Hambrick wants fresh start in Oakland

Most players have no desire to get into Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells' doghouse. Well, running Troy Hambrick did not exactly seek out the doghouse but he did not run from it either.

Hambrick missed the first of three days at the Oakland Raiders' three day minicamp that wraps up today for personal reasons. Hambrick was present for Day No. 2 and talked at length about his departure from the Cowboys one year after being future Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith's replacement.

Dallas released Hambrick after a talk with coach Parcells led Hambrick to start skipping offseason conditioning workouts. He wanted a fresh start, and three days after hitting the free agent market, Oakland inked Hambrick to compete for the starting job with Tyrone Wheatley, Justin Fargas and Amos Zereoue for the starting tailback job.

Hambrick rushed for a career-high 972 yards and five touchdowns last season but averaged just 3.5 yards per carry. First-year head coach Norv Turner added that Hambrick needs to be in better physical condition but with training camp only one month away, that goal is a realistic possibility.

"It's not like if I ran some more right now, I would die on him on the field or anything,'' Hambrick quipped.

Oakland lost starting running back Charlie Garner to Tampa Bay via free agency, leaving Wheatley as the favorite to snatch the starting job. The Raiders could use a committee approach but Turner prefers to have one back to emerge as the lead horse.

"We have a bunch of guys who see themselves as starting tailbacks," Turner said. "It will work itself out when we get to camp."

Hambrick, however, denied the notion that Parcells no longer wanted him. Hambrick simply said he wanted a fresh start and missing workouts, a sure route into Parcells' doghouse, was a way to ensure the Cowboys releasing him.

"After last season, I went to Parcells to ask him, ‘Where do I stand?'" Hambrick said. "He gave me my props and said maybe the team was going to go with a smaller back. Then, when they drafted a running back, I figured maybe it was time to go."


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