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Igbinoghene on Cowboys debut: 'It's confirmation'


FRISCO, Texas — It appears there was nothing flooding Noah's arc (that's not a typo) on Sunday. It's one thing to be optimistic after literally praying for change and then receiving it, but it's an entirely different type of surrealism that comes from rubber stamping your name on the first task handed to you — as Noah Igbinoghene can now attest as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

Juanyeh Thomas, a second-year safety who delivered a career game in his very first NFL start, gave Igbinoghene a chance to get the Cowboys' train moving early in the first quarter — a train that eventually ran through the Giants to the tune of a 40-0 reckoning — after blocking Pro Bowl kicker Graham Gano's 45-yard attempt.

Igbinoghene turned it into a scoop-and-score to give the Cowboys a 6-0 lead.

"[My family] couldn't believe it," said the former first-round pick. "They saw the play and then kept replaying it and it hit them eventually like, 'Oh shoot, that's Noah!' It sunk in and they were so excited, and everyone was texting me."

Ever the consummate teammate, he credits Thomas for making the play in the first place.

"I didn't really do anything special," he said. "I just picked up the ball. It was really Juanyeh who did it. But the fact I was there and it worked out like that, I believe that was confirmation."

The humility is admirable, but both things are true, because Igbinoghene finished the play.

It marked the first time in Igbinoghene's career that he's scored an NFL touchdown, and let's put that in perspective by noting how he took the field for the Dolphins a total of 1,009 times — defensive and special teams snaps combined — without having felt pay dirt.

It took just a single snap in a Cowboys' uniform for that to change, and only a few days after the Nigerian native declared the trade to Dallas might be an answered prayer.

"I need this. … It's something that I've been praying about," he said after arriving in Dallas for the first time. "And maybe I was praying about this and for this. God really blessed me and sent me over here. … The vision, the dream and the goals I have for my life and career, I feel like it can take place here with the Cowboys."

Needless to say, he's off to a hot start.

"I think it is [confirmation], man," said Igbinoghene. "After that [touchdown] happened, and while it was happening, I couldn't believe it. In my head, afterwards, it kinda was like God said, 'Here.' Man, I truly needed that. That was confirmation that I belong here, and this is where I'm supposed to be.

"I believe [Miami] is where I was supposed to be at that time, but I'm excited for this shift in my life and excited just to be here. It's the fact I've been praying every single day, And to see God confirm it, and in public, that really shows the time I spend with Him in private showed in that one instance in public. It was exciting to see that and exciting to see it literally manifest. I truly couldn't believe it was happening.

"All I can say is God is good."

Having never been part of a game that dominant or historic (literally) before, it's now about turning the page and focusing on the Week 2 bout with the visiting New York Jets, a team that lost future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a torn Achilles after only four snaps against the Buffalo Bills.

The Jets, led by their defense and Zach Wilson, went on to win in overtime. So while many outside of the building are wondering if the Cowboys will play down to the competition of Wilson instead of Rodgers, that's not how players are carrying themselves in the locker room and on the practice field this week.

It's business as usual, as Igbinoghene so readily pointed out on Wednesday.

"This is the NFL," he said of any insinuation that there's a such thing as a trap game. "So, yes, that happened on Sunday, but that doesn't happen a lot. You can get beat — no matter who you are, no matter what players you have. You've gotta come in and play, and you've gotta expect the Jets to come in and play.

"They're gonna give us their all, and we're gonna give them our all. We can't get comfortable out there. Every single week is a game, and every single one will be a challenge. We've just gotta come to meet the challenge and we'll be OK."

That said, he also admits he feels a different type of energy in Dallas, one he could sense resonating from the moment he entered the building after his flight from South Florida.

"Just me being here for a week, I can tell this is different," he said. "What's being here is something different, and it showed on Sunday. I've been telling everybody [in my family] and, on gameday, I literally got to see it. Now, I can say I expect dominance out of this team. It's how we practice and how we're able to perform on Sundays, and how we come to work every single day in this locker room.

"We're one. We're going to continue to build this thing up and it'll be exciting to see where this team can go. We're very talented, like we showed [in New York]."

The Cowboys have found a talented player in Igbinoghene, who can also contribute readily at cornerback when called upon, increasing the level of already exceptional level of talent in North Texas.

The gale force winds that were once preventing him from moving forward have now become the very thing propelling him forward, and all it took was for Something to turn his sails in a different direction.

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