The NFL is the one sports league in which players typically don’t have to worry about midseason trades. They are few and far between compared to the NBA and MLB.
But it just so happened that Matt Cassel found himself on the trading block in his 11th year in the league, being shipped from Buffalo to the Cowboys last week.
It’s a welcomed new opportunity for Cassel, although it didn’t come at the most opportune time. He and his wife, Lauren, have three young children and are expecting their fourth soon.
So it’s been a whirlwind transition for the Cassel family, relocating and trying to settle into Dallas—Fort Worth.
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“We’re in a hotel [right now],” Cassel said. “Got kids sleeping on air mattresses … it’s one big, cozy family right now.”
Cassel, 33, was somewhat blindsided by the trade to the Cowboys. Buffalo brass didn’t consult him about it, instead pulling the trigger once they were satisfied with Dallas’ offer.
But Cassel is making the most of his new opportunity with the Cowboys. He is learning the playbook as quickly as possible, and trying to become another option for the Cowboys at quarterback.
“I think I’m starting to put it all together,” Cassel said. “It just takes time and repetition and staying long hours and studying. That’s part of what we do and part of being a professional. You’ve got to go out and do it.”
Cassel joked that he has his three children stand in different formations in the cramped hotel room to help him learn the offense.
“My two-year-old wants to come tackle me, so that’s helpful,” Cassel said, smiling.
Cassel is taking it day-to-day for now, and doesn’t know whether he’ll be active for this Sunday’s game in New Orleans. He was inactive for last week’s game against Atlanta.
He isn’t thinking too much about supplanting Brandon Weeden for the starting job, either, although he is preparing as though he’ll play.
“As a player you always have to come with the mindset that you have to be ready to play at any given time,” Cassel said. “Whether or not that opportunity comes, you don’t know. That’s a coach’s decision. At the same time, for me, as a competitor, you have to get yourself ready to play.”