By Steve Hunt
Special to the Journal
IRVING, Texas – On Oct. 11, Cameron Lawrence received the news every member of an NFL practice squad longs for – he was being called up to an active roster. The former Mississippi State linebacker caught on with Dallas in the spring as an undrafted free agent, but when he didn’t make the Cowboys’ 53-man roster to start the season, landed on the practice squad.
Two days after being added to the active roster, Lawrence made a real impact.
In a 31-16 win over Washington on Oct. 13, he threw a key block on a 90-yard punt return by Dwayne Harris for a touchdown. Later, he was fined $21,000 for his actions on the play, as it was later ruled a blindside block even though no flag was thrown on the field.
Fine or no fine, Lawrence was definitely glad to be contributing.
“I finally got my opportunity. I was just looking to do something to turn heads. Any way I could help the team win that’s what I was going to do,” he said. “My job was to perform on special teams and it just happened to be on that one long return to just lay that block that kind of sprung him. It’s a team effort. If you look at the tape, there were great blocks all over the place.”
Lawrence admits the day he was called up was such a whirlwind, learning of his promotion after practice and then being rushed in to sign the necessary paperwork, that he wasn’t able to call his family right away.
But once he was able to talk to his family, not only were they happy to hear he would be making his NFL debut just two days later, but they also made travel plans to be present at AT&T Stadium for his big day.
“Both my parents, my brother and his wife and my little nephew [all came]. I had just five people, and my girlfriend, she came too,” Lawrence said.
He made his first NFL tackle two weeks later, on a punt return by Detroit in what turned out to be a 31-30 loss for the Cowboys.
However, he knows that if he is to keep his spot with the Cowboys, he can never let up. “I’ve just got to keep doing what I’ve been doing, improve and build on what I’ve done so far,” Lawrence said.
Steve Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco, Texas.