Dallas Cowboys’ veteran right tackle Doug Free missed seven games last year with foot and ankle injuries--five in the regular season and both playoff games.
For Jermey Parnell, who replaced Free in those seven games, this time was obviously huge. On the back of his performance last year, Parnell signed a five-year, $32 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For Free, it was in all likelihood the most frustrating stretch of his eight years in the NFL, particularly when the team was preparing for their first playoff appearance in five years and he remained sidelined with the ankle injury. He would ultimately have offseason surgery on the ankle, and is still working back from it.
“It was very frustrating. Probably the most frustrating thing I’ve ever done,” Free told the team’s website this week. “Just feeling every week this would be the week I would play and it didn’t happen. Just making it to the playoffs and having guys I’ve played so long with asking if I’m going to make it back. Just hard that it didn’t work out.”