Gerald McCoy

One day after suffering a season-ending injury, Gerald McCoy is focused more on the Dallas Cowboys than his own well-being. It was a freak accident of the highest order, as McCoy was going through a routine drill with defensive lineman Antwaun Woods before collapsing to the turf in extreme pain with almost no contact having been involved. Ever the consummate team player, however, the veteran pass rusher released a message to the club just ahead of prepping for surgery -- to repair a ruptured right quadriceps tendon suffered on Day 1 of padded practice. 

"I just want to say I'm still smiling," he said in an Instagram post. "Surgery's about to happen. To my teammates and coaches, y'all go get it. Got a championship to go win." 

And to echo his initial statement following the injury, McCoy expects to be back in full force when 2021 rolls around. 

"To all my family and friends, I love you guys," he continued. "To all the fans, stay tuned. Keep smiling, keep rooting, keep loving."

The plan to replace McCoy is already predesigned into the Cowboys roster, thanks to the influence of Mike McCarthy in his first year with the club. But, for his part, McCarthy was hit hard emotionally when the three-time All-Pro fell to the ground, and even more so when the MRI results came back -- revealing the worst-case scenario. 

"Gerald McCoy's injury -- very unfortunate," McCarthy said in his Tuesday morning press conference. "I tell you, it makes you sick on a personal level anytime you see a player go through this type of injury. It was an injury that was in the drill work and I can't tell you just what he has meant to our D-Line just in the short time we've been together. 

"He's a big personality -- obviously an excellent, excellent football player. But I thought he was in good spirits afterward when I saw him and visited with him. He'll tackle this injury recovery just like he tackled everything else. Big personality, has a good mindset based on what's in front of him. 

"But yeah, definitely a loss and very, very unfortunate."

Although McCoy will now land on injured reserve, it doesn't mean he'll be absent from the team. It's expected he'll remain present and accounted for in the capacity of a mentor and aid to coaches, much like Travis Frederick was in 2018 when the now-retired All-Pro was sidelined due to his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Frederick was exceedingly active that season in helping the Cowboys offensive line prepare on a weekly basis, and while the two ailments are vastly different, McCoy will look to have a similar impact on the sideline and in the meeting room. 

So when McCarthy was asked if McCoy would stick around to help out in Year 1 of his three-year deal, despite being on crutches, the coach wasn't ambivalent in his reply.

"Yes, I do," he said of his newly-acquired pass rusher. "Actually Gerald, that was part of our conversation -- he expressed not only a desire to be here and be part of what we've started here. Obviously he's very comfortable and this is where he wants to be. That's exactly what he communicated to me."

Not only does McCoy want the Cowboys to figure out how to win the Super Bowl without him on the field, he's going to do all he can to help them achieve that mission in 2020.