ARTICLE: Hurd becoming known as more than TO's protege

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by Gryphon, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Gryphon

    Gryphon Merge Ahead

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    August 9, 2006

    Associated Press

    OXNARD, Calif. -- Terrell Owens may be the best receiver in Dallas Cowboys training camp. Yet the guy making the best catches and biggest impression is his protege, Sam Hurd.

    An undrafted rookie who wasn't even invited to the scouting combine, Hurd's combination of size, skill and smarts have made him the biggest surprise of camp.

    Hurd first gained attention for buddying up to T.O., getting him to stay late after practice for one-on-one tutorials. The way he's played ever since is the focus now.

    Check out these rave reviews:

    -- Quarterback Drew Bledsoe: "The guy has been impressive. He's going up and catching the ball, coming up with big plays. We've asked him to play three positions and he played all three in the scrimmage without making any mistakes. That's pretty rare for a rookie."

    -- Running back Julius Jones: "Sam Hurd is out there making plays. The way he's playing right now, (defenses) would have to respect him."

    -- Third receiver Patrick Crayton, who made the team three years ago as a seventh-round pick: "He is really taking care of his business a whole lot. I think he's already overcome a lot of those odds."

    -- And the critic Hurd most needs to win over, coach Bill Parcells: "He is young. He is inexperienced. But he is in very good physical condition. He has a lot of stamina. He's extremely bright. He knows more than one position already. I think he will be in contention for a roster spot based on what I have seen so far."

    When Owens and fellow starting receiver Terry Glenn sat out Monday with injuries, Hurd worked with the first team in both practices. He fit in, too, stretching his 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame as far left as possible to snatch a wayward pass from Bledsoe. He got more work with the first team Tuesday and Wednesday, even after Glenn returned.

    "You can't help but notice some things he is doing," Parcells said.

    Hurd caught five passes in a scrimmage Saturday, two going for more than 20 yards. That included an over-the-shoulder grab, one of the exact plays Owens has been teaching him how to make.

    "Usually, I would've ran and my hands would've been flaring out, going wide," Hurd said. "But every day we work on keeping my hands together."

    Parcells monitors that daily, along with some other bad habits that need to be broken.

    "He's a work in progress," Parcells said. "He really does try to do well every day. You have hope for guys like that."

    Poor technique can drop a guy a few spots in the draft, maybe even a few rounds. But this guy wasn't even among the 32 receivers taken.

    Parcells said when scouts saw Hurd at Northern Illinois they wondered about his speed. Other knocks could've been that his numbers as a senior were better than his career totals to that point, and that he was pretty much shut down in four games, including by his toughest foe, Michigan.

    Overall, though, his senior year was darn good: 65 catches for 1,074 yards and 13 touchdowns. Highlight performances included 12 catches, 266 yards and three TDs against Central Michigan; 14 catches and three TDs against Akron; and 223 yards against Miami (Ohio).

    Several teams teased Hurd late in the draft. Then Dallas called when the draft was nearly done and invited the San Antonio native to training camp. He happily accepted.

    "It just felt good to go back home," he said.

    Hurd met Owens during one of his first workouts at team headquarters. The youngster initially feared that an established star wouldn't bother with a rookie. Owens spoke to him first, even challenging Hurd to "come after me."

    "After that, every day he's been trying to help me get better," Hurd said. "He tells me not to just let him start, to make him compete every day. That'll make him better, too."

    They spend about 30 minutes together after every practice. They're always working on specific types of catches, with Owens offering advice and tricks of the trade, such as how to use his long stride to sneak past a defensive back. Hurd also has begun following Owens' diet, laughing about how much salad he eats.

    "He's going to be a great player," Owens said. "You can't say enough about his hands."

    Whether Hurd becomes nothing more than a great camp story (like Beau Morgan) or a great NFL player (Drew Pearson) remains to be seen.

    The Cowboys like what they've seen so far.

    "Sometimes," Parcells said, "you can see something in someone and parlay that into a pretty good acquisition."
  2. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    Media frenzy by proxy?


    Glad to hear Hurd is doing well.
  3. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    This kid has a chance to stick. I mean, if Randal Williams can last as long as he did.......
  4. Da Hammer

    Da Hammer The Natural

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    good to see Hurd doing very well and showed to be very smart by quickly becoming friends with T.O.
  5. FLcowboy

    FLcowboy 2016 was a gift, 2017 is a mission Zone Supporter

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    Boy, there is a lack of controversey this year, so the media has to go nuts over an undrafted rookie.
  6. CaptainAmerica

    CaptainAmerica Active Member

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    "After that, every day he's been trying to help me get better," Hurd said. "He tells me not to just let him start, to make him compete every day. That'll make him better, too."

    I know Parcells wants T.O. out on the practice field, but he can't help but be pleased with a comment like that from T.O. based on what he previously said about not having a problem with a guy if he responds to competition.
  7. Big D

    Big D Well-Known Member

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    I think we've found our new 88!
  8. diamond cutter

    diamond cutter Member

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    It is hard not to get too caught up in this story. I like how Parcells refuses to hype someone up and kind of undersells what is happening with this kid. What really gets me excited is to see the comments by guys like vets like Bledsoe and Owens. That really gets me pumped.
  9. ddh33

    ddh33 Active Member

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    In all honesty, it sounds like Hurd is actually your #4 receiver on this team. Of course, he needs to be able to show something on special teams to actually keep that spot when the season starts. All of these things are awfully encouraging though.
  10. JackMagist

    JackMagist The Great Communicator

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    I read where BP is starting to work Hurd at Gunner as well. It sounds like he is trying to find a spot for this kid which is a good sign.
  11. parchy

    parchy Active Member

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    It's interesting that AP jumped on Hurd's bandwagon. That is pretty high praise.

    REDVOLUTION Return to Dominance

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    I think(based on T.O.'s book) that TO is training/reprogramming HURD to be great...

    I dont believe TO was destined to be great... he created his greatness. He may just be passing that along to Hurd.

    Good thing for us... if he gets that good.

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