Darren McFadden never lived up to expectations as the fourth overall pick in 2008. In seven seasons with the Raiders, McFadden had only one 1,000-yard season as he missed 29 games with 15 different injuries.
Yet, McFadden, who turns 30 next month, still has a job in the NFL. He has, in fact, embraced his role as Ezekiel Elliott’s backup.
“Obviously I’m going to be a backup guy,” McFadden said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it. If it’s special teams or whatever, I’m up for it. At the end of the day, it’s a team sport. I’m a team guy. That’s what I love about the game.”
McFadden didn’t even test free agency in the offseason, instead signing a one-year, $980,000 deal that included only $80,000 to sign. The Cowboys are comfortable with him as Elliott’s primary backup considering he rushed for 1,089 yards for them in 2015.
McFadden missed most of last season with a fractured elbow, playing only three games and 48 offensive snaps while getting only 24 carries. He also played 13 snaps on special teams, something the Cowboys ask of their backup running backs.
“It’s tough [not to be the feature back],” McFadden said. “…But at the same time, it’s a team sport. I’ve been around the game long enough to know that eventually someone is going to come in who is going to try to run you out.
“I’m blessed to be 10 years in the league as a running back still playing. It’s one thing I’m very happy about.”