The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff would like to remind you that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and by that same token, turning a college basketball player who hasn’t played real football since middle school into an NFL tight end isn’t much quicker of a process.
That’s exactly what the team is trying to do in the case of Rico Gathers, their final pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. A sixth rounder, Gathers played basketball at Baylor, not football. He considered playing for Baylor after his basketball career with the Bears was over, but ultimately decided to try to make his return to the game on the highest level possible.
The Cowboys are excited by the possibilities where Gathers is concerned, but tight ends coaches Mike Pope and Mike Loney are quick to preach patience with the experiment.
“Coach Loney and I, it doesn’t say Houdini on our doors,” Pope said, per ESPN Dallas. “It says Coach. We can’t just make a guy, turn over, get up tomorrow and be ready to go. He’s going to be a while.”