OXNARD, Calif. – Before the Cowboys started practice against the Rams on Monday afternoon, Jason Witten reconnected with an unexpected face:
Daniel Rodriguez, 27-year-old Rams rookie receiver, who met Witten back in 2010 while the star tight end was in Afghanistan for an NFL USO Tour.
Months earlier, Rodriguez was given a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device for his courage in the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan, fighting for over 12 hours while wounded.[embeddedad0]
After serving two tours of duty in the U.S. Army, Rodriguez walked on at Clemson and signed with the Rams following a tryout. His autobiography released last October, RISE, became a best-seller.
Monday, Rodriguez and Witten met again. This time, they were fellow NFL players.
"We had a minute to talk before (practice) and it put a smile on my face," Witten said. "And it put things in perspective because you never realize the impact you can have.
"He just wanted to say hello. He had a picture, he brought it and wanted to give it to me. He thought I'd like it. That wasn't what I was thinking when I came out to practice, you know? It put a smile on my face and I thought, wow, this guy's pretty special."