IRVING, Texas – It's rather ironic that a player who couldn't stay on the field in college is the one filling in for all the professional starters getting hurt.
Alex Albright had four season-ending injuries in college, including a spinal fusion and a broken arm, but the former Boston College football player has become one of the most versatile linebackers on the Cowboys, capable of playing a range of positions to suit the team's needs.
"All those injuries just started to be motivation," he said. "I realized you can't feel sorry for yourself. You've just got to take it one day [at a time], 'all right, this happened, now what am I going to do next?'"
What he did last year was start two games and suit up for 14 at various spots as a linebacker. He said he's healthier now than he's been in years after a few rough college seasons from a health standpoint.
"At some point, it was kind of like, 'Am I ever going to have a healthy season? Can I do this and not come out needing to sit out a week or have to get surgery or something?'" Albright said. "It's opened my eyes, like, you can do this. You can make this team, you can play in the NFL, now you can finish a season."
Not much has changed this offseason for him, as he's still the player used to fill a variety of roles. Only now, he's filling those roles in a 4-3 defense rather than the 3-4.
He cherishes the time he got in OTAs bouncing around from position to position. He said at first it was a struggle balancing all the positions.
"But I kind of got the mindset, I know it's a cliché around the league, but the more I can do is the more chance that they're going to keep me and I can find a way on the field," he said. "Eventually it worked out last year with all the injuries we had.
"If you want to put me somewhere, that's fine. I'm going to go all out and try to learn that position. I want to be here. I love it [embedded_ad] here."
Albright said he doesn't really have a primary position, though he lined up in the strongside linebacker spot while Durant was hurt. He said he has to look at the depth chart every day to see where they're going to put him, calling it the flavor of the day.
The inconsistencies on a day-to-day basis don't bother Albright.
"A lot of people might not likely being bounced around, never really knowing what they're doing," he said. "I take pride in that. I like being the person that if someone goes down, I'm there to be able to get on the field. I really embrace that role."