Hambrick Must Improve

The talk around Valley Ranch this week has been focused on Troy Hambrick and just how he'll be able to replace Emmitt Smith this season. After the first few days of mini-camp, only thing one remains certain: he still has a very long ways to go.

Troy Hambrick is overweight, out of shape, and not ready to carry the load for this team in 2003. And unfortunately, none of the above is an overstatement of any sort.

When the Cowboys' season ended in early January, Hambrick headed back home to Florida to rest up, and indulge on a little home cooking.

Several months later, the former South Carolina and Savannah State star is still feeling the after effects of his eating binge. Hambrick reported to the Cowboys' first minicamp weighing just over 250- a full 15 pounds above what he played at a season ago.

"I feel like a fat boy," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I can't seem to come out of my break quick enough or hit my stride."

Bill Parcells has already been all over Hambrick, letting loose verbal jabs left and right during the last few days.

"He said to me today, 'I'm only eating twice a day,"' Parcells said. "So I said, 'Eat once.'"

While most people will assume that Parcells is making light of the situation, I'll be the first one to point out- he's not.

In fact, there's been no secret that the Cowboys' new head coach has been less than pleased with Hambrick since his arrival in early January.

For starters, Hambrick was one of the first players to appear on local television after Parcells specifically told his players not to talk to reporters about the first team meeting.

Now, he's reported to his first minicamp a good 15-pounds overweight. "You can bet on this...Troy will not be able to play running back for the Dallas Cowboys at 250 pounds," Parcells said. "His stamina and endurance will not be what I want it to be."

Simply put, it's time for Troy Hambrick to grow up and take responsibility for his actions.

We've heard him consistently complain about a lack of playing time in recent years, and now that he has the opportunity to do something with himself- he's the joke of minicamp.

Last year, Hambrick saw his numbers dip down to just 317 rushing yards for the season. His production dropped, his confidence level dropped, and now that he's been given the chance to be the featured back for a Bill Parcells coached team- he's shown nothing to indicate that he's the man for the job.

The starting running back this season can almost be guaranteed 22+ carries a game, if not more. If the Cowboys are going to improve on offense, and as a team in 2003, it starts in the backfield, and it starts with Troy Hambrick.

Unless of course, the Cowboys decide to take a chance on some other running back before the start of training camp.

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