Offensive linemen typically don’t appreciate hearing their jersey number called out on the public address system by the referee. It usually means a penalty.
For Joe Looney, though, it usually means No. 73 has entered the game as an extra tackle.
“He’s really embracing it,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Great animation when he tells the official that he’s in the game. It’s really fun to watch.
“It’s a great example of a guy understanding what his role is, understanding what his responsibility is and embracing it. And to have a physical presence there, another offensive lineman, that certainly helps you.”
Looney played only 35 offensive snaps the first eight games as an extra offensive lineman. But since Geoff Swaim was lost for the season, leaving the Cowboys with only two tight ends, Looney’s snap counts have gone up.
He has played 27 offensive snaps the past three games.
“It’s great for me,” Looney said. “It sucks to see a guy go down. You never want to see that. I’m just doing basically whatever the team needs me to do, whatever the coaches ask me to do. That’s what I’m here for.”
After Swaim’s injury, Garrett nicknamed the Cowboys’ jumbo package “Jumbo Joe” in honor of Looney.
“He said it one day in meetings, and it stuck and then it spread like wildfire,” Looney said. “But I embrace it.”
As an extra lineman, Looney is eligible to catch a pass. He has spent the past few weeks campaigning Garrett for that opportunity. Garrett jokingly has questioned Looney’s athleticism.
“I think that’s every lineman’s dream to go out for a pass,” Looney said. “…You guys need to pitch it him. You guys need to tell him, say, ‘Have you seen Looney running. You guys need to give him a pass.’ Yeah, I just try to go out there and do just as good of a job as Geoff did.”