When the Dallas Cowboys selected Ben Gardner out of Stanford in the seventh round last year, he was coming off a torn pectoral, suffered in the middle of his senior season at Stanford. When Gardner suited up for his first fully padded practice with the Cowboys, he tore ligaments in his left shoulder and was lost for the season.
Which makes Thursday’s preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego Gardner’s Cowboys debut.
“He’s getting an opportunity now,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, per the Dallas Morning News. “He’s got to go cash in.”
As Rainer Sabin of the Morning News points out, it will be Gardner’s first game action since October of 2013.
“It’s been a long time,” Gardner said. “I try not to think about it too much and keep my approach day-by-day in practice. But it’s definitely exciting.”
He added: “I am expecting to play a lot, and I’m expecting to play well.”