The Other Rookie Runner Is A Threat

there's not a coach around who doesn't know the difference.

Where did Choice develop that élan for the game?

"From a little age, man," he says with a grin. "I've been playing football since I was young. My older brother dragged me along and I just love it, especially the games. Practice is hard. Training camp is hard work, but when you get in a game, it's fun. It feels easy. Last week, my first game, I felt like a kid out there."

What makes Tashard such a good Choice, what sets him apart in addition to that verve for the game, is his intelligence. After leaving Hampton, Georgia to sign with Oklahoma, he was smart enough to see that after he redshirted as a freshman, the Sooners had a fellow named Adrian Peterson, and it might be time to move on. So Choice went home to Atlanta, where he was Academic All-ACC (he'd been Academic All-Big 12 as a redshirt freshman).

Jerry Jones, being careful with his comparison, sees flashes of another back he once drafted when he looks at Choice: Emmitt Smith.

"I'm not saying he's Emmitt," Jones is quick to point out. "But he has some of Emmitt's characteristics. North-south runner. Sees the field real well, makes good decisions running. Finds the soft spot and gets there."

Sunday in Cleveland, when Barber had lit up the Browns and needed to leave the game with bruised ribs, it was right up Choice's alley to close out the day. When the clock ran inside four minutes, Choice got the last three carries. His 15-yard run on third and five with 3:48 to play sealed the deal.

Nor was he nervous in his first fourth-quarter situation.

"It actually felt calm to me," Choice says. "I was cool out there. We'd practiced it so much and worked on it so much, it becomes a habit. Once you do that, you just go out and execute."

Choice has watched Barber and learned from him.

"He works so hard," Choice marvels. "He busted his tail all off-season. You don't know when it's your last play, so bust your tail. If you do that, at least you can sleep at night knowing you busted your tail every play and left it on the field."

And if circumstances dictated that Tashard Choice had a big load to carry with the nation watching against the vaunted Eagles on Monday night?

"Hooooo, I'm ready," he whistled. "It's Monday night. Got to be ready! It's my first one ever, so I got to be ready to go."

Yeah, the Cowboys may have gotten a steal in Felix Jones. And in the fourth round, it appears they made a very, very good Choice.

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