OXNARD, Calif. – To most of the fans out here at Cowboys training camp, the cornerback wearing No. 26 is accurately known as Tyler Patmon.
For many of the rest of the football world, he's simply known as the "guy who fought Dez Bryant."
Regardless how Patmon is recognized, he's showing up on the tape as a cornerback not only making plays, but making another strong case to be on the final 53-man roster.
Last year, Patmon went from a player who was unsigned after the draft and needed an invitation to the rookie minicamp to catch the Cowboys' eye. After three days of standing out, Patmon was then signed and made it to camp, where he continued to excel on the field and in the preseason games, earning a spot on the roster. He played in 11 regular-season games and was the only defensive back to score a touchdown, taking an interception to the house against the Cardinals.
"Patmon is a great story for our team," Garrett said. "It doesn't really matter where he comes from and what has happened to him and other people in the past. He wants to show you what he's all about by what he does each and every day. And I think he's done that since he's been here. He's a competitor. He's a fighter. He's an instinctive player. He loves to play the game. I think he's gotten better and better."
Patmon said he doesn't harp much on the past, but will often remind himself where he came from, but only in an attempt to motivate.
"I feel like I deserve more and I'm better than where I came from," Patmon said. "I look at it as fire and motivation, not as 'I made it.' I have a long way to go still to meet my goal. Im still motivated to keep moving."
In the offseason, the cornerback spot had plenty of question marks, mainly with Brandon Carr's future with the team and Morris Claiborne returning from injuries. Despite both being on the team and in the plans for 2015, coupled with the drafting of Byron Jones in the first round, nothing seems to faze him or deter his focus.
"That's how it has to be. You get to the NFL, you see every guy in the NFL has talent," Patmon said. "We have a lot of great corners and talent in our room. It's great to be around them but you have to focus on yourself and your own work."
And Patmon's work started long before the start of camp. The cornerback was one of nine players on the team to win an offseason award, voted on by the team's strength and conditioning staff for the work and improvement he put in this summer.
"I take pride in how hard I work. Just for the strength coaches to recognize that, that meant a lot to me," said Patmon, who weighs just 188 pounds. "It doesn't look like I'm a workout warrior but they were able to bring my numbers up a lot from the time I was a rookie. Those guys help me a lot and I have a lot of improvement. I think it's showing in my play."
Patmon gets steady work with the second-team defense and will challenge for a role on the nickel defense, along with a regular role on special teams.
While the main focus is to earn a roster spot, he's not blind to the fact that his scuffle with Bryant won him some respect, even from Dez.
"It means everything," Patmon said of Bryant's comments that he respected Patmon for not backing down. "A guy like 88, I know who Dez as a person. I know how we works. I respect how he works. I respect him off the field and in the locker room and how he treats guy. It means a lot. He's been like a big brother to me since I got here."
But even brothers will have an occasional fight. Then again, as a cornerback, that's the only way Patmon knows how to play.
"Being a corner in this league, that's what you have to do every single play," Patmon said. "It's always a fight. You're on an island, every play. You have to go to war."