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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Cowboys' Hunter sees chance to start

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posted on Jun, 7 2004 @ 12:20 PM
IRVING, Texas (AP) - Pete Hunter knows he made his share of bad plays last season. And he isn't the only option the Dallas Cowboys have at right cornerback. Still, Hunter insists he isn't feeling pressure as the leading candidate to replace departed starter Mario Edwards. He just better take advantage of his chance.

"This is his third year in the league, he's either going to get going,OK. I mean the circus doesn't stay in town forever" coach Bill Parcells said. "He needs to be ready to compete for a job right now. I think he's looking at it that way.

Hunter spent last season as a nickel back and on special teams, playing in every game even after missing most of training camp with a broken left forearm. When Edwards signed a free agent deal with Tampa Bay, Hunter became more than a nickel back. He was suddenly the most experienced Cowboy at right corner.

"I don't consider it pressure. It's my turn to go up and step up"Hunter said Sunday. "I'm just happy I got the opportunity to play, and I'm going to take advantage of it."

Hunter played 11 games as a rookie in 2002, with 27 tackles and extensive work on special teams. He had 19 tackles last season, playing mostly behind Derek Ross until that nickel back was cut in December. Jemeel Powell, a second-year player from California, was listed as Edwards' backup last season but got into just four games. He's still second-team, with drafted rookies Bruce Thornton (fourth round from Georgia) and Jacques Reeves (seventh round from Purdue) also in the mix. Parcells believes the starting right corner will come from that quartet taking part in the team's minicamp.

"I don't know why, I just think somebody's going to do it" Parcells said. "I like the way they're working. We've got enough athletic ability there, no doubt. It's just can we get them playing soon enough.

Hunter was hurt covering the opening kickoff in last year's preseason opener, and didn't return to practice until the week of the season opener. The long scar on his left arm is a visual reminder of the surgery and being off the field. He tried to get something out of that time.

"It just gave me an opportunity to sit back and watch other players play my position. I learned from that" he said. "It hurt being on the bench, but it made me more hungry.

Hunter still had his struggles early last season after getting thrown back into action without much time in camp. His best stretch came in the final five games after Ross was released.

"I'm pretty sure all of the mistakes that I would have made during camp I made those first couple of games" he said.

Now it's just a matter of repetition and getting a chance to play more games at cornerback. He was a safety in college.

"Angles and alignments and the way the receiver comes off, and the body position that you're supposed to be in, all of those things you get from playing" defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said. "Guys can't get it unless they are seeing it and doing it."

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