Mostly, he is just happy to be back on the team.
“It’s definitely very frustrating when you’re looking at it and know you can be out there playing, trying to contribute,” McFadden said. “It’s one of those deals where I had to just take the back seat and whenever my time comes for it, I’m going to be ready.”