With Marc Colombo on the shelf, probably, for the season, Doug Free will look to make the most of his opportunity on Sunday, when he makes his first career start against the visiting Washington Redskins.
Free was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 draft out of Northern Illinois, thought to be the heir to the left tackle position held by Flozell Adams. At 6 foot 6 and 306 pounds, he was lauded by scouts and prognosticators as a good athlete, with unbelievably quick feet for a man of his size. But the proof, they say, is in the pudding; or in this case, in the chaos of regular season game-action.
After spending two years and change in the league, Free finally got his opportunity, somewhat regrettably, when Colombo was rolled up in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to Green Bay; and while he wishes it could have come on a lighter note, Free relishes his chance to prove he can flourish in the league.
"It's a great opportunity,'' Free said in the Dallas Morning News. "I've been here a couple of years and haven't really had much playing time yet. Now is the time to show I can play. I've just come every week to work. There was not a time where I said, 'I should be starting. I'm ready.'
"I just came to work each and every week and acted like I'm a starter in my mind because you never know when it's your time."