Tashard Choice chooses to be a good teammate who doesn’t rant about role. That doesn’t mean he’s satisfied to be the third wheel in the Cowboys’ running back rotation.
But Choice understands that, for the time being, his job is to serve as insurance while playing bit roles as the third-down back and Razorback trigger man. He gets that splitting carries three ways would make it difficult for any of the running backs to get in a rhythm, but that doesn’t make standing on the sideline any easier.
“It sucks,” Choice said on ESPN 103.3’s The Ben & Skin Show this week, “but you have to try and understand the big picture.”
The big picture for Choice is that he has a chance to contribute in a limited role for a contender right now, and he believes he’ll eventually get a chance to carry a much larger share of the load. He just doesn’t know whether that will happen with the Cowboys or another team.
“I know I'm not going to be in this position much longer,” said Choice, who consistently raves about Barber and Jones. “All I can do is continue to work.”
Choice has two years remaining on his rookie contract. The Cowboys should have control of him as a restricted free agent for at least one more season, depending on how the collective bargaining agreement negotiations shake out.
My hunch is that the Cowboys will opt to go with Choice and Jones next season, cutting Barber in a cost-cutting move since all the guaranteed money in his contract will have been paid. If Barber gets banged up and struggles again, it wouldn’t surprise me if that transition happened down the stretch in 2010.
Choice’s chance is coming. In the meantime, he’s being as patient and productive as possible.