OXNARD, Calif. -- Tyler Patmon showed up here last summer with an outside shot to make the roster. He's been fighting, one way or another, ever since.
He eventually made the Cowboys and played productive snaps as a nickel corner, highlighted by a pick six of Carson Palmer in Week 9. Now, though, he's far more famous for a skirmish with Dez Bryant during Saturday's practice, a video of which has run on repeat on the nation's highlight shows. On Tuesday, one reporter took five minutes to quiz Patmon on boxing history and complimented him on his left hook.
"It's just one story, man," Patmon said after the boxing discussion. "You put it on national TV and people that have never really followed the Cowboys or never heard of me, that's all they see. But these coaches know who I am and they know that I'm out here to make a name for myself."
The fight with Bryant may be just one story, but here in Oxnard the Cowboys think it fits in well with the way Patmon has approached his NFL journey. Coming out of Oklahoma State, he didn't run well at the combine or show enough size to league general managers. After he went undrafted, his chance came at Dallas' rookie minicamp in May 2014, where he had four practices to earn a training camp invite. He did.
"Patmon's a great story for our team. He came to the rookie minicamp as an undrafted, unsigned, tryout guy," head coach Jason Garrett said on Tuesday. "He's a competitor, he's a fighter, he's an instinctive player, he loves to play the game, and I think he's gotten better and better."
In one-on-one drills Tuesday, Bryant and Patmon matched up again. Patmon's coverage was tight, but Bryant came back to the ball and smothered it with one-arm. Patmon applauded, and the two acknowledged each other. Patmon spent much of the rest of Tuesday with the second unit, but is a solid bet to hold onto his spot in the team's nickel package, at the least.
For now, Patmon -- true to the UDFA mentality -- is focused on keeping his roster spot. He's seen his status rise to fan-favorite here in Oxnard, but he's still the same player who fought his way onto the team last season.
"He's a scrappy guy, but I knew that from last year," said CB Brandon Carr. "As you saw the other day, he's always ready for anything and doesn't back down. That's what it takes to be successful (at cornerback) in this NFL."