RB Troy Hambrick
Hambrick has had a turbulent career, both at the collegiate and professional levels. After transferring from South Carolina to Savannah State for his senior season, the Florida native put together over 1,000 yards on the ground and 18 touchdowns. He's rushed just under 1,000 yards combined during his first three years in the league, but 2003 will mark his first year as a featured back.
By default, 4th year player Troy Hambrick has been awarded the starting running back position on the Dallas Cowboys. Parcells' has been wary of Hambrick's reputation, but the former South Carolina Gamecock has worked hard this offseason to change his trouble-making image. Based on the number of carries that we've seen from teams coached by Bill Parcells in the past, Hambrick will have every opportunity to put up some big numbers this year.
Hambrick weighed in at almost 260 pounds at one point this offseason before getting his weight under control in late spring. "I feel like a fat boy," Hambrick said at the time. "I can't seem to come out of my breaks quick enough. I've got to get under 240 pounds. That's where he wants me to be, and I've got to give it to him." Hambrick, who blamed his added weight on "momma's cooking," said, "I think I am going to put a couple of plates. I hate to have to do it, because I love to eat."
While critics seem to be all over Hambrick this offseason, he did manage to finish 3rd in the NFL in 2001 in yards-per-carry, with a very impressive mark of 5.1. Last season, that number dipped back down to 4.0- in part due to his fluctuating weight during the regular season. His weight will once again become one of the most critical aspects to his game in 2003 as the magic number seems to be around the 235, 240-mark. He has the mass to handle the biggest linebackers in the NFL, but he also has the speed to pick up big chunks of yardage once he breaks into the open field.
"Troy Hambrick will not play running back for the Cowboys at 250 pounds," Bill Parcells said. "His opportunity is here. He has to recognize and appreciate it and take it for what it is, because the circus doesn't stay in town forever."
Hambrick has done all that he can this offseason to change his image, and it's starting to work. He'll report to training camp in San Antonio at just under 240 pounds and get ready to hit the practice fields to prepare himself for a year in which he's playing for a new contract. Assuming the Cowboys don't do something drastic between now and the end of camp, Hambrick will have the chance to put up monster numbers this year. We believe he'll easily go over 1,200 yards this year, and make believers out of the 10,000 skeptics that seem to ride his back at every given opportunity.