It's been a long road for Dak Prescott to get back to the football field. After a record-setting start in the first month of the 2020 season when he became the first quarterback in history to throw for 450 yards or more in three consecutive games, Prescott's season came to an abrupt end last October when he suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle.
He's not only gotten through a strenuous rehab process but also had personal challenges with the death of his brother and dealing with depression. The 2021 season is less than a week away for the Dallas Cowboys as they will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 9, and the two-time Pro Bowl selection can't wait to get back to doing what he does, and that's playing the quarterback position at a high level.
“I'm definitely ready. I'm excited,” Prescott said Friday. “I put in a lot of work to get to this point. Whether it was months ago, rehabbing the ankle, to the last few weeks keeping the feet working while I was letting my arm rest. There is so much work I put into this I'm just excited to go out there and be a part of the full game. Just being out there with my brothers and being able to do something I love.”
Prescott had another setback during training camp. On July 27, he suffered a strain in his throwing shoulder that kept him out of competitive team drills for a month. The Cowboys, as they should have, took the precautious approach with Prescott although he wanted to do more, as he voiced on HBO's Hard Knocks.
After doing some light throwing to work his way back, Prescott returned to team drills on August 25 and looked very sharp. In 18 reps, he completed 11 of his 12 pass attempts in 11-on-11 work, showing that he had no limitations whatsoever on his arm. Despite never wanting to dial it down, Prescott understands the way the team handled his shoulder issue was the right way to go.
“I think we went about this process the right way that part of it was protecting me from myself,” Prescott said. “I mean, the moment I got into any team reps, I wasn't dialing anything down. I wasn't trying to throw a certain amount of percentage. I think that's just the way I play the game, I just went out there and playing within the moment, ripping passes, not thinking about it, just making the plays I needed to make.
“I've been sticking to the plan and it's all worked out. Yeah, from the shoulder to the leg to my mind, I'm ready to go.”
If there's one thing the NFL does a great job of it's marketing its product. The Buccaneers are the defending Super Bowl champions and have who most feel is the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. Every year, when you look at the highest-rated games throughout the league, the Cowboys have several of them, hence the “America's Team” moniker they've had since 1978.
With Brady looking for an unprecedented eighth Super Bowl title, and Prescott playing in his first game in nearly a year, there couldn't be a better matchup to kick off the league's 2021 season.
“I wouldn't want it any other way, to be honest,” said Prescott. “I love night games. I love playing on primetime I think it's just set for the perfect stage. Them coming off of the Super Bowl title and us, having fans back to full capacity, I think this is what the NFL and the world needs.”
In a matter of days, all the speculation will be put to rest and the Cowboys will be back to playing meaningful football, with their leader Prescott at the forefront. There's no bigger test than Brady and the Buccaneers to start things off, so we'll get a feel of what Prescott and the Cowboys as a whole will bring to the table in 2021 very quickly.