Darren McFadden signed with the Dallas Cowboys last offseason after an injury-plagued, seven-year run with the Oakland Raiders.
Most questioned the signing at the time, as McFadden had missed 29 games with 15 different injuries in his time with the Raiders. And the former Arkansas standout had produced only one 1,000-yard rushing season (2010).
But McFadden has changed that perception so far this season. He assumed the lead back role from the since-departed Joseph Randle in the Cowboys’ sixth game against the New York Giants, and has thrived ever since.
McFadden had only 129 rushing yards through the first five games, but is now only three yards shy of reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career.
“It’ll definitely mean a lot to me,” said McFadden, who receives a $300,000 bonus if he reaches the mark.
“Just some of the down years I’ve had, man, with injuries and things, having to deal with that … so it’ll definitely mean a lot to me being able to go out there and pick up 1,000 yards.”
Coach Jason Garrett said recently that the 1,000-yard mark is still significant for running backs. Thirteen reached the feat a year ago, and four have already accomplished it this year (Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Todd Gurley and Latavius Murray).
McFadden sits fifth among the league’s leading rushers with 997 yards, and has an outside chance of reaching his career-high of 1,157 yards set in 2010.
Even though the Cowboys have had a disappointing season by most accounts, McFadden can still take pride in playing a full 16-game season for the second time in his career and setting a career-high in carries (227 and counting).
“That’s always been a knock on me as far as being durable and injuries and things,” McFadden said. “I just feel like I showed a lot of people that I can go out there and stay healthy and still run at a high pace in this league.”
McFadden has proven to be one of the better offseason acquisitions for the Cowboys. The two sides reached an agreement last March on a two-year deal worth up to $5.85 million.