Raymond Radway didn't realize what he (almost) had until he lost it. Radway, an undrafted free agent, had all but earned himself a roster spot with the Dallas Cowboys before a bad break last September.
He required a rod inserted into his left leg after breaking his tibia and fibula with three seconds left in the Cowboys' final preseason game against the Miami Dolphins. His first season ended before it started as the Cowboys placed him on injured reserve.
"It didn't take me too long to get over it," Radway said this week. "After I had the talk with Jerry [Jones] on the plane [on the way home], I was pretty settled in, knowing that I was going to be a Cowboy [last season]. It allowed me to just focus on the rehab."
The McKinney North and Abilene Christian product started running four weeks ago. He said he can run full speed straight ahead but still is "hesitant cutting." He expects to be ready for the team's organized team activities and is convinced he will be as good as last preseason, when he had six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.
"I have no doubt in my mind I will be back 100 percent and ready to go," Radway said.
It took awhile before Radway could watch the jump ball in the end zone that ended with his leg buckling as he landed between two Dolphins defenders.
"I didn't turn away," Radway said. "It was weird looking at it. I didn't see it for a long time afterward, but once I finally saw it, it was kind of scary."
Radway is promoting his appearance at the 2012 Draft Preview Party and Sports Expo on April 25 from 6-9 p.m. at 1010 Collins Center across from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. SMU coach June Jones, actor Ernest James and former Cowboys Mel Renfro, Kevin Smith and Dat Nguyen also are scheduled to attend the benefit for the Gridiron Heroes Foundation. For more information, visit Vanbreed.com/Draftparty.aspx.
"I am very excited," Radway said. "I haven't done too many of these appearances. It'll be a good experience."
Radway, 24, could be doing more appearances in the future if his career plays out as he expects. The team's No. 3 receiver spot is up for grabs after Laurent Robinson left for Jacksonville as a free agent. Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris and Andre Holmes also will compete for the job, and the Cowboys could add another receiver in the draft. They have selected a receiver in each of the past three drafts.
"It's very exciting that they're talking about me and feel like I have a chance to compete for the third spot," Radway said. "I'm just going to go into it and give it my all. I'm trying to focus on coming back stronger. I'm ready to compete."