Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown smiled when asked about the possibility of safety Byron Jones returning to the cornerback position.
“It’s competition. I love competition,” said Brown, who took part in a Dairy MAX Fuel Greatness Breakfast Games event Monday morning at Meadow Creek Elementary.
“We’ll see what happens with that. See what happens in free agency and the draft. We’ll go from there.”
Brown has started 10 games at cornerback each of the past two seasons. He had a breakout rookie season in which he earned a starting job and kept that role going into 2017.
But Brown was demoted from the starting lineup midway through the season and seemingly endured a sophomore slump. One of his biggest issues was his proneness to penalties.
Brown was flagged eight times (five defensive pass interference, two defensive holding, one offensive holding) compared to just three times in his rookie season (two defensive pass interference, one roughing the kicker).
Despite his frustrating season, Brown still played 81 percent of the defensive snaps (845-of-1,048), tied for the team lead with 11 passes defended, had two interceptions and ranked sixth on the team with 56 tackles (according to the coaches’ breakdown).
“It didn’t go the way I expected, but it’s something that I can learn form going forward,” Brown said. “Now I know you’ve got to go hard on everything you do. This league is crazy – you could have a great year and then have a not-so-great year. So you’ve got to come with it every game.”
The Cowboys will have plenty of competition among cornerbacks going into the season. Along with Brown and Jones, executive vice president Stephen Jones said he likes the promise of 2017 rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Another rookie last season, Xavier Woods, saw time at nickel cornerback.
And the Cowboys still have Orlando Scandrick under contract, although the team could part ways with the 10-year veteran.
For now, Brown is just focused on preparing for the 2018 season and is eager to show his 2017 season is a thing of the past. He liked the Cowboys bringing in a new secondary coach, Kris Richard, and is ready to compete for his job.
“I’m excited, man. Fresh year, fresh start,” Brown said. “Last year didn’t go as we expected it to go, but I expect us to bounce back this year and do what we’re capable of doing.”
As far as Monday’s event, Brown received a star’s welcome from the elementary students. He had breakfast with them and then led one of the teams in the “Breakfast Games,” an event associated with the NFL’s and National Dairy Council’s “Fuel Up to Play 60” initiative.
Brown spoke to the children about the importance of breakfast and living right.
“This is huge, man,” said Brown, who has a young son himself. “People in our community, they don’t have the opportunity to meet guys in the NFL or NBA or anything. I love coming and doing this for the kids.
“Growing up, I didn’t really look into the diet thing and the things I put in my body. Now, being an NFL player, I definitely have to watch what I put in my body. I try to tell these kids, if they start early, they’ll be 10 steps ahead of me when I was their age.”