Told he was too small to play in the NFL his entire life, Dat Nguyen got the chance to prove his critics wrong in 1999, when the Cowboys took the Texas A&M standout in the third round.
And while the detractors appeared to be right after his first two seasons that saw Nguyen start only five games, things started to change in 2001. The middle linebacker started all 16 games, recording the second-most tackles in a season in club history with 171.
Although he played just eight games the following season because of a broken hand, Nguyen returned the following two years to lead the team tackles in 2003 and 2004.
While a neck injury suffered early in the 2005 season apparently will end his career, Nguyen's eight-year career was filled with opportune turnovers and key stops and a defensive awareness that won't be easily replaced.
Depth Added At LB; But Cowboys Still Looking