Dallas Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers claims he will make the catch on jump balls “9.9 out of 10 times.”
The second-year player out of Baylor caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cooper Rush in stride during Saturday’s 13-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
“You put it up there I’m definitely going to make a play on the ball and go get it,” Gathers said per Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News. “9.9 times out of 10 I’m going to come down with it.”
Dallas selected the former power forward, who hadn’t played a down of football since the eighth grade, with a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. The New Orleans, La. native spent his rookie season on the practice squad transitioning to tight end with the help of playing catch daily with quarterback Tony Romo.
Now, Gathers no longer sees himself as a basketball player, such to the point he doesn’t watch it on TV anymore. Instead, the 6-8, 281-pound athlete sees himself only as a football player, and his only focus is being the best version of himself.
Said Gathers: “I don’t feel like I’ve proven anything, to be honest with you. It’s all about coming in day in and day out, grinding. As Coach [Jason] Garrett says even when you feel like you can’t go, pushing yourself to a new limit. For the most part, I think I’ve been doing that. That’s been making me a better person and a better player at the same time.”
Veterans have taken note of Gathers’ work ethic in training camp in Oxnard, Calif.
“I love Rico Gathers,” Bryant told CBS 11 Saturday during the Cowboys-Rams broadcast. “He’s a great in the making. Coaches are going to continue to keep on working with him. You got [Jason Witten] to watch. He’s got a Hall-of-Famer to watch. He got a great cast surrounding him. Rico can be super great.”
The pathway to making the 53 may be easier for Gathers as tight end Connor Hamlett broke his right leg on the penultimate play of the game, and James Hanna has been kept out of the past two preseason games with a knee injury and a groin injury.