Rico Gathers wasn’t going to let a bout with pinkeye and a virus keep him off the football field another day.
Gathers returned for the Dallas Cowboys’ final minicamp practice on Thursday after missing the first two days, but it ended up being a frustrating day for the former Baylor basketball standout.
Gathers made the wrong decision of running a pass route instead of picking up a blitz in team drills, a gaffe that irked him enough to throw his helmet.
“That was one of the things I really studied,” Gathers said. “For me to let that happen, I was really frustrated. That’s the type of play I’ve got to see and I’ve got to make. I can’t have mental errors like that.
“That type of stuff makes the coaches be like, ‘Oh, he still ain’t got it.’ I want them to know I know my information and I’m the total package. I want to be reliable.”
Tight ends coach Steve Loney didn’t approve of the helmet toss, but understood why Gathers wasn’t pleased with himself.
“I’m pretty sure he won’t make that mistake again,” Loney said. “He’s not a dumb player by any stretch of the imagination. He has a good sense of the game and he picks things up quickly.”
Gathers is in his second year with the Cowboys after joining the team as a sixth-round draft pick a year ago. He spent last season on the practice squad, and is hoping to make the 53-man roster this time around.
The Cowboys coaching staff and Gathers himself feel he’s made significant strides in reaching that point. He’s continuing to develop in his transition from basketball to football and has immersed himself in football so much that he falls asleep dreaming of plays.
“Why am I thinking about trips-right-wing? You know what I’m saying?” Gathers said. “But that’s the type of player that I am now. I think football all day.”