When the Dallas Cowboys used their two first-round picks in the 2005 draft on linebacker DeMarcus Ware and defensive end Marcus Spears, they believed they were getting two stars who would define their defense for a decade.
They got it half right. Ware is perhaps the best defensive player in the game today, but Spears? Now seven years into an underwhelming career with the Cowboys, the best you can say about the man is he has staying power.
Spears is aware he hasn't been a huge difference-maker in Big D, but he's determined to put a rough 2011 season behind him.
"I haven't put up the gaudy sack numbers or (lived up to) the first-round hype that you get especially being drafted with DeMarcus Ware," he told The Dallas Morning News on Saturday night. "But I've been doing my job for a long time at a high level and hopefully can continue to do that on the side I'm used to."
Spears was moved from the left to the right side in 2011, a move he likened to a right-handed shooter in basketball being asked to shoot left-handed. Spears finished the season with 13 tackles and just one sack, a lack of production that prompted Dallas to flip him back to his original position this year.
"It's like I'm finally home," he said. "I feel comfortable and we all love to feel comfortable. Thank God I'm back over there at home."
It sounds like Marcus Spears really dislikes right defensive end. In any event, the Cowboys are surely aware by now that Spears won't be the impact guy they thought they were getting out of LSU, but it's obvious they have serious patience in him. It remains to be seen if Spears can reward that faith.