ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 9: Running back Tashard Choice #23 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes against the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
It's hard not to feel for Tashard Choice, to some degree at least.
Playing almost exclusively out of the 'Razorback' or in the stead of an injured teammate, all Choice has done is produce. This is a man who, after Marion Barber and Felix Jones went down in 2008, rushed for 88 yards against the no. 1 defense in the league and eventual Super Bowl champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers. This was his first NFL start, and a precursor for the sort of production Dallas could expect whenever they called the Georgia Tech product's number.
But behind two capable backs on the depth chart, the team hasn't exactly worn Choice out; and this has precipitated some trade rumors concerning Choice this off-season. Choice is averaging 5.3 yards per carry for his career. But he has only seen 156 attempts over two years, more than 50 less carries than Barber saw in 2009 alone.
Choice has been consistent in saying that he wants to stay in Dallas, but responding to the trade rumors recently, he couldn't help but express some of the inherent frustration of the odd man out in a crowded backfield.
"I heard a lot of rumors and speculation. It lets you know other teams want you and that they've noticed you. I want to stay here. It's a great place and a great organization to play for," Choice said, per ESPNDallas.com. "It's just that the situation that I'm in, man, it's hard. I only get to actually run the football when the other two guys get hurt, and I don't want the other two guys to get hurt. I want them to play well and be on top of their games."
Cowboys Executive Vice President and COO Stephen Jones said recently that the team plans on having all three running backs back in Dallas in 2010, and all signs seem to indicate that this is true. Choice's agent, in fact, said that he had not been approached concerning a potential deal. If one should materialize, Choice is confident that he'll be fine.
"We don't have any control, but God willing everything will be straight in the long run," said Choice. "If I land somewhere, I know I will land on my feet and I know I'll be cool."