Practice squad star wants more

By Ryan Peterson - bio | email

SAN ANTONIO, TX (KLTV) -  N.F.L. life has not been easy for Gilmer native Manuel Johnson.  The 2009 draft pick was cut by the Cowboys after training camp last year, then signed to the practice squad.

Disappointed never to the see the field on game day, Johnson still made the most of his time on the practice field.

"He did a really nice job," said Cowboys Head Coach Wade Phillps.  "I think he got one or two game balls last year for competing so well on the practice squad."

"I like to play football," said Johnson.  "Things don't come to you as you want them, but you keep working hard and good things will happen."

Despite being one of the best players on the practice field, Johnson is buried on the depth chart once again.

"We like Manny," said Phillips. "We like the way he's playing and we like his future. But this is the year he needs to step forward rather than being on the practice field. We've had practice guys that have looked great in practice and shorts, but it's how they play the game. That's how we evaluate."

Johnson plans to show them he's grown.

"Just to prove to them, I feel like I'm ready to play," said Johnson.  "It's not up to them to tell them that I'm ready I have to show them on the field."

The East Texan may be a long shot to make the Cowboys roster, but at one time, so were  pro bowlers Tony Romo and Miles Austin.

"Romo started off on the bottom, Miles started off on the bottom, now look at them," said Johnson.  "They are great contributors to the team. So just keeping working hard and things will work out."

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