Dak's Preparation For Season 2 Began Long Before Becoming Cowboys Leader

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Dak Prescott isn't interested in your narrative.

Perhaps more than anything else, that seems like the best way to describe what is arguably the most compelling man in the NFL today as he prepares for his second season.

His focus might be elsewhere, but even now it's difficult for the rest of us to wrap our heads around the utter insanity of the past 15 months. Yes, the word "insanity" is one of the few that does justice to the last year of Rayne Dakota Prescott's life.

Since being drafted No. 135 overall by the Dallas Cowboys on April 30, 2016, Prescott has seen himself rise from fourth-round pick to face of the franchise. He tied a single-season win record for an organization that has seen its share of success – not to mention its fair share of great quarterbacks.

He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He ushered in the end of an era, supplanting a legendary quarterback as the face of the biggest franchise in sports.

The list of achievements is well-documented, and Prescott has undoubtedly heard them before – multiple times. This year alone, you've seen his face everywhere from ESPN's E:60 to Good Morning America. He has hosted youth football camps, participated in charity events and appeared at award shows, even claiming an ESPY.

He even briefly took over the world of Major League Baseball this July, when Washington Nationals All Star outfielder Bryce Harper brought him up in an interview with Fox's Joe Buck – during the middle of the All Star Game.

Harper's question was simple enough, and it encapsulated the one burning question of this entire offseason:

"How do you think Dak's going to do this year?"

He's not alone in wanting that answer – far from it, in fact. How do you follow up what was arguably the greatest rookie season by an NFL quarterback in history? How do you improve on a 13-3 record? How do you get back to the playoffs? And then once you're there, how can you erase the disappointment of a devastating one-and-done performance?

Deftly as he dodges pressure, Prescott turns that storyline aside.

"I've never been someone to really care about what I've done when it comes to – if it's been eight losses in a row or eight wins in a row or if it's been the worst quarterback or the best quarterback in the league," he says. "Whatever it may have been, whether it's this award or that award. I've never been somebody that really cares or even thinks that much about what I did in the past."

He's still a young player in this league, but Prescott is plenty experienced enough to use coach-speak clichés. He's far too focused on his steps to worry about the end result. Ask him about that buzz phrase, the "sophomore slump," and it almost doesn't seem to compute.

"I really don't even listen to that to be able to grab it and bring a true rationale for it," he says. "It doesn't even process in my head."

The quote might not be juicy, but you'll have to forgive Prescott for that. This is hardly his first rodeo.

In fact, Prescott's career to this point has followed its own impressive narrative: success in the face of adversity, while setting new standards along the way.

It might sound like a new story in Dallas, Texas, or across the NFL landscape. But there are plenty of people who aren't surprised. As shocking as his rise might seem to some, it was as plain as day to many others.

Chief among those might be his family, highlighted by his mother Peggy, a pivotal figure in her son's story. But something you'll learn about Dak Prescott is how much further that support system stretches. From his time as an unheralded high school recruit, to a college football legend, to the face of a professional franchise, he's had no shortage of doubters – but it has never taken him long to turn them into believers.

Maybe more than anything else, that's Dak Prescott's narrative. It's not just the work he puts in, but the people he wins over along the way. And when you familiarize yourself with that story, it's easier to see that this was coming all along.

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The buzz of fall is in the air at the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex – which is strange, given that it's early-April and the temperature in Starkville, Miss., is already climbing into the 80s.

Whatever the calendar might say, though, it certainly feels like football. It's Super Bulldog Weekend at Mississippi State, and the entire university community is charged. The Bulldogs play their spring game across the street, at Davis Wade Stadium, in roughly 24 hours – an exhibition that feels like an oasis in the nine-month desert of the college football offseason.

While this year's team worries about kickoff, the Bulldogs will also welcome past players into the fold. Super Bulldog Weekend functions as a springtime homecoming in Starkville – and no homecoming could be bigger in this town than that of Dak Prescott.

Dan Mullen became Mississippi State's head coach in December of 2008, overseeing eight years of Bulldog football and Prescott's entire college career in the process. He explains it better than anyone else could:

"There's a lot of schools where 'Oh, he's the next guy' or 'Oh, he's one of the guys that has done this for us.' 'He's one of our Heisman Trophy winners' or 'He led us to one of our championships,'" Mullen said. "Dak is the guy. And I think people really appreciate him for that."

That's not a knock on anyone else's accomplishments. The Bulldogs have produced plenty of talent in Mullen's nine-year tenure, with guys like Fletcher Cox, Gabe Jackson and Darius Slay coming through the program in recent years.

But Dak Prescott is on another level. And one short walk around the building confirms Mullen's point. Turn a couple of corners and it's pretty apparent – the apex of Mississippi State football's existence is easily identifiable as the 2014 season, when Dak Prescott led the Bulldogs to their first-ever No. 1 ranking, put them in contention for a spot in the College Football Playoff and threw his hat into the Heisman Trophy race for good measure.

"Mississippi State, in 100 and however many years of football they've had here, had never been the No. 1 team in the country. And he led Mississippi State to this No. 1 ranking," Mullen said. "We hadn't been to an Orange Bowl since the 40's, and he took us back to the Orange Bowl."

In the state of Mississippi, and among the people with ties to this school, the last name "Prescott" basically feels redundant. It's just "Dak" -- and he is back in town for the first time since he took the NFL by storm.

File that context away for later, because it makes the beginning of this story that much better.

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It's funny to think that, of all people, Mississippi State's offensive line coach discovered Dak Prescott – but that's doing a disservice to John Hevesy's experience as a football coach and as a recruiter.

Hevesy has worked with Dan Mullen for more than a decade, spanning back to stints at Florida, Utah and Bowling Green. That doesn't account for another decade of prior coaching experience – not to mention years of service spent recruiting in the Southeast.

When Haughton High School football coach Rodney Guin contacted Hevesy about an intriguing young prospect, he was ready to trust the evaluation.

"Rodney texted me and said 'Hey, I've got a quarterback. I think he's a good player, and he's a great leader,'" Hevesy said. "So, Ok, I'll watch his film."

However many million people might want to talk to Dak Prescott in 2017, imagine the opposite back in 2010. In the summer before his senior year of high school, the young quarterback had one scholarship offer, from TCU, and few others were even bothering to recruit him.

"You're watching his film, and he's a good runner, good thrower – does everything well," Hevesy said. "Is he a dynamic thrower, is he a dynamic runner? No."

For lack of better options, Hevesy goes as far as to record the Young Prescott's practice mechanics on his phone. It's enough to sell Mullen on an invite to a summer camp on campus – one of the backbones of the recruiting process.

"He comes to camp, and he wows you with his personality, but he didn't throw the ball very well at all. I think he ran a 4.90 40, and he's 6-1, 205," Mullen said. "So there really wasn't an exceptional quality, except for his personality, that we liked."

That personality is something else, though. It draws rave reviews from Guin, and it draws rave reviews from Hevesy. It's enough to make Mullen want to like him that much more as a prospect. The head coach sends him home to Louisiana with some coaching tips and asks him to come back in July, when all the Bulldogs' top prospects will be on campus.

He does just that, and he throws the ball better – but it's not Prescott's throwing motion that anybody remembers in retrospect. What stands out is the Bulldogs' strength coach rushing out of the weight room, demanding that Dak Prescott receive a scholarship offer.

"There's 250 kids at camp, and we do a thing with them where we bring them to the weight room," Hevesy said. "Of all the kids in the weight room, he doesn't know any of them – and 250 kids listened to him. He was guiding and following and doing that stuff – and you said 'He's just different.' He's a different kid."

That should sound familiar. After all, that same "It" factor that helped Dak Prescott take over a high school recruiting camp also helped him take over the Dallas Cowboys' huddle, littered with decorated veterans, at 23 years of age.

It might be the most fascinating thing about him – and there might not be an explanation that can justify it.

"I guess that's just kind of the natural part of it, of being able to build relationships with every type of person and wanting to know about them," Prescott says. "So when it comes to adversity or comes to working out or comes to when you need everybody to gather around, it's kind of easy for me at that point."

The football fundamentals needed some work, but the Bulldogs needed that type of presence in their locker room. That in itself is enough to merit a scholarship offer. Mullen was trying to build a program in the toughest division in college football, alongside Alabama, Auburn and LSU, and he needed a quarterback who had "It."

"In the back of my mind it came in that we can coach him and help him get better at the skill parts," Mullen said. "But I can't coach him to have that factor where the strength coach is like 'This is the guy we want leading our program.'"

As anyone who has ever followed college football recruiting can attest, identifying a program-changing quarterback and signing him are two totally different things.

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Here's another theme of Dak Prescott's narrative – the better you are at football, the more attention you're going to get.

His commitment to Mississippi State in the summer of 2010 wasn't exactly front page news. He was a lightly-recruited quarterback prospect from a little-regarded school in northwest Louisiana. Days after committing to Mullen, Hevesy and the Bulldogs, he attended a summer camp at LSU – where he was largely an afterthought.

"That annoyed him tremendously – like, 'These guys don't want me. I'm second shelf for them,'" Hevesy said.

That was before Prescott led Class 4A Haughton to a 12-1 record as a senior, throwing 39 touchdown passes and rushing for nearly 1,000 yards in the process. The kid no one wanted to talk to in the summer was suddenly much more popular – including with his home state powerhouse.

"It was a kid from Louisiana with an LSU offer. You already know it's going to be a fight," Hevesy said.

That shouldn't be surprising, as recruiting battles are an everyday occurrence in the world of college football. The more important part of the challenge might have been Peggy Prescott – who let it be known that any coach recruiting her son would ultimately answer to her.

"During their official visit here, she sat in the back seat of my car and yelled at me and my wife for an hour -- I don't even know if I ever told Dak that," Hevesy said. "She sat there and said 'He wants to come here. I want him close to home, but he wants to come here – main part, because of you.'"

Dak Prescott's close bond with his mother is no secret by this point. He was the youngest of her three sons, behind Tad and Jace, and her firm but loving influence left an indelible mark.

"There's no question that he is who he is because of her. It really is amazing," said Megan Mullen, Dan's wife. "I've never seen a stronger mother-son combination, and that's the truth – the two of them."

Peggy's preference wasn't a secret, either, as Dak says now that LSU coaches worked harder on winning her over than they worked on him. Whatever she might have wanted, though, she wasn't going to make the decision for him – and she wasn't going to let anyone else do it, either.

"I remember any time I talked to other family members, my mom wouldn't let them talk to me about sports," he said. "It was either, 'You're talking to Dak to generally ask about him, but don't bring up recruiting or anything.' Because everybody wanted me to go somewhere, and she wanted me to eventually make the decision on my own."

Eventually, after enough long talks and late nights, that decision was made. Dak even enrolled at Mississippi State early, getting to campus in January of 2011, thereby avoiding any of the last-minute drama that surrounds coveted recruits.

"I'm a man of my word," he said. "That's one thing that I embrace and want to portray and get across -- and wanted to then."

Through the whole process, the Bulldogs can probably thank their insistence on tough love and straight talk for that outcome. In a business where plenty of schools tell players what they want to hear, Mississippi State had been there from the beginning – and hadn't wavered in the message.

"I think, for him and the kind of kid he was, that's what he trusted," Hevesy said. "And that's what he liked – 'They're telling me exactly what it is. I don't know if I'm hearing the straight truth from everything else.' I think that's what it was."

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Even coming from the man himself, the above quote might be a bit of an understatement.

Here's Dak Prescott, two years into his college career. He redshirted his freshman season, and the Bulldogs used him as a situational quarterback in 2012, as he touched the ball 61 times while helping the team to an 8-5 record.

Then, opportunity knocked. In the third quarter of the 2013 season opener against Oklahoma State, starting quarterback Tyler Russell left the field with a concussion. Dak Prescott was on deck.

"As a coaching staff, what we have to do is we have to constantly try to put him in situations to take pressure off him. Put him in situations where he can be successful," Mullen said.

The similarities are astounding – not for the first time nor the last time. Prescott held the fort in Russell's absence, leading Mississippi State to wins against Alcorn State and Bowling Green, along with a close loss to eventual national runner-up Auburn.

Russell returned in the subsequent weeks, trading series with the younger quarterback while Mississippi State traded wins and losses.

Everything changed in November when Peggy, who had been quietly battling colon cancer for the better part of a year back in Louisiana, took a turn for the worse.

"I actually knew his mom was sick, but the family didn't want to tell him that. They wanted to have the right moment," Mullen said. "So we knew it, and we just told the family 'Let us know when you're going to let him know what's going on, so we can make sure we're there for him and have the right support for him.'"

Dak Prescott's mother passed away on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, mere hours after one of the worst outings of his college career, a 34-16 road loss to South Carolina in which he threw three interceptions. He arrived at Mississippi State's football offices early in the morning to dissect the game tape – and was instead met by familiar faces and a haunting phone call.

"We had him come in the office here and get on the phone and let his family tell him that his mom had passed," Mullen said. "But I wanted to make sure we had everybody here for him at that time. At that time, we had people here for him – whether it was coaches, our wives, some of his teammates here to support him and put their arm around him."

Mullen tells this story with tears in his eyes from his office overlooking the Bulldogs' practice fields. Four years prior, he arranged permission to fly Prescott home in the university's plane, along with some teammates and coaches, for his mother's funeral.

The funeral was held on a Wednesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon, Dak Prescott was back on those same practice fields, preparing for a game against Texas A&M in a mere three days.

"I'm his coach – I'm trying to protect him," Mullen said. "He's like 'Coach, my mom would be so mad if I wasn't ready to play this game this weekend. So I've got to go get ready to play.'"

Prescott played – and played well – in a 51-41 loss to the Aggies. Tough as it may be to believe, though, 2013 wasn't quite done with him. In the very same game, he'd suffer a nerve injury in his non-throwing arm that would force him to miss a 20-7 loss to Alabama and an overtime win against Arkansas.

"Missing my first real time in a season," Prescott said. "Missing two full games and not dressing -- the first time I ever missed a game and didn't dress in a game."

To this day, Mullen insists that it's miraculous Dak was even cleared to suit up for the next game – the pivotal annual rivalry against Ole Miss, known throughout the Southeast as the Egg Bowl – let alone play in it.

"They clear him, they say 'He might play one play, he might be able to play the whole game.' So we kind of hold him out," Mullen said. "We're playing our true freshman, third-string quarterback. We have to win the game to get to a bowl game, because we've just been devastated by injuries the whole year."

The Bulldog defense played well enough to keep the deficit at 10-7 heading into the fourth quarter. From there, Mullen turned to his guy.

"Even in that game, in that moment, I remember him jogging on the field," Mullen said. "If you were in the stadium that day, you'll never forget the moment he ran on the field in that fourth quarter. Everybody will tell you, the feeling in that stadium was 'Something special is about to happen.'"

The quarterback remembers that moment for his own reasons. Throughout the ups and downs of a tough season and a tragic loss, Prescott said the Egg Bowl served to reaffirm his decision of three years prior.

"I think at that moment, stepping on the field after losing my mom, after being hurt for two games – the standing ovation and being able to lead them to a win," he said. "That's when I think everything came full circle of 'This is why I chose Mississippi State.'"

Prescott led a fourth quarter field goal drive to tie the game. In overtime, he charged the ball into the end zone – bum shoulder and all – on a 4th-and-1 keeper from the 3-yard line. The Bulldogs won, securing a bowl berth.

One month later, fully healthy, Prescott would turn in an MVP performance in the Liberty Bowl, accounting for 361 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns in a 44-7 drubbing of Rice.

"I think the bowl game was when I really felt, like, 'Yeah, I'm going to do this," he said.

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Dan Mullen made a joke to his hotshot quarterback in the fall of 2014, and it clearly made an impression.

Dak Prescott was the toast of college football. Having downed No. 8 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 2 Auburn in consecutive weeks, Mississippi State was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country. The Bulldogs were on the cover of Sports Illustrated, ESPN's College Game Day was coming to town and interview requests were pouring in.

Like any seasoned football coach, Mullen had just the right barb for his quarterback's ego.

"I said 'If you don't like it, start throwing some picks and they'll leave you alone,' he said.

Fast forward to the eve of his second NFL training camp, and it's the same story in a different setting. Prescott's first full offseason has seemed like a whirlwind, as he has picked up new sponsorships and starred in commercials and photo shoots. Immediately following the offseason program he hosted youth football camps in Starkville, Haughton and the Dallas area.

His visit to *Good Morning America *took on added significance, as he appeared to promote Immuno-Oncology and the fight against cancer – a cause that will no doubt always be close to him.

When there aren't 30 reporters at his locker, he's doing private interviews with ESPN and Bleacher Report. His own organization's website is even pestering him for his life story.

Through it all, he thinks back to that joke.

"That sat in, and it just kind of went with the way I already thought of it," Prescott said. "These people are here, the cameras are here – this is all here because I'm playing good football. If I want to be greater, I'd better embrace it now, because it all just comes more and more and more. If I don't want it to happen, just go play bad football."

Of course, Mississippi State's magical 2014 run eventually fell short. Prescott returned for his senior season, but the Bulldogs' offensive line and defensive front seven were decimated by graduation and the NFL draft.

Prescott improved statistically across the board the next year, throwing 29 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He set 38 school records and established himself as the Bulldogs' leader in every career, single season and single game passing category. The team results couldn't be replicated.

He was, by any objective measure, a better quarterback than the guy who contended for a Heisman the year before. But the Bulldogs lost two early games and finished the regular season 8-4 – and the national outlets pursued stories elsewhere.

"I think he realized it's just all about the next play," Mullen said. "'All of this is fun -- but you know what, I'm so much better than I was the year before, but I'm not getting the same attention. What's that attention really about? Because it's certainly not about my performance.' And I think he was really able to handle that."

If Prescott has learned that lesson already, at this young stage of his career, it can only help him. The legions of fans and media that follow the Dallas Cowboys are likely to be far less forgiving than those at Mississippi State. And if Prescott improves as an individual, but his team falls short, he's not going likely to be treated as well as he was in school.

It's a challenge Prescott is well-suited for, but it's a challenge all the same.

"I don't know if there's a player in the NFL with more pressure on him than Dak Prescott," Mullen said.

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Everything written above this should hopefully convey what it means to walk through Starkville, Miss., with Dak Prescott.

In the four days he returned to Mississippi State this past April, he kept a busy schedule. He threw out the first pitch at Dudy Noble Field, as the baseball team got set to host a pivotal series with Kentucky. He took in those games from a place of honor in the Left Field Lounge – an outfield tailgate of such an impressive magnitude it has to be experienced to be believed. He also watched the entire Bulldog spring game from the south end zone at Davis Wade.

Every step of the way, the buzz followed in his wake. With that buzz came a continuous wall of smart phones angling for photos, and a steady stream of autograph seekers – Bulldog faithful on a pilgrimage.

"Honestly, I say sometimes it was crazier then than it is now," Prescott says of his college career.

Despite the popularity of the Dallas Cowboys, that's a believable claim. Mississippi State was one of the 13 original members of the Southeastern Conference, created way back in December of 1932. In that time span, the Bulldogs have won one conference title – back in 1941. Their all-time record is 547-569-39 – a winning percentage of .490.

It's not hyperbole to say Dak Prescott's career was an unprecedented era for the program – and for the community.

"I can tell you, for Mississippi State to be ranked No. 1 in the nation in football for that length of time, brought tremendous notoriety to our campus," said Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum. "Many millions of people who really knew nothing about Mississippi State learned a great deal about us during that time."

That explains why the university bought billboard across the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the week leading up to Dak's first NFL start. It explains the autograph seekers. It explains the thunderous ovation when he is introduced on the jumbotron at the spring game. It explains why, smack dab in the middle of eastern Mississippi, there is a startling array of Dallas Cowboys jerseys – most of them emblazoned with Prescott's No. 4.

Logic dictates that this would be New Orleans Saints or Atlanta Falcons or perhaps Tennessee Titans territory, as far as the NFL is concerned. Tell that to the manager of the local Buffalo Wild Wings, who says that – starting last September – his restaurant was overrun with blue and silver, as Dak Prescott quickly converted the Bulldog Nation.

"He knows he will always have a home here, he will always have a family here. These people will always support him," said Mississippi State Athletic Director John Cohen.

For eight years before he assumed control of the athletic department, Cohen coached Mississippi State baseball. He also played for the Bulldogs from 1988-90. If anyone is qualified to speak on a Mississippi State athlete, it's probably him.

That's what makes it so amusing when, asked if Dak will have his name and number commemorated in the Ring of Honor at Davis Wade Stadium, Cohen laughs. It's only a matter of time.

"Long after his professional career is over, he will come out here to football games and get standing ovations from 60,000 people," he says. "He will always be a part of this family."

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No one will ever know what things would be like in a happier history.

It's possible that Dak Prescott's bond with Mississippi State would be just as strong if he had never lost his mother while he was a player there. The truth is that there's no way to know.

But from that, and every other up and down of a five-year career – capped off by a bachelor's degree and a Master's – a bond was undoubtedly formed. Cohen's use of the word "family" was likely no accident, as Prescott famously referred to the fanbase the same way, just days after Peggy's death.

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"All the support, if I could even put a number on the letters and gifts and little knick-knacks that I got after my mom passed – or messages and support after this adversity and that adversity," Prescott said. "All the love and good things, they didn't waver – good or bad. It was the same people, the same thought, the same care, the same love and support for me – no matter if it was good or no matter if it was bad."

Prescott takes that seriously. And if there was any doubt about his dedication, he showcased it to a national audience this past spring.

On April 1, Mississippi State saw its greatest athletic accomplishment since Prescott left campus, as the Bulldogs' women's basketball team knocked off juggernaut Connecticut, 66-64 in the Final Four. The upset ended UConn's unheard-of 111-game winning streak and stopped its string of four consecutive national titles.

Fittingly enough, the game was held in Dallas, and through it all – there was Dak Prescott, bedecked in a maroon and white basketball jersey, living and dying with every possession. When diminutive point guard Morgan William hit the buzzer-beater in overtime, Prescott tossed his hat in utter jubilation.

He looked nothing like the poised quarterback who'd hit an overtime game-winner of his own back in October, and everything like a proud older brother.

"He loves this university because he recognizes that who he is as a player and as a person, in a lot of respects, were developed during his time here on this campus," Keenum said.

As he said, it was that journey, going all the way back to 2013, that confirmed Dak Prescott's choice of college. Even as the story has gotten bigger and the spotlight has gotten brighter, he hasn't forgotten that fact.

"That's what I meant – it's family," he said. "It's not some fan that doesn't know anything about you, it's somebody that knows a lot about you and they care about you on and off the field."

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Dak Prescott's story has been incredible to this point – almost unbelievable. That's all well and good, but as his college coach figured out long ago, people are only going to care about what comes next.

It's a harsh bottom line, but that's life in football.

Prescott didn't just get drafted into the NFL, he got drafted by his childhood team – the one that won the most recent of its five Super Bowls back in January 1996, when he was all of two years old.

No one could have expected it to happen this quickly, save maybe for Prescott himself and a few dozen Bulldog fanatics, but he is now charged with guiding a franchise that only measures success by Super Bowl championships.

Dan Mullen sums it up succinctly: "Coming off of last year, second year in the league, supposed to be on a great team, has this unbelievable rookie year – he is now the guy."

Pundits will bring up Robert Griffin III, who won Offensive Rookie of the Year and reached the playoffs in his first season in Washington – and has yet to come close to any accolades again. There will reasons, real and imagined, if the Cowboys can't maintain last year's lofty level in Prescott's second year.

In the "what have you done for me lately" world of the NFL, there won't be any sympathy for the face of America's Team – Prescott can ask his predecessor, Tony Romo, about that.

That's your narrative, and it's not the first time Dak Prescott has heard it. He's gotten used to it among the highs and lows of a decorated career.

But Dak Prescott has his own narrative. It's a pretty simple one.

"Whether it was recruiting, whether it was here, whether it was that he had an injury or with Mom or being drafted in the fourth round, and 'Everyone is supposed to be better than I am.' Get back to work," Hevesy said. "Study film a little more. And it's not that you had to tell him – that's what he did, because it was a challenge to him that 'I've got to be better.'"

The standard for "better" is going to be a high one, but Prescott has embraced that. He was training in Orlando with quarterback specialist Tom Show within weeks of his rookie season ending, and he was back at the Cowboys' facility for workouts long before the official start of the offseason program. He had Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant watching tape with him after practices in May, and he scheduled workouts with his wide receivers during the off weeks leading up to training camp.

"I've always, in everything I did, tried to be the hardest working person or player or whatever may be in that field," Prescott said.

None of this is to say that the setbacks won't come, just as they always have. Losses and low points are just as much a part of football, and life, as triumphs. That's not a new part of the story.

But if this story says anything, it's that Dak Prescott tends to come back stronger. He does so with the help of his family.

Offering up perhaps another understatement, Mullen added: "He knows that he has his people around him."

It just so happens, his "family" is a bit larger than you might have thought.

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