ARLINGTON, Texas – It only took a few minutes after another heartbreaking Week 17 loss for questions about Jason Hatcher's future with the Cowboys to surface.
Hatcher knows he may have played his final season in Dallas, ending it on a high note with two sacks in the finale to give him 11 sacks this year, which is his career high. Whatever happens and wherever he ends up, emotions won't play a role in his decision in free agency.
"It's all business now," Hatcher said. "If I'm here, I know the Cowboys fans, they supported me. I just thank all of them. If I don't return next year, I really thank you guys for supporting me and my family and everything I stood for, the ups and downs here. We'll see what goes on in March."
While he wouldn't rule out a return to the Cowboys, Hatcher understands the reality of his situation and seems content with the fact that he may not be back.
He stressed that it's not and won't be an emotional decision for him. It's a business, and he's going to make the best business move for him and his family. But right now, he's still soaking in the loss after recording four combined tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
"My feelings are just, I'm numb right now," Hatcher said. "Whatever happens, happens. If I've got to move my family out of here, I'm good with that. It's up in the air. I really don't care whether I go or stay. It'd be awesome to stay here, finish my career here, but if not, have to move on, it's a business. You know how it goes. You can't get no emotions involved."
Hatcher said he'll continue to play as hard as he did this year if he's back again with the team, but until the Cowboys sign him back, he has no comments about the coaching or direction of the team. He said he's not in a position to share his thoughts, since he's a free agent now and will be a compelling player for teams looking to snag the 31-year-old.
It came as somewhat of a surprise that Hatcher didn't get named to the Pro Bowl this season, as his 11 sacks this year rank among the top of defensive tackles in the league. It's rare to see any tackle reach double digits in that category. The last Cowboys player to do so was Randy White, who recorded three straight double-digit sack seasons in the early '80s. [embedded_ad]
Hatcher said the Pro Bowl snub didn't fuel his fire in his stellar Week 17 performance and he joked that he's not big on Hawaii, but he also said deep down he feels he's the best three-technique in the league. The stats would back that up.
"I never (question) the decision that God makes," Hatcher said. "If I was supposed to be in there, I'd have been in there. It was obvious I should have been in there, but it wasn't. Maybe he was trying to protect me in some kind of way… It's just one of those things, politics take its role."
Even if he's left out of the Pro Bowl, it's likely the rest of the league has taken note of the leap Hatcher made this year. His previous high in sacks was 4.5 set two years ago. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see where Hatcher plays next year.
"The realistic part of it, man, I really don't know," he said. "Anything can happen, but it's just one of those things that have got to play out. I'm fixing to go home, enjoy my family and see where my next stop will be."