What we do in life echoes in eternity. And that being the case, the sound waves from what Dak Prescott does both on the field for the Dallas Cowboys and off the field as an upstanding human spirit could rattle windows in Valhalla. The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback takes the worst life has to offer and stares back at it defiantly, from losing his mother to colon cancer to the equally untimely passing of his brother Jace this past April, there's little the young man from humble beginnings in Haughton, LA hasn't been through.
Now, unfortunately, he's being tested again, but is there anyone who believes he won't ace it?
In speaking with several sources, while the tone of the locker room and front office is understandably solemn less than 24 hours after Prescott suffered a devastating compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle -- NFL level for more than four years and having also followed his ascension at Mississippi State prior, I concur with them wholeheartedly.-- there isn't a single person who can fathom a version of the star quarterback that involves him hanging his head and submitting to a self-defeatist attitude. Having myself covered him at an
Prescott has overcome in ways many can't comprehend, and recently shown he also isn't resistant to seeking help when needed -- which in and of itself is a sign of strength. Following the passing of his brother Jace, Prescott became depressed and filled with anxiety, leading him to seek therapy and making him a powerful face for the mental health cause when he openly admitted it.
As recently as Sunday afternoon, Prescott was seen donning a mask that read "#BreakTheStigma", a message directed at those who believe men should not be vocal about mental illness/health.
This is the kind of person Prescott is, and will continue to be.
The 27-year-old is one who finds ways to carry others when most would focus on simply trying to carry themselves. Look no further than the events following the injury for evidence of this. Prescott, who moments prior was staring through flooded eyes down at a disfigured ankle that ended his season, put his fist in the air as he was carted off and ultimately loaded into an ambulance. The gesture was to make sure the fans were OK, even as he suffered, and for as much as his tears were because of excruciating pain and the reality his 2020 season had come to an end, they were also for teammates he felt he'd just let down.
"It's devastating," said perennial All-Pro lineman Zack Martin of the injury. "He's the heart and soul of the team."
So as the Cowboys move forward in 2020 without Prescott on the field, they'll do so knowing they've lost their most fearless leader, and a consummate professional who's been nothing short of illustrious in how he's manned the quarterback position for the most highly viewed and criticized sports team on the planet.
Through 69 starts, Prescott has already amassed 17,634 passing yards and 106 touchdowns to just 40 interceptions. His career passer rating of 97.3 through four plus seasons is stellar on its face, but even more so when factoring in contextual items such a wide receiver unit that led the league in drops last season, or the loss of Tyron Smith at times over the past several seasons, and having not had La'El Collins on the right edge for a single snap in 2020. Even with a patchwork offensive line forced recently to move Martin to right tackle out of desperation, Prescott became the first player in NFL history to pass for more than 450 yards in three consecutive games.
Not bad for a player some claimed couldn't be a starter at the collegiate level, and who was then viewed as nothing more than a project for the Cowboys in 2016, emerging quickly to become anything but the latter. Four years later, he's the face of the franchise and one of the best QBs in the NFL.
"He's our future," team exec Stephen Jones said to 105.3FM the Fan on Monday. "If anyone can overcome anything it's Dak. Feel very good that he can come back stronger and better than ever."
As he turns his attention to recovery and rehabilitation, the same fire that fueled him to arrive where he is now is the very one that will drive him to return and finish what he started in North Texas. But it won't be for his own personal glory, because it never is. It'll be for that of his teammates and family, because that's Dak Prescott -- warrior, gladiator, leader of men. Sorry Valhalla, but you'll have to wait for this one. He's still got plenty of fight and faith left in him.
And his comeback story begins now.