Darren McFadden can’t help but smile these days. He’s finally going to the playoffs.
For McFadden, it doesn’t matter that he might not be the lead back or have a prominent role on the offense. He is simply happy to finally experience an NFL postseason for the first time in his nine-year career.
“It definitely feels great, man,” McFadden said. “It’s been a long nine years for me. Just to be there? I’m happy and blessed.”
McFadden, 29, spent the first seven years of his career with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders never had a winning season when McFadden was on the team from 2008-2014, going a combined 37-75.
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McFadden had one 1,000-yard rushing season in that span, rushing for 1,157 yards in an 8-8 season in 2010.
McFadden joined the Cowboys before the 2015 season, but that ended up being a miserable 4-12 campaign with the Cowboys failing to find a suitable replacement for injured quarterback Tony Romo. Still, McFadden finished with 1,089 yards rushing.
This year, McFadden missed the first 12 games after undergoing off-season surgery on his elbow. McFadden has seen his playing time diminish with the rise of rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, but he has embraced his minimal carries and contributed on special teams.
In the end, all that matters to McFadden is being on a contending team.
“I tell these young guys it’s not easy to do,” McFadden said. “Some of these rookies, first time getting there and I’ve been here nine years. It’s definitely hard to get there.
“I can’t explain it all in words. I don’t think it’ll all the way hit me until we get out there [for the divisional round game Jan. 15]. But I’m definitely looking forward to playing in it.”