This time a year ago, football was the least of Travis Frederick’s concerns. The All Pro center was fighting a very different battle, one that would force him to miss the entirety of the 2018 season.
After being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, Frederick’s football future was very much in question. No one could say for sure when, if ever, he would return to the field. And if he ever did come back, would he be able to become the same elite player he had once been?
This Sunday, all of Travis Frederick’s heart and hard work will begin to pay off for him when the Cowboys open their regular season against the New York Giants. He will be back in his rightful place as the starting center for America’s Team for the first time since December of 2017.
“Everybody was excited about the San Fran game because it was the first time I was back out there, but there’s something different about the regular season and being part of the grind and hopefully the journey to where we want to go” – Travis Frederick.
Frederick, the leader of the offensive line, was sorely missed in 2018 even as Joe Looney replaced him rather admirably. Still, both his skill and his brain were needed to help a Cowboys offense which limped through much of the season reach its full potential.
Of course, it’s fair to expect a certain amount of struggle for Frederick as he gets back into the flow of regular season football. In very limited preseason playing time, Frederick was solid overall, but certainly showed room for improvement.
One key area, for example, where Frederick will need to get his groove back is getting to the second level on outside zone, one of Ezekiel Elliott’s favorite running plays.
Still, his brain might be the most valuable aspect of his return on the field. The offensive line was clearly missing his pre-snap calls and communication early on in 2018, and just having his presence across the line of scrimmage should instantly improve the Cowboys pass protection.
Having battled back through his illness, Travis Frederick is an inspiration to all. And this Sunday, when he takes the field for a regular season game for the first time since 2017, it will be a special moment at AT&T Stadium.