Dallas Cowboys

Matt Cassel excited for a new start with the Cowboys

Matt Cassel practiced with the Cowboys for the first time Thursday.
Matt Cassel practiced with the Cowboys for the first time Thursday. Khampha Bouaphanh

Matt Cassel’s girls, Quinn and Ella, displayed more excitement than the quarterback did about his trade from Buffalo to Dallas.

“They kind of understand what was going on, and as soon as I said, ‘They’ve got cheerleaders,’ they were super excited about it,” Cassel said Thursday.

Cassel received word from his agent Monday that a trade was brewing. The Cowboys pulled the trigger on the deal Tuesday, and he arrived in town Wednesday afternoon.

From now until Sunday, he will spend every waking minute at Valley Ranch cramming. It helps that he ran a similar offense under Vikings coordinator Norv Turner in Minnesota.

“There’s a lot of carryover,” Cassel said. “Sometimes it’s about wiping your head and starting with a clean slate of all those old terminologies, because words carry over and also protections carry over, and at the same time, what you have to do is just kind of go in there and learn it all from square one and understand what they’re trying to get done.”

Cassel, 33, served as the No. 2 quarterback after being beaten out by Tyrod Taylor in Buffalo. He’ll begin his Cowboys’ career as Brandon Weeden’s backup, while starter Tony Romo recovers from a fractured left collarbone. The Cowboys likely will have Kellen Moore as Weeden’s backup this week as Cassel gets up to speed on the offense.

“I’m just coming in trying to learn a new playbook,” Cassel said. “There’s a lot to get done obviously. It was explained to me that Brandon is the starter, and I’m going to support him in any way I can, help the team in any capacity they want me to. At the same time, I’m going to try to learn the playbook and see how far I can move along and how quickly I can move along, so if an opportunity does come up, I’m ready to play.”

Cassel replaced Tom Brady in 2008 and went 10-5 with the Patriots as a starter. He’s now with his fifth team, and his favorite team.

“I’m excited about a new start obviously,” Cassel said. “It’s great to be wanted. It’s been a childhood dream of mine to be a Cowboy honestly. My father grew up in West Texas, in Lubbock, and I’ve got family here, and I grew up a Dallas Cowboy fan all my life. So to actually have it come true finally and actually be here is a dream come true, and I’m really excited about it.”

Cassel, who also has a son, Matthew Jr., said his wife is 36 weeks pregnant with their fourth child.

“She’s coming here. She’s going to have a Dallas baby, so she’s going to have a Texas baby,” Cassel said. “She’s excited about it. She’s a trooper.”


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