Mac Engel

Cowboys’ Cole Beasley stands tall after brief sabbatical

Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley,  scoring a touchdown against the Giants, is having plenty of fun playing the game he contemplated quitting.
Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley, scoring a touchdown against the Giants, is having plenty of fun playing the game he contemplated quitting. Star-Telegram

Cole Beasley embodies all of the little-guy clichés we love to apply to anyone under 6-feet tall. Scrappy. Rugged. Tough. All heart. Watching Cole Beasley, it is impossible to fathom that not too long ago this tough little guy who is all heart was a quitter.

In early August 2012, Beasley was an undrafted rookie free agent from SMU who looked like he was a decent bet to make the Cowboys’ roster. Then he quit. At the time, there were reports that his “heart was not in football right now.”

Looking back on the brief football sabbatical that saw him return to the team in training camp that season, he told me: “I wasn’t sure I was going to play for a little bit early in my career. I stuck with it. It’s been great. I would have definitely regretted it had I not come back.”

Guys and girls quit sports all the time for various reasons at different levels, and seldom have I met the jock who didn’t regret the decision to leave even if he had a remote interest in the game. It’s one thing to be tired of ball, it is quite another to be done with ball.

Beasley is a role model for anyone involved in youth, or college, sports right now who is flirting with the idea of quitting: Don’t, or if you do, just be sure. Once you quit, chances are good that’s it. You are never playing organized sports again at that level, and it will never matter as much as it does right now.

When Beasley quit, both he and the Cowboys were not sure if he meant it. He didn’t.

Having established himself as a slot receiver in his third season with the team, Beasley can’t imagine what his life would be like had he stuck with his decision to quit.

“No. I have no idea what I would have been doing, but I like what I am doing right now,” he said. “I am glad I stuck with it.”

Think about what he would have missed:

By sticking with it, not only has Beasley earned a solid six-figure income for three straight years, but he also has become a part of the Cowboys’ receiving rotation with his own cute nickname, he is a star on Twitter and was mentioned by Jimmy Fallon on Late Night.

Even if you don’t do the Twitter thing, @Bease11 is one of the most brilliant tweeters of any Cowboy, or NFL, player. Much of what he tweets is not fit for a family newspaper.

According to his Twitter feed, he is actually the love child of Chuck Norris and Farrah Fawcett, which, by Beasley’s looks, is plausible.

In cyberspace, Beasley is just about as fearless as he is on the field. He will confront anyone who hides behind the anonymity and safety of the Internet to bash him. Again, a lot of what he writes is not printable, but is highly entertaining.

After he fumbled near the goal line against the Eagles on Thanksgiving, he was ripped by tweeters, to which he wrote: “Thank you to all of my haters out there. Without you I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. That’s all.”

He said of tweeting: “It’s fun to interact with everybody, even when it’s bad. I like to try to make people that come at me and make me feel bad to make them feel bad.”

If he had quit, his fun time on social media would be limited to the rest of the lame stuff we all post — pictures of our pets, our kids, my blog posts, memes or inspirational sayings about losing the final five pounds.

On a recent episode of Late Night, Fallon flashed Beasley’s bio photo, which features a long-haired and bearded look, and said: “Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley. He was Most Likely to be Driven to the Game by Fred, Daphne, Velma and Scooby-Doo.

During the Cowboys game in Chicago on Dec. 4, defensive end Jeremy Mincey was mic’d up. As Beasley scored one of his two touchdowns, Mincey screamed: “The leprechaun! The leprechaun got a pot of gold!”

If Beasley had quit, he never scores those touchdowns, and never acquires a nickname from his teammates. If he had quit, he would never have caught the 79 passes for 788 yards with five touchdowns in his career.

The NFL is a cutthroat world where players are routinely released, and teammates will stop at little to take another person’s job. That Beasley has made it three seasons is a testament to something beyond talent or ability. He has to care.

No wide receiver that stands 5-foot-8, 175 pounds has anything other than major sports courage, and in three seasons he has accomplished as much, if not more, than most players who are bigger, faster, stronger and were actually drafted.

So, if you are contemplating quitting baseball, basketball, softball, football, track, soccer, tennis, etc., think about Cole Beasley.

You might miss it, and miss out, on more than you could ever possibly imagine.

Follow Mac Engel on The Big Mac Blog at star-telegram.com/sports/.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7697

Twitter: @macengelprof

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