“HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!”
Those were the words Tony Pollard used to close his brief statements after a May 3 meet and greet at Pollard’s BBQ, his familys’ restaurant in Whitehaven. Pollard was selected in the fourth round by the Dallas Cowboys.
Pollard entered the NFL draft after his junior red-shirt year. A product of Melrose High School and a standout at the University of Memphis, Pollard was widely renowned for being one the most dangerous kickoff returns in the nation. Pollard had seven touchdowns on kickoff returns, tied for the most in NCAA history.
The meet and greet, which was organized on very short notice, did not prevent the overflow crowd from showing up to lend their support and congratulations for Pollard. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland was three to give a proclamation.
“I really never dreamed of it,” Pollard said of the proclamation. “It just shows the city has been behind me since I came from Melrose to Memphis and now to the Cowboys they are still behind me even more.”
Harold Collins from the Shelby County Mayor’s office also attended. Pollard also received proclamations from the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission.
Hazel Moore, “The Mayor of Whitehaven,” hosted the event and allowed everyone who wanted to show their appreciation for Pollard to say a few words. Everyone from former teammates, coaches, fans from the University of Memphis and the Dallas Cowboys expressed their admiration for the success of Pollard.
Pollard has taken all of the expectations in stride and has not changed as a person. He continues to like the tweets of what former and current teammates may have posted. He has not developed an enlarged ego for his past accomplishments. He’s still that same humble player that does any task that the coaching staff has asked him to do.
Pollard rushed for 552 yards and scored six rushing touchdowns. Pollard caught 39 passes for 458 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns. Pollard had 667 returns yards and scored one kickoff return for 97 yards and a touchdown. Most teams refused to kick the football in Pollard direction this season.
Pollard travels to Dallas next week for rookie camp, his first official interaction with his new team. Pollard is expected to be used in various situations during the season. Pollard will get the opportunity to play multiple positions and increase the chances for him making the opening day roster. But has any of it sunk in yet?
“It has definitely sunk in, after the phone call that is when it really hit me,” Pollard said. “All of this is just icing on the cake. I did not think I would get a turnout like this. This is crazy.”
Pollard will get his first game experience when the Cowboys travels to Oxnard, CA where the Cowboys open up training camp in late July. The Cowboys will open up preseason on Saturday Aug. 1 against the San Francisco 49ers and then play the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday August 17 before returning to Dallas to play the Houston Texans on Saturday August 24.