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Ex-Cowboy Ben DiNucci’s new coach offers post-playing career advice

Suffice it to say that the first half of 2023 has been eventful for . The Cowboys' drafted the with a seventh-round pick in 2020.

The James Madison University alum spent one season in Dallas.

He saw action in three games and lost his only start that year.

He was on the in 2021. Dallas waived him before the start of the .

DiNucci landed in the this spring, leading the Seattle Sea Dragons to the . The former Cowboy led the league with 2,671 passing yards.

DiNucci finished with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 10 games. He added over 300 yards and three touchdowns rushing.

The Sea Dragons finished second in the North Division with a 7-3 record. Seattle lost to D.C. in the North Division finals on April 30th.

Landing In Denver

Despite his connections to Dallas — and the possibly battling for the backup spot this year — DiNucci signed with Denver.

He'll be trying to be 's backup for the Broncos.

He didn't exactly get off to a good start last week.

Ben DiNucci's new coach offers post-playing career advice
Photo by

, , and Broncos part-owner and CEO, Greg Penner, were watching practice. Payton had just told Penner how well DiNucci was looking.

Care to guess what happened next? Yeah, disaster struck.

DiNucci threw his first interception of the Broncos' rookie camp. To a true rookie. Who took it back for a touchdown. Ouch.

A Fallback Career

, the Broncos' third-round pick last month, got the highlight.

DiNucci got some career advice from his new head coach.

Jerry Jones, Sean Payton
& Sean Payton

“‘You know, he owns Walmart,” Payton told DiNucci, recounting the conversation to reporters.

“If it doesn't work out here, I'm sure there's a greeting opportunity somewhere at one of his (Penner's) local stores.'”

Double ouch.

Ben There, Done That

Interceptions are part of the game, even in practice. Payton acknowledged that Sanders made a great play on the ball.

Despite the burn/ribbing from his coach, DiNucci has proved he can get the job done as a starter. His game is somewhat similar to Wilson's.

That might give him an advantage over his two main competitors, Jarrett Stidham and Jarrett Guarantano. But he will have to cut down on the turnovers.

He averaged over an interception per game in the spring.

While he didn't throw an interception in 43 attempts in Dallas, he did lose two of four fumbles.

He could get away with that in the XFL. In the ? Not so much.

Dallas Days

During a three-week stretch in 2020 DiNucci saw action at quarterback.

He took three snaps in a 38-10 loss to the Cardinals without throwing a pass.

The next week he was 2-for-3 for 39 yards and was sacked three times in a 25-3 loss to the Redskins.

Cowboys QB Ben DiNucci Readies For "Opportunity Of A Lifetime"
quarterback Ben DiNucci (7) throws downfield in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Landover, Md. Washington won 25-3.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

His lone start followed against the Eagles, a 23-9 loss. He was 21-40 for 180 yards, sacked four times and lost two fumbles.

While he didn't throw an interception during those games, he also failed to throw a touchdown.

He didn't even lead the Cowboys on a touchdown-scoring drive.

These are numbers he can't repeat in Denver. Unless he wants his next job to be a speaking role.

“Welcome to Walmart!”

Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli
Richard has covered sports at all levels - from local, prep, college, and professional - since 1984. He has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since 1969. Since retiring as a full-time sports writer in 2013, he has written and published several novels, two dozen short stories and two sports non-fiction books.

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