The Dallas Cowboys are one week into training camp in Oxnard, Calif. and are already scrambling to find bodies for the defensive line. One of their new bodies looks good in fourth-year veteran defensive end George Selvie.
At 6'4'' and 270 pounds, Selvie has the classic build of a true 4-3 defensive end.
What he does not have is a strong resume at the pro level.
He was a seventh-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2010, and Dallas becomes the fifth team that he has played for. This doesn't make Cowboys fans jump too high with expectations, but the devil is in the details.
Selvie had a modest rookie season with the Rams while playing in all 16 games and picking up 1.5 sacks—nothing to write home about but far from invisible. He also amassed 21 tackles during that freshman campaign.
The following year he was released by the Rams just prior to the start of the 2011 regular season, and this is where things started getting complicated.
He was picked up by Carolina the day after leaving the Rams and played in just four games with the Panthers before being released for the second time in just over a month.
His third team of 2011 became Jacksonville, and the defensive lineman remained with the Jaguars through what was left of the season and all of 2012.
Had Selvie finally found a home? Nope.
He was allowed to sign a free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last April, but hopefully he didn't spend anything on a new home. He was released just a month later.
It's tough, if not impossible, to make a name with such limited time spent with so many teams.
It's hard to figure his journeyman status given the fact he was so dominant in college. He became the first two-time first team All American in the history of the University of South Florida. He was also named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2007, his sophomore season in Tampa.
You might assume that Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants holds the USF record for career sacks, but you're wrong. Selvie holds that record with 29 sacks in four seasons with the Bulls, and he added 150 solo tackles and nine forced fumbles as well.
It's no wonder two of Selvie's pro teams to this point have been in the same state—one in the same city—that he played college football.
But his time and accomplishments at USF are ancient history. He's now just another hungry lion on the plains of the Serengeti National Park. His potential is worth looking into, and the Cowboys are doing exactly that.
Starting defensive end Anthony Spencer will line up opposite DeMarcus Ware once he's healthy. Spencer not only had his knee scoped just days ago, but he's also playing under what might be his final contract with Dallas—it will certainly be his last encounter with the franchise tag.
Second-year veteran Tyrone Crawford is done for the year following an Achilles tear a week ago in the first training camp practice.
These facts, accompanied by time itself, mean one thing for Selvie: opportunity.
Despite not having a job just a week ago, he has been staying in shape for the 2013 regular season while waiting for the phone to ring, which it did a week ago.
He offered the following comments to DallasCowboys.com staff writer David Helms following Saturday's afternoon's practice: "It was great to get that phone call – to get another opportunity to come out here and play NFL football. It felt great, and I was ready to go when they called me."
Does Selvie have something to prove?
Absolutely he does.
But a good indicator here is that he seems durable and is fully aware of the limited time and fragile circumstances he's facing to convince defensive line coach Rod Marinelli that he deserves a roster spot, with or without Spencer in the future. He told Helms:
It’s hard – it’s real hard, believe that. You’ve just got to go out there and run, work on the little things like your get offs and stuff like that – just try to get some work in. But it’s hard work when you don’t have nobody to tell you what to do or a legit schedule.
Selvie has taken it upon himself to gear up for the regular season despite not feeling needed. That's a raer trait than you might think amongst NFL football players.
The coming weeks—or perhaps days—will determine whether or not he can make the cut in Dallas. But I'm a firm believer that you can't have enough pass-rushers in the NFL, and the chance to become acquainted with Marinelli, one of the top defensive line coaches in the league, could mark a complete turning point in Selvie's still budding career.