IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox took over the starting job at free safety from veteran Will Allen, eventually forcing Allen's release. But after five consecutive starts, Wilcox suffered a sprained knee in practice and was replaced by rookie Jeff Heath.
But when Wilcox recovered, he didn't get his old job back. That remained with Heath, who has played well the last three weeks.
"He was available when I wasn’t, so that’s how I look at it," Wilcox said. "Like the coaches say, and I say, you have to be ready when your number is called. I'm just playing my role the that I can and to make plays when I can."
Heath is playing well and is making some forget about his struggles in the passing and run games against Detroit and Minnesota. In the last three weeks, Heath has 21 total tackles, a tackle for loss, fumble recovery and a pass breakup. In the last two weeks of his return, Wilcox has just three total tackles out of 51 defensive snaps in a backup role.
Wilcox doesn't appear irked that he's coming off the bench and said it's not in his "character" to complain to the coaches about not starting.
"I don’t want to disrespect nobody," Wilcox said. "I just want to be humble and be ready when my time is called. Heath is doing a great job in there and so far they’re rotating us in, and I guess (it's) let the best man win."