IRVING, Texas – Brady Poppinga did not need long to get adjusted to being a member of the Cowboys’ defense.
“For me, one step,” said Poppinga, who signed Monday after the Cowboys placed Bruce Carter on injured reserve.
He wasn’t joking.
“Guys, I’ve been doing this since I was 5 years old,” Poppinga said. “Imagine doing something since you were 5 and getting back into it. It’s like riding a bike. That’s probably the best example I can give as to what it’s like to step on the football field after being out for 10 months.”
Poppinga worked out for Kansas City and was nearly signed by the Cowboys earlier in the month before they opted for Gary Guyton instead. Guyton was released before he could play in a game.
The Cowboys opted for Poppinga this time because of his experience. He spent his first six years in Green Bay and started 12 games for St. Louis last year. He developed a training program that he hopes kept him in proper game shape so as he won’t need a long time to get ready to play.
“I’ve been taught very well by my position coaches, by my strength and conditioning coaches, and from them I formulated a plan customized to how I like to feel,” Poppinga said. “So I call it Batman shape. Meaning when you get the call, boom, I put the mask on and I go. I’ve got the mask on, and here I am.”
The time away from the game was difficult.
“Gosh, you kidding me?” Poppinga said. “You won’t believe how many times I wanted to run through a door and blast something, but you’ve got to have patience and you’ve got to understand when you’re a regular civilian in this world you can’t break laws and break doors and you’ve got to hold your aggression inside of you.”