Sunday morning, he felt the soreness that occurs the day after a game for the first time this season, and now could be starting in the Cowboys' biggest game of the season.
Morris was signed last week as an insurance policy after rookies DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner were lost for the year with injuries. Felix Jones started, and ran well, but Morris had 12 carries for 53 yards to help the Cowboys finish off the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones, the team's electric but injury-prone first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, sat out Tuesday's practice, leading to the possibility that Morris might get the starting nod in Saturday's rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Sammy would be the logical choice (to start if Jones can't play)," Dallas head coach Jason Garrett said. "He got a lot of practice today."
Morris laughed when asked if he enjoyed the day-after-a-game soreness Sunday — "not at all," he said — but said he is ready to step into the starting role if Jones is prevented from starting against the Cowboys' division rivals.
"I'm here to help the team win," Morris said. "Whether that means five carries or 20, it's a matter of approaching the game with the mindset of helping the team win."
Morris, 34, scoffed at the idea that having spent most of the season at home means he somehow is "fresher" than his teammates and opponents as the regular season winds down.
"Freshness? That went out the window years ago," he said. "I'm grinding through it, and I'm still learning about this offense. I'm more comfortable, but I'm still new to this system."
Morris said he is learning the system as quickly as he can, and is not above from looking to his younger teammates for help.
"You have to do that, learn from guys who have played in the offense before," he said. "All the way back to when I was in Buffalo (Morris played for the Bills from 2000-03), I learned from guys like Sam Gash and Larry Centers. You'd be an idiot to not learn from the guys who know the system."
His eagerness to soak up the system is due in part to the fact that Morris, who now is playing for his fourth team in his 12th NFL season, realizes that running backs typically don't last as long as he has, and he has no way of knowing what game or what season will be his last.
"Running back typically is the only position where they talk about ‘the lifespan' of a player," Morris said. "It's not just getting hit — it's guys falling on you after the play. But I signed up for it, and I'm ready."
Morris, who carries a listed 220 pounds on his 6-foot frame, acknowledged that the pounding he takes is because his frame allows — or requires — a more physical style of running than Jones.
"I'm not Felix Jones," he said. "I'm not fast enough to run around everyone. I have played fullback and I have played halfback, and I'm still playing. You can only do what you're built to do."
Morris ready to Run
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