ARLINGTON, Texas -- Falling to the fifth round fueled Orlando Scandrick for the first few years of his NFL career.
The draft disrespect angered and motivated him. He played like a man who had something to prove.
Scandrick can’t play the disrespect card anymore. Not after cashing in with a five-year, $27 million contract extension. He’s never been a full-time starter, but the Cowboys have enough confidence in the 24-year-old cornerback to pay him like one.
Can Scandrick maintain his edge as a rich man?
“The chip’s still on my shoulder,” Scandrick said, the smile disappearing from his face for a moment. “I’ve got a lot to prove. The contract means nothing. Now I’ve got to come out and prove that I’m worth it.”
Here’s a comforting thought for Cowboys fans: That sounds a lot like Jay Ratliff a few years ago. The five-year, $20.5 million deal Ratliff signed during his first season as a starter raised eyebrows at the time, but it ended up being a bargain for the Cowboys.
Scandrick understands that the expectations increase as his money multiplies. That excites him.
Scandrick has consistently performed well throughout training camp, instilling belief in the coaching staff that he’s capable of starting. But he had his best practice Wednesday, blocking a field goal, picking off a deep ball and breaking up several passes.
That performance occurred as the ink was drying on Scandrick’s new deal. It also came right after secondary coach Dave Campo reminded Scandrick of how much mentality means to his game.
“All I can tell you is that I just said to him, ‘Hey, you can’t lose your edge,’ ” Campo said. “Because there’s a fine line between the penthouse and you know the other spot. He has to continue with that chip on his shoulder because this guy is not a 6-foot, 205-pound corner that runs 4.3. He can run, [but] he’s not a real big guy. He’s got to keep the edge.”
Scandrick is smart enough to know that and competitive enough to do it. The Cowboys are counting on it.