SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Another hurdle has been cleared.
It might be preseason and it might only have been a handful of snaps, but Travis Frederick can now say he has returned to an NFL game during his journey back from Guillain-Barré
"I said the first day, it felt more normal to me than I had anticipated, and that I had hoped for," Frederick said on Saturday night. "So that was a good thing. It's continued to grow."
Meaningless exhibition though it may have been, it was good to see Frederick's familiar No. 72 back in the middle of the Cowboys' huddle. During his one series of play, the Cowboys' starters marched 65 yards in nine plays, eventually settling for a 25-yard field goal.
"These are great opportunities for us to make a first impression, and we did just that," he said. "Everybody came together and played well together as a group. The communication level was high. We are going to go back and look at it. It was only a few plays, but we will build on that as we go through the preseason."
Frederick is undoubtedly ready to put all this commemoration behind him, but it is still amazing to think of the progress he's made in less than a year. At this time last August, he had yet to even determine his diagnosis, let alone treat it and begin his recovery.
Back on July 30, after his first padded practice since last year, he said it was just one of many steps on the journey back. He referenced this preseason outing against San Francisco as another milestone.
"First preseason game is another one, the first time I play after halftime is another one," he said at the time. "They're all very little steps, and you try and do what you do to take advantage of those opportunities."
With the preseason in full swing, those opportunities will start coming at a faster pace. Eventually, Frederick's narrative might shift away from his recovery and focus fully on football –but not quite yet.
"We're not yet 100 percent to the football questions, but at some point we'll get there," he said. "But it certainly is a good feeling to be thinking about football now and not thinking about health and whether or not I'll be able to walk in the future. Now it's whether or not I can play football at a high level."
Not to put pressure on the three-time All-Pro, but even seeing Frederick take these smalls steps has plenty of people feeling better already.
"To think that we're going to have him, and we didn't have him a year ago – that alone, to me gives me a notch above expectations, as to know he's going to be on the field," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones.