FRISCO - Dak Prescott knows his value - contractually and otherwise. Maybe it's being established in his absence, as his Dallas Cowboys are 3-8 while he works to rehab from season-ending surgery on his ankle.
"I know,'' Prescott says, "my team needs me.''
Prescott, the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback out since his Week 5 injury, has stayed invested in his team, helping however he can. It so happens that on Friday he was present at practice here at The Star, leaning on a crutch while wearing a navy track suit, a white ball cap and (of course) a mask.
He's also been tested in so many ways, including the recent loss of his brother Jace, which has propelled him into being a vocal mental health advocate ... and in this case, participating in an NFL.com Pepsi Rookie Roundtable.
"Don't take anything you're doing for granted," Prescott told the newcomers to the league. "Whether it's a walk-through ... no matter how big it is or how small it is - don't take it for granted because it's a blessing."
Prescott detailed to the players his path, which at most every stop included a QB higher on the depth chart getting injured, opening up his opportunity.
"So I know what it means to be ready, to stay ready in case a guy gets injured in front of you,'' he said. "And now to be that guy that's injured, for the first time in my career, I'm missing the rest of the season. It's different. It's tough."
Prescott suggested his rehab is going well (the Cowboys say the same), and that he's fueled on a daily basis by his embrace of "small victories.''
"For me, as I talk about the mental capacity, it's about creating and making small victories," Prescott said. "Each and every day, when I wake up and I go in for rehab, it's about, for me, seeing my leg or seeing my body do something that it didn't do the day before, or creating a feeling that I didn't have the day before - so I know that I'm continuing to get better.''
There is another time and place to discuss Prescott's contractual value; he's on the franchise tag this year and could be again in 2021 as a $40 million-per-year deal seems on the horizon. But certainly part of his value (in addition to his career win-loss record of 43-29) is his unique brand of leadership. He's exhibited that in the community ... and he continues to do so here inside The Star.
"At the end of the day, I know my team needs me,'' Prescott said. "I know that they need me now for support, but they'll need me again later. So it's about helping them, whichever way that I can and however I can.
"It's about being right mentally and then counting those small victories."