In 2008, he was not invited back. Hamlin underachieved somewhat as a member of a generally underachieving Cowboys' team, recording just 1 pick and 2 deflections. His 74 tackles were good enough for fourth on the team, but not enough to warrant a second consecutive trip to Hawaii.
But Hamlin's eyes are fixed firmly on the future, and, he hopes, another Pro Bowl nod. "To get back," the safety said, when asked about personal goals for the season. "I got to do what I need to do."
What he needs to do, namely, is act as a field general of sorts for Dallas' new look secondary. With familiar faces like (bad) Roy Williams, Anthony Henry and Keith Davis gone, Hamlin will further step into the leadership role that he has embraced, at least to some degree, over each of his first two seasons in Dallas.
The center of the Dallas Cowboys universe.
"As for the team, make sure I communicate well, get guys in the right spot, but at the same time, I got to go out and make plays," Hamlin said.
This, of course, would be a welcome change from 2008, when Dallas ranked thirtieth in the league with a paltry 8 interceptions as a team, a deficiency which the coaching staff hopes to address in 2009. Aiding in this change will be Gerald Sensabaugh, who will step into the role of strong safety in the absence of the aforementioned Williams.