One of the very first things I learned about Anthony Armstrong was that he grew up as a Cowboys fan.
“Of course you grow up a Cowboys fan being in Dallas,” he told me. This was way back in October of last year, when he was replacing punter Glenn Pakulak on the practice squad, and the only person who believed he could catch on with the team was him. “It’s kind of a rite of passage. I already talked to my mom, and she’s like, ‘Well, shoot, that’s a rival.’ I told everybody they could cheer for me. …I understand they’re gonna be fans of Dallas first and foremost.”
Well, it’s now September 2010. Armstrong is on the active roster, is expected to be active, and is expected to contribute in Sunday night’s opening game against those same Cowboys. And his family is still behaving exactly as he told them they should.
“I got everybody rooting against me,” Armstrong said today. “They want me to play well — they’re giving me good statlines; they’re like, catch for a hundred-and-somethin’ yards, two touchdowns — but we still need to lose.”
The Dallas/Washington rivalry has been messing up Armstrong relationships pretty much since the moment he walked into the locker room here. “I remember when I first got here,” Armstrong said, “[thinking about] when Santana caught those two touchdown passes from Brunell — I told him I was pretty upset with him. It took me a little while to get to liking him.”
Nobody in the building has told Armstrong that he needs to hate the Cowboys now, but no one’s had to: you folks have taken up the slack. “That’s what all the Twitter fans have been saying,” Armstrong (@MrArmstrong13) said. “They say ‘I hate Dallas and you have to hate Dallas too.’”
Hating Dallas and parrying the jabs from his family have become something of a full-time job this week.. “Shoot, I guess I got my own Dallas week stuff goin’ on,” Armstrong said, “really just trying to defend the team and defend myself. “
Not that he’s complaining. “It’s pretty fun,” Armstrong said, “but I need to make sure that I’m the spoiler. …I’ve just gotta make it so we win the game and I get to put good facebook and Twitter statuses up and make everybody upset down there in Dallas.”
As far as participating in his first regular season NFL action … well, Armstrong’s reaction to that is exactly what you’d expect if you’ve followed him through the preseason. “I just wanna play,” he said, “in whatever capacity it is. If it’s startin’, then okay, great. If it’s comin’ in as the third wide receiver, then I’m perfectly fine with that. Just whatever they ask me to do, I’ve gotta go out there and complete my assignment properly. I just wanna be on that field.”
And it’s looking like he will be, even at the expense of his familial relations.
Tags: anthony armstrong, Dallas Week
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