ARLINGTON, Texas – Orlando Scandrick won't be on the field this fall while the Cowboys try to retain their NFC East crown, but he was on the field Wednesday at AT&T Stadium to show his commitment to their cause.
The team held its 2015 Flowserve Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon on Wednesday from the field at their home venue. The message of the afternoon, driven home by owner/general manager Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett was one of focus and determination for the coming season.
The highlight of the afternoon, though, was during the awards presentation for 2014, when Scandrick and Jeremy Mincey were named co-defensive MVPs for their efforts during the Cowboys' 12-4 run to the divisional round of the playoffs last year.
Scandrick is less than a week removed from surgery after tearing his ACL and MCL in practice on Aug. 25, and he was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday. The pain of a lost season was evident on his face, as he held back tears during his remarks.
"This team means everything to me," he said. "I'm blessed to be around this structure and these people. I'm blessed to be around a coach that's so detailed and structured."
The eight-year veteran related it to last season, when he missed the early going of the campaign as a result of a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He eventually returned to action to tally 63 tackles and two interceptions.
"I sat here a year ago today, and I knew I was going to miss four games going into the season because of a bad decision I made," he said. "I want to thank my teammates, the owner of this organization, my coaches and everybody for believing in me and being there for me."
This will be the second straight season the Cowboys open the year with one of their defensive stalwarts already sidelined, as Sean Lee missed all of 2014 with a torn ACL. But Scandrick said the injury doesn't affect his expectations for his team.
"It's going to be hard for me this year, but I'm going to watch all of you guys and be as supportive as I can. The goal remains the same," he said.
The Cowboys' offensive MVP award was shared between five people, as the entire starting offensive line shared in the honor. The combination of Tyron Smith, Ron Leary, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Doug Free combined to pave the way for DeMarco Murray to rush for 1,845 yards and Tony Romo to enjoy the most efficient season of his NFL career.
Coming off a Pro Bowl nod at the long snapper position, L.P. Ladouceur was named special teams MVP.
Tyrone Crawford also received the team's Ed Block Courage Award, which is presented to NFL players that are role models of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage. Crawford missed the entire 2013 season with a torn Achilles tendon, but he bounced back last year to notch three sacks, 29 quarterback pressures and 37 tackles as a rising star at the under-tackle position.