Doug Free

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Doug Free
Doug Free cropped.jpg
Free with the Cowboys in 2010
No. 68     Dallas Cowboys
Offensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1984-01-16) January 16, 1984 (age 30)
Place of birth: Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) Weight: 325 lb (147 kg)
Career information
High school: Manitowoc (WI) Lincoln
College: Northern Illinois
NFL Draft: 2007 / Round: 4 / Pick: 122
Debuted in 2007 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
  • Second-Team All-MAC (2004)
  • Honorable Mention All-American (2005)
  • 2× All-MAC (2005, 2006)
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Games played 68
Games started 58
Fumble recoveries 1
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

Doug Free (born January 16, 1984) is an American football offensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. He played college football at Northern Illinois University and high school for Lincoln High School in Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Early years[edit]

Free almost gave up football in ninth grade at Lincoln High School, walking away to work at a dairy farm. As a senior he was named Defensive Lineman of the Year, All-State and All-Fox Valley Conference on both offense (tight end) and defense(defensive tackle).

He accepted a scholarship to Northern Illinois University with the plan of being converted to an offensive tackle.[1] After being redshirted, he was forced to start at right tackle as a freshman, when sophomore tackle Shea Fitzgerald was killed along with 12 others, in a back porch collapse during a party in Lincoln Park.[2]

In college he developed into an athletic player that earned him the nickname "Doug Freak" among his teammates. He eventually settled at left tackle and was named second-team All-MAC as a sophomore and first-team All-MAC and honorable mention All-American as a junior.

Professional career[edit]

Free was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. As a rookie he was named a starter in his first preseason game, but suffered a knee sprain that would delayed his development and contributed to him being inactive for the first 15 games of the season, until playing at right tackle during the fourth quarter of the last game.

He was inactive during the first 13 weeks of the 2008 season. The next year a season-ending injury to Marc Colombo pushed him into starting 7 games at right tackle, performing at a high level while allowing only 1 sack. After the April 1, 2010 release of Flozell Adams, Free became the starting left tackle and was recognized as one of the best players in the league at the position.

On July 26, 2011, the Cowboys avoided him testing the free agent market and rewarded him with a four-year, $32 million contract, with $17 million guaranteed.[3] After his play regressed, the team decided to move him back to right tackle, exchanging positions with Tyron Smith in 2012. He was still seen as a liability even with the change, so the team gave more playing time to Jermey Parnell in the final four games of the season.

After having to share his playing time and giving up 7 sacks, 5 holding penalties and 7 false starts, he accepted a reduced salary in order to avoid being waived before the start of the 2013 season. Free would end up improving his play and becoming one of the most consistent offensive linemen on the team.

References[edit]

External links[edit]