IRVING, TEXAS (AP) - Bryan McCann wasn’t invited to the NFL’s pre-draft combine and wasn’t drafted.
At the start of this month, he hadn’t played in an NFL game.
Good thing McCann remained confident. Because now the rookie cornerback has a nifty slice of NFL history, back-to-back NFC player of the week awards and is a big part of the Cowboys‘ recent surge under interim coach Jason Garrett.
McCann returned an interception 101 yards for a touchdown two weeks ago and followed it up by grabbing a swatted punt and returning it 97 yards for another touchdown this past weekend.
He’s the first rookie ever to have touchdowns of at least 97 yards in consecutive games. According to STATS LLC, he’s only the second player to do it since 1950, joining Tony Horne of the St. Louis Rams in 1999.
And then there’s this: McCann has been chosen NFC player of the week after the second and third games of his career. He got the defensive version last week and Tuesday received the honor for special teams.
“It’s definitely a cool feeling,” he said.
The only downside to McCann’s streak is that he’ll have to do something spectacular against the Saints on Thursday just to keep it going. He’ll need a kickoff or a fumble to continue the variety _ and it better be a long one.
“I can just go out and do 90-plus (and) my production is falling,” he said, laughing. “I’ve set a high bar.”
He’s already hearing about his 4-yard dip.
“People are like, ‘You couldn’t have done 102?’” he said.
McCann’s plays have been biggies in every sense.
The first turned a shaky lead into a solid one, the second put Dallas ahead for good. Together, they’ve helped the Cowboys go 2-0 under Garrett after being 1-7 under Wade Phillips. They’ve also underscored the message Garrett delivered to the club in his first address after taking over, that pedigree doesn’t guarantee playing time, only performance does.
“It’s what you see in practice and what you see in the games,” Garrett said. “It doesn’t matter where you got drafted, if you are a rookie free agent or what you were. If you are doing it, we are going to give you a chance to do it more. He has certainly been able to do that the last couple of weeks.”