Paul Dawson leaves TCU having learned lessons in humility

After slipping into the third round, TCU linebacker Paul Dawson plans to keep his head down and work hard in the NFL.
After slipping into the third round, TCU linebacker Paul Dawson plans to keep his head down and work hard in the NFL. AP

Paul Dawson is no longer a part of the TCU football team after his third-round selection by the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL Draft.

That doesn’t mean he isn’t still learning from TCU coach Gary Patterson.

Days after telling the media, “there’s no other Paul Dawson, for sure,” the always-honest Dawson said he had a conversation with his former coach about his professional approach.

“We talked yesterday and he was like, ‘Don’t boast and brag too much. It’s better to understate and overplay.’ That’s the mantra I’ll go with,” Dawson said Tuesday during a press conference at TCU.

For a player with enough confidence to challenge Alabama after a game-winning pick-6 put TCU over Oklahoma early in his senior season, Dawson admitted that his nerves were rattled as he watched the second and third rounds slip away without receiving a call.

That call finally came, as the final pick of the third round, but the experience further solidified the more humble outlook Dawson needed as he moved into the professional segment of his career.

“I’m just going to go there with my head down and work, and I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do,” Dawson said.

Dawson said he believes the questions that were raised about his character — including frequent tardiness and a failed drug test his sophomore year for Adderall — played into his late third-round selection.

But at this point, his words mean nothing to the teams that passed over him.

“I really can’t say anything, I’ve just got to prove it to everybody,” he said. “I just have to prove it by my actions and that’s what I plan to do.”

(For the record, Dawson arrived right on time for his scheduled 3 p.m. press conference Tuesday.)

Dawson already has a mentor in Cincinnati in former TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, who was drafted the same year Dawson graduated from Dallas Skyline High School.

Dalton reached out to Dawson via text to congratulate him, Dawson said.

“We’re just ready to work,” Dawson said. “We’re just ready to win. We’re ready to win Super Bowls. That’s what we’re about. That’s what Frogs are about.”

But before Dawson completely turned over a new leaf with a little less talk and a lot more action, he looked back on his college career and adamantly insisted that the Big 12 needs a title bout.

With the usual trademark confidence, he said a conference championship would have made all the difference for TCU in his senior season.

“I wish they would have had it last year and there wouldn’t have been a controversy of who gets in the playoffs and who doesn’t,” Dawson said. “I feel like we deserved to be in the playoffs last year, and I feel like we would have beaten Baylor in the championship.”

And there is also fashion.

If anything, he knows he’ll look good in Cincinnati as a Bengal.

“I’m glad that our home jerseys are black,” he said. “That’s my favorite color. I think I look pretty good in those jerseys.”

The TCU linebacker's interception helped seal the Horned Frogs' victory.

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