FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys lost one of their camp standouts for the year before the season even began as rookie linebacker DeMarvion Overshown tore his left ACL in the team's Week 2 preseason matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. He had an MRI Sunday to confirm the diagnosis. At first, he didn't believe his injury was anything serious despite being carted off the field.
"I walked off, they didn't want me to jog," Overshown said Tuesday night after the Cowboys' first training camp practice back at their team headquarters in Frisco, Texas. "I thought I was getting a free ride back to the locker room. I thought I was going to be able come back out there, jog and have one of those moments, but I didn't get the news I wanted. God had other plans. But like I said I'm blessed to be here. I'm still going to be around as much as I would if I was going to be playing on the field."
He also plans to be just as much of a leader for the Silver and Blue in 2023 despite not being able to suit up for the squad this season.
"I'm going to bring that same energy that I was bringing to the sideline and keep it throughout the locker room," Overshown said. "Now I have a different role on the team, that's bringing the juice. I'm going to do that. Training camp went well, but now I get to look at it as something I can build off of now. I have this time to take care of my body, get right, and really learn the game. I definitely went out there and got done what I wanted to do. "There's still a lot more that I'm capable of, and I can't wait to show you guys."
Dallas Cowboys COO and EVP Stephen Jones co-signed the third-round rookie's leadership acumen, going as far as to declare Overshown the team's top rookie entering the 2023 season.
"Overshown was leading our rookie class in terms of draft picks, and it [his season-ending torn ACL] is just difficult to see guys like that who you know are going to be significant on the field in terms of their contributions this year," Jones said Tuesday. "First of all, you feel for the players. They're top-notch young men. That's why they are successful. But the great news is they have a bright future, and you know, if you're going to have something happen, early is the best time to have it because they'll get through this rehab and have a full offseason to go. The future is bright as as far as we're concerned."
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was just as devastated for Overshown, but he's already thought of a solution: connect his rookie linebacker with Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin. The Cowboys legend tore his ACL as well in 1989, his second NFL season. He also had to miss the opening four games of the 1990 season, but his recovery from that injury in the 90s was seen as a miracle as Irvin went on to help power Dallas to three Super Bowl titles from 1992 to 1995. Jones believes Overshown possesses an Irvin-like quality -- his heart.
"[It hurts] very much," Jones said Tuesday. "I visited with him, wasn't that long, yesterday and we're going have him reach out to Michael Irvin. Michael Irvin and Overshown have something in common, and that's heart and competitiveness inside of him. Boy, has he shown that in the time he's been with us since the draft. I don't know that we've had a draft pick show any better and have the promise of extending that into the season in his first year [like Overshown did]. I told him [Overshown] I want to get him with Michael. Michael broke everybody's mentality of what it was like when you have a serious injury, a knee injury. And he did that. And Michael will tell you that his rehabilitation is what made his career have the level of success that he had because it scared him that he wouldn't get to have football, and it scary when he got to look around what life would be without it in his case, and it motivated him. So those guys with those kinds of hearts, and when they get motivated to look out because they can be take a setback and can make it into a positive. I hope he can do that. He's got a bright future with the Dallas Cowboys."
The rookie confirmed Jones told told him he would set up a conversation between him and Irvin about going through the rehabilitation process for a knee injury.
"That helped the rest of his career, that moment happening now [to me]," Overshown said. "I definitely look at that as inspiration."
Overshown, selected in the third round with the 90th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, was injured in the first quarter while making a tackle on Seahawks rookie running back Zach Charbonnet. He laid on the ground grabbing at his left knee for a time, but eventually got up and walked off the field. However, he was then transported via cart to the locker room. Shortly afterward, the Cowboys ruled out Overshown for the rest of the night with a knee injury.
This is a tough blow for the Cowboys, as Overshown has impressed through training camp. There isn't as much depth at their inside linebacker position behind Leighton Vander Esch and Damone Clark. Jabril Cox, a Dallas fourth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, and journeyman Malik Jefferson are likely next in line to fill in for the loss of Overshown. Safeties Donovan Wilson, Jayron Kearse, and Malik Hooker have all moonlighted in linebacker spots in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's defense.
"The other great news is as I do think think is it's the deepest team we've had in years, and this is going to be the hardest 53 cutdown that we've had in years and years," Jones said. "Dan [Quinn] has a good plan for how he's going to handle losing Overshown. You know, we have safeties who can play linebacker, that's the way Dan designs his defense. You got a guy like [undrafted safety] Juanyeh [Thomas] out there, playing really well playing at a high level in both preseason games and practices and has certainly made his way into the picture to add more depth at safety. Then, we have some safeties who can do a lot of things that Overshown can do."
Quinn has tapped second-year, undrafted safety Markquese Bell, who stands tall at six-foot-three while weighing 205 pounds, as one of the players who will add linebacker duties to his job description following Overshown's injury. Bell revealed that Quinn called him on Monday after Overshown's diagnosis became known.
"However I can help the team is how I see myself, just trying to show my versatility," Bell said Tuesday following practice. "Linebacker, safety, hybrid. I'm willing to do whatever. I'm a football player honestly. I don't really know what they want me to do with it [yet]. I'm a lot more comfortable [in Year 2], so I can play faster, which helps me a lot."
As for Overshown, he is simply grateful to be home in Texas with his childhood team, possessed with a laser focus on the 2024 season.
"I'm still able to rock this star everywhere I go," Overshow said. "I'm blessed and highly favored. It's just a bump in the road. I'm ready to share my testimony after I come back from this. I'm looking forward to next year."