As Ben DiNucci prepares to be the first rookie quarterback to start for the Dallas Cowboys since 2016, the last rookie signal-caller to start under center for America's Team reached out with some advice.
DiNucci said Dak Prescott, who is sidelined for the season after he suffered a compound fracture and dislocation in his right ankle, spoke with him during practice Wednesday (h/t Todd Archer of ESPN):
"Kind of just walked up to him and said, 'Hey this isn't what you said my rookie year was going to be like.' He laughed and gave me a hug and just said, 'We've talked about this. Go out there and do you. Take completions. Trust the guys around you. You'll be great. Don't overthink it. Football's football.' It's a game I've been playing since seventh grade. Not going to try to make it any more than it is. Going to have fun with it, bring a lot of energy, bring a lot of confidence and let my play speak for itself."
DiNucci, 23, was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round out of James Madison this spring. He departed James Madison tied for third in school history in completions (479) and fourth in passing yards (5,716) and passing touchdowns (45).
The team has not announced him as the starter for Sunday's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, but quarterback Andy Dalton, who has filled in for Prescott, remains in concussion protocol following an illegal hit to the head he endured in Sunday's 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team.
When Dalton left in the third quarter against Washington, DiNucci took over and completed two of three passes for 39 yards, but he was sacked three times. Even under the circumstances, DiNucci is looking forward to the opportunity should the Cowboys start their third different quarterback in a single season for the first time since 2015.
"For me, this is an opportunity of a lifetime," Dinucci said. "... I've got a chance to go out there on Sunday Night Football and do what I love to do. I couldn't be happier or more excited."