Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Michael Myers has taken winding road through NFL career

Through the problems, Myers never asked for advice from his former coaches at Vicksburg.

“I think he wanted to handle that matter himself,” Erves said.

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Following the season, Myers attended the Senior Bowl, a showcase of college talent for NFL scouts. He showed up out of shape, but still performed well enough to set the stage for a professional career.

“With the 100th pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select Michael Myers of the University of Alabama.”

Myers had fallen to the fourth round of the draft, but he had his chance to redeem himself in the NFL ranks.

After battling through training camp to learn to play defensive tackle, Myers was placed as a backup defensive end on the depth chart.

He got his first start late in the year against Washington when teammate Kavika Pittman was injured, and picked up his third sack of the season.

He showed flashes of his talent in limited action during his first two seasons.

But as a part of a playoff team, there wasn’t much room for a youngster in the lineup.

Myers finally got his chance in 2001 when he started all 16 games for Dallas, recording 55 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks at defensive tackle as part of a Cowboys defense that ranked fourth in the NFL in yards allowed.

But the Cowboys acquired La’Roi Glover from the New Orleans Saints last offseason and Myers found himself back on the bench, no better off than in his rookie season.

In his limited play, he totaled 35 tackles and a sack playing mostly at nose tackle.

“It was kind of tough starting 16 games and going back to a backup role,” Myers said. “It was a setback. I didn’t want to go that route.”

But with 2002 starter Brandon Noble leaving in free agency for Washington, Myers finds himself in a position to take his starting spot back.

Myers re-signed with the Cowboys in the offseason for the veteran’s minimum with the goal of starting.

New Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells has opened up the position in training camp and is giving all the tackles a fair chance for the job.

Cowboys defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers said Myers brings the kind of speed and quickness necessary for the Cowboys’ defensive schemes.

“We feel like Michael’s been doing a pretty good job for us,” Rodgers said, adding that Myers has been shifting between both defensive tackle spots during camp. “He’s really been limiting his mental mistakes.”

Myers said the players are excited about Parcells’ arrival and they hope to end their losing ways soon with a trip to the playoffs.

“That’s our intention,” Myers said. “We want to get the details in place and make a run for it.

“We’ve had a lot of close games the last couple of years and we think we can turn that around.”

The last two sub-.500 seasons have been tough for Myers.

“You don’t want to keep losing 5-11, 5-11,” Myers said. “I came into the league with the playoffs the first two years. I guess that kind of spoiled me.”

Myers seems to have found his place in Dallas and his college troubles are long behind him.

He said he’s enjoyed living there and playing football.

“It’s been good,” he said. “I’ve had some ups and downs in football, but it’s still good.”