Free agent RB hungry

IRVING, Tex. - The idea of an undrafted running back choosing to accept an offer from the Dallas Cowboys — a team with three young, established players at his position — might seem a little crazy.

After all, in the Cowboys' backfield that includes Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, Barber is the old man of the bunch, and he's only 26. Barring a trade of one of the three — and the chance of a trade is minimal — Barber, Jones and Choice all will be Cowboys in the fall.

Yet despite receiving post-draft interest from three other NFL teams, ex-Fresno State running back Lonyae Miller chose to sign with Dallas.

Miller said part of the reason he chose the Cowboys is because he is used to sharing the spotlight and fighting for playing time. With the Bulldogs, Miller ran in the shadow of Ryan Matthews, the nation's leading rusher in 2009 with 1,806 who was drafted in the first round of last month's NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Miller, FSU's third-leading rusher with 68 carries for 354 yards last season, said his numbers were skewed by the presence of Matthews and fellow running back Anthony Harding, who signed as a free agent with the Green Bay packers, but said the idea of facing stiff competition doesn't faze him.

"The team is kind of loaded with running backs," he said of the Cowboys. "But it was important to me to go to a good organization, a place where they do things the right way. Dallas is that kind of organization."

Miller visited prior to the draft with the New Orleans Saints, and said he fielded calls during the draft from the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, with each expressing interest in signing him to a free agent contract if he didn't get drafted. Miller said he and his agent whittled his choices down to Oakland and Dallas before he agreed to sign with the Cowboys.

Despite the presence of three talented veterans in their 20s, Miller said he likes his chances of earning a job with the Cowboys, adding that if that includes playing on special teams, he's ready to do so.

"(Running backs) Coach (Skip) Peete is a great coach," Miller said. "I have a lot to learn, and he's a great teacher. He taught the guys they already have, and look how good they are.

"I've always been taught to be humble, and that's what I'm going to do. God forbid, if anything happens to one of the veterans, I'm going to be ready to step in."

Miller acknowledged that the odds are long, but pointed out that the transition from college backup to NFL contributor has been made before.

"(Former Denver Broncos running back) Terrell Davis was a backup at Georgia," Miller said, "and he was what, a sixth-round pick? Now he's a possible Hall of Fame running back. We (Fresno State) had three running backs we thought could start for just about any school in the country — we were just on the same team.

"I'm hungry to prove that I'm a good back. The way I was raised, I was taught to be a humble guy, to never show jealousy, and never fall off in my effort and work ethic. I'm going to continue to work hard and practice hard, and at no point will I get discouraged. I'll get a chance, and I'll be ready."

CowboysHQ Top Stories