The kindness of strangers and a gift from the Cowboys come to mind when practice squad player Troy Kropog looks back at his life in Dallas circa 2005.
When I floated around the Redskins locker room Wednesday gathering handshakes and introductions like a politician, I didn’t expect to hear a story like Kropog’s. I saw a large man sitting alone at his locker. I approached, introduced myself and asked if he had any connection to Dallas.
The offensive lineman said not really. He lived there once as an evacuee.
While Hurricane Katrina obliterated New Orleans, Metarie, La., native Kropog and the rest of the Tulane football team took a bus ride to for Jackson, Miss., and eventually headed for safe haven in Dallas.
“There was a lot of uncertainty,” Kropog said. “No one knew what we were doing, if we were going to play the season or not or where we were going to end up.”
Tulane ultimately played the season out, competing in 11 games in 11 different cities. For two weeks in Dallas, the Green Wave lived in a hotel and received local hospitality.
SMU lent their weight room. High schools opened their practice fields. The Cowboys invited Tulane to see a preseason game. Residents invited the football team over for home cooked meals.
Eight years removed from that wandering period, Kropog said he doesn’t think about Dallas much.
He said he still has Cowboys gear he got for free at that preseason game. Even though he’s only been a part of the team since September, he’s adopted the company line on the Cowboys.
“There will always be a soft spot for the city,” he said. “Not the team.”
So when you’re singing “Hail to the Redskins” to your television on Sunday night, take a moment to remember that the home team fans might be alright on up to six days of each week.
Tags: cowboys, Dallas, gabe hiatt, Green Wave, Hurricane Katrina, redskins, Troy Kropog, Tulane
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