Mac Engel

Dallas Cowboys rookie defender did not know what being inactive means. He knows now.

Trysten Hill did not see it coming, because he did not even know the term existed.

The Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive tackle from Central Florida was unaware that there existed a possibility he would not at least suit up for the season opener against the New York Giants.

He said he was told of the Cowboys decision to make him inactive for the opener on Sunday, the day of the game, hours before kickoff. That’s a fairly standard procedure for the inactive players.

“I didn’t even know that this existed, that you only dress 46 and not all 53,” Hill said. “I didn’t even know what being ‘inactive’ was.”

Safe to say he knows now.

Hill said he never missed a game before in his life because of something like this.

“I think me getting in and learning how the NFL works has been the hardest part,” he said of his rookie season.

The deepest part of the Cowboys roster is defensive line. He and former first round pick Taco Charlton were both inactive for the opener.

And this is a depth chart that does not have Robert Quinn or Randy Gregory, both of whom are still suspended by the NFL for failing drug tests. Quinn’s suspension ends after Week 2.

Hill, a second round pick from Central Florida who physically looks the part, has simply struggled in training camp and preseason games. He was not a guy people noticed, and now is down the line on the depth chart.

“I want to be on the field. I just have to continue to work and train,” he said. “I think mentally that is the hardest part. Just staying right between the ears. Continue to put in hours and hopefully catch somebody’s eyes and do something that jumps off the tape to earn the chance to play on Sundays.”

At least this Sunday when the Cowboys play the Redskins he will know what inactive means.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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