The Dallas Cowboys have already lost quite a few starters this offseason, from Robert Quinn to Randall Cobb. But the loss of center Travis Frederick is a hard pill to swallow.
He’s been the so-called captain of the offensive line for the Cowboys but has stayed relatively quiet about his struggles with an autoimmune disorder. Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which your disease-fighting cells attack the nerves in your extremities, triggering numbness and tremors.
Frederick was diagnosed in 2018 and sat out the entire season as a result. In a long post to Twitter on Monday, he said, “I made my return to the field, played well overall, and was selected to the Pro Bowl, but it was a difficult year for me. Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level.
“Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and is not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high.”
Forced To Move On
Jerry Jones and the rest of the organization are bummed about the news, but understand how hard it has been for Frederick the past two years. The Cowboys picked him up as the No. 31 pick overall in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2013.
He was a Pro Bowler in every season between 2014 and 2019 other than the 2018 season when he sat out. He spent his entire career as a Cowboy.
Jones had nothing but good things to say about his former center, saying, “Travis Frederick, by the nature of his center position, was the core piece of what I believe to be one of the most talented and skilled NFL offensive lines that has been assembled.
“His leadership ability, production, and intelligence put him at the top level of interior offensive linemen in our league for many years. At the pinnacle of his success, his career on the field was only exceeded by a rare display of courage and determination in overcoming a life-threatening illness and returning to the game — a challenge that could only be completed by a person with rare levels of perseverance and strength.”
Frederick was also a nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2017.
The Cowboys thankfully already have a great backup center in Joe Looney, who just signed a one-year deal with Dallas worth $2.4 million. He served as a great replacement for Frederick in 2018 and played in his place in all 16 games.
Dallas also has Connor Williams, the left guard for the last two seasons, who could beat out Looney for the starting center spot after missing the end of the 2019 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Frederick has been spending his time focusing on feeding kids who are hungry during this time of this pandemic. Frederick has pledged to match up to $40,000 in donations to his Blocking Out Hunger Foundation.