The 25-year-old receiver signed a one-year contract to play for the Cowboys on Monday, making something the Texan native fancied many times while growing up less than three hours from Dallas.
“It’s like a little town kid’s dream, to play for the Dallas Cowboys,” Washington told the team’s website. “I live it, for sure.”
He’s a cowboy now, but the four-year veteran wore a black hat for the early part of his career as a 2018 second-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The rookie had to contend with Antonio Brown and JoJo Smith-Schuster for goals. He had his best statistical year in 2019, with 44 receptions and 735 yards. But by 2020, Deontay Johnson and Chase Claypool are in the mix. Last season, Washington had just two games in 16 games (including post-season), scoring just 26, 322 yards, and three points.
As in Pittsburgh, the Dallas offense has many mouths to eat, backs, tight ends, and with a quarterback who likes to spread it. Washington may once again find itself fighting for looks, but perhaps in a few new ways.
“I actually spoke with Coach McCarthy,” he revealed. “We’re going to play everywhere, and we’re going to do whatever I need to to help this team take to the field and get to the finish zone.”
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And he will do this in a comfortable place near the house.
He played several matches for the high school championship at AT&T Stadium and admits that wearing the star there made his say.
“It was definitely my dream, especially since the first time we played there,” Washington said. “I was like, ‘Man, I can get used to this. ”
But Washington was a Cowboy even before he made it to the NFL, playing college ball at Oklahoma State, earning American honors and the Fred Pletnikov Award as a senior. And another college cowboy, turned pro-cowboy, was the first to predict his coming to Dallas in a Twitter post last week.
James Washington to the Dallas Cowboys know you heard him first here….
DesBryant March 15, 2022
“He was definitely a big brother from afar,” Washington said of Des Bryant. “I remember, back in Oklahoma, I was watching all of his movies, just trying to take parts of his game and add them to mine. I definitely want to shout out to him to go bat for me and help me get that chance.”
Incidentally, Washington has quite a bit of history with the man who took Bryant’s No. 88 jersey in Dallas.
Washington and Lamb met on the field once in college, in 2017. Washington, a senior, shone that day, hitting seven balls for 128 yards and dropping to three Lamb balls and 51 yards. But soon it was the real rookies who beat the Washington Cowboys in a Bedlam game that lived up to their title, with a 62-52 final.
Now the two are wearing the same outfit. Lamb is the undisputed leader of the Dallas WR Chamber, and Washington will look to help fill the void left by the departures of Amary Cooper and Cedric Wilson. And with Michael Gallop rehabilitating his torn ACL, Washington may get additional opportunities early on alongside his former collegiate rival.
The free agent explained, “The mindset I came into this is just working, earning my spot.” “I don’t want to go in and take anything. I want to earn it and earn the respect of these guys here and do whatever I can to help this team win.”
That might sound odd from someone who identifies more with fans by wearing the black and yellow of the hated Steelers. After all, even his native Stamford, Texas turned into a terrible towel-waving squad when their hometown champion was drafted by Pittsburgh.
But Washington promises that the fulfillment of his childhood dream has brought them back into the Team America fold.
“I guarantee you, they are all back to cowboys now.”