April 28 (UPI) — Cole Beasley says he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a locker room without Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
But he’s about to find out.
The six-year NFL veteran joined the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Methodist. Though he was not at the 2012 NFL Draft in New York City, he was in attendance for the big event this week at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
In Arlington, he took on teammate Dak Prescott in a nacho-making-and-building contest at the Tostitos Cantina.
Prescott will be looked to as a beacon of leadership on this new-look Cowboys team. But Beasley says the third-year quarterback has always been that for the NFC East squad.
“I’ve been asked this question a lot and I’ll say the same thing because it hasn’t changed,” Beasley told UPI. “He has been the same guy from day one. When Tony Romo was out with injuries in camp his rookie year, Dak got some chances to come with the ones in two-minute drills. When he came in he was full of confidence. He took command of the huddle and just looked like he was meant to be there. That’s just who he is and that’s him. He hasn’t changed one bit since he got there. He’s the same guy he was when he came in.”
“He’s a natural born leader and I’m just happy to play with him.”
It was obvious who the Cowboys’ leaders were in the past. Bryant could be seen on the sidelines on a weekly basis, demanding the ball and letting the emotions of the game stack on his shoulders like anvils. Witten had a stoic approach on the field, but was always there and always producing.
And Beasley assumed he would be there again in 2018. After all, the veteran tight end hasn’t missed a start since the 2006 season. He holds Cowboys franchise records for consecutive games played, starts and consecutive starts. He has spent his entire 15-year career with a star on his helmet.
But on Friday, reports surfaced that the 11-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection was swapping his football pants for slacks and joining the Monday Night Football broadcast crew for ESPN.
“I really don’t know much about it,” Beasley said. “It’s a huge surprise to me. I was just at work with him yesterday [Thursday] and he was working as hard as ever and going at it like he always does. Really, I had no idea this was coming or if even if it’s 100 percent or what. I’m just as surprised by it as you guys.”
Witten was already in his tenth NFL season, while Bryant was in his third year, when Beasley joined the Cowboys. Dallas released Bryant on April 13.
Beasley says he still talks to Bryant regularly and the two have a “great relationship. Bryant said the move was “personal” for him after he was released. Beasley says his teammate was “misunderstood” and that he will definitely be missed.
“It’s going to look way different,” Beasley said. “Just the locker room is going to feel way different. They are two huge personalities. So much passion and enthusiasm coming from those guys. We have some other guys who are similar with those kinda things that they bring to the table, but it will definitely be different just because they’ve been there every year that I’ve been in the NFL, so I don’t really know a locker room without a Jason Witten or a Dez Bryant. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see and you know, we’ll see.”
Beasley is entering the final year of his contact with the Cowboys, but he is gaining notoriety by the second for his other job as a rapper. The 29-year-old is working on a full album, slated for a May 12 release.
He said his songs are fun and relatable.
“A lot of it is very personal, very socially conscious,” Beasley said. “I think people will enjoy it and respect it for that.”
Beasley’s teammates love his music and promote it regularly, including his latest single Shock Value, which was released on Wednesday.
The new beat features the verse: “I don’t clock out, I’m locked in. So really man, so really man, how could I not win?”
Dallas ended the 2017 season with a win against the Philadelphia Eagles, but had to watch their division rivals triumph in February’s Super Bowl. Though Beasley didn’t watch the whole game, he did catch the final minutes.
“I’m the type of guy where if I’m not there, I’m not really interested in it,” he said. “Even the past couple years I haven’t really watched the Super Bowl.”
“I was already looking forward to the next one.”