FRISCO, Texas — Darren McFadden’s time with the Dallas Cowboys has come to an end, but the veteran running back has no plans to walk away from the game.
McFadden and the Cowboys mutually agreed to part ways, coach Jason Garrett announced Sunday. If McFadden clears waivers, he’ll be free to sign with any team. McFadden was in the final year of his contract with the Cowboys.
McFadden thanked the Cowboys organization in a post to his Twitter account, writing: “Just want to say Thank You to the [at]dallascowboys. I grew up a Cowboys fan and it was awesome to wear the Star on my helmet. I wish my boys good luck.”
Garrett expressed similar appreciation for McFadden’s time with the Cowboys.
“Darren has been a really good player for us and has been just a first-class guy on our football team,” Garrett said. “Just the way the running back rotation has been and is probably going to be as we go forward, he wasn’t going to get many opportunities.
“We just felt it was in the best interests of our team, and really the best interests of Darren McFadden as well to release him and give him another opportunity to go somewhere else.”
McFadden, the 2008 fourth overall pick out of Arkansas, is in his 10th season and has become largely an afterthought for the Cowboys’ running game. The thought going into the season had been that McFadden would serve as Ezekiel Elliott’s primary backup, and possibly gain a starting role when Elliott’s six-game suspension kicked in.
But McFadden has been passed on the depth chart by Alfred Morris and Rod Smith, and has been active in only one of the Cowboys’ 11 games this season.
In McFadden’s lone active game, earlier this month at Atlanta, he received one carry and lost 2 yards on it.
McFadden, 30, became a surprising inactive decision two weeks ago before the Philadelphia game, and expressed frustration about it afterward. He was inactive again on Thanksgiving when the Cowboys lost to the Los Angeles Chargers.
McFadden said he’s 100 percent healthy and feels as though he hasn’t lost a step. The Cowboys coaching staff and front office have also raved about his burst, but that never materialized on game day.
McFadden led the Cowboys in rushing two years ago when he overtook the primary role from Joseph Randle. In that 2015 season, McFadden finished with the fourth-most rushing yards (1,089) in the league.
Last season became a lost year for McFadden as he missed 13 games coming off elbow surgery, and this has essentially became a second lost season by being inactive 10 of the 11 games.
“It’s very frustrating,” McFadden said of his role earlier this month. “But, at the end of the day, they make their decisions. I can’t do nothing but roll with them.”
As stated, McFadden has no plans to retire and is looking to find a team that will utilize his abilities better.