BOCA RATON, FLA. -
Jason Garrett maybe can thank Canadian Football
Hall of Famer Damon Allen for setting him down a
path that allowed him to become the Dallas
Cowboys’ head coach.
In 1991 Garrett had an unsuccessful tryout at
quarterback with the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders.
Well, actually, you pick a scab on Garrett if
you call it a mere tryout.
“It was more than a tryout,” he told Postmedia
on Wednesday morning, during the NFC coaches
breakfast on the last day of the NFL annual
“I spent about 13 weeks up there in 1991.
Lansdowne Park, every day. Damon Allen was our
quarterback, Marcus Allen’s younger brother, and
he was a fantastic player. John Congemi was on
“I had a great experience up there.”
Garrett was 25 at the time. The Princeton grad
had spent his first two years as a pro with the
NFL’s New Orleans Saints and San Antonio Riders
of the old World League of American Football.
How’d he like three-down football?
“It was a real challenge,” Garrett said. “The
field is 65 yards wide. Those throws from one
hash mark to the other were far, and
challenging. But it was a great experience.
“Damon was a really, really good player. I
learned a lot from him, and I really enjoyed my
time up there.”
If Allen hadn’t been there, who knows if Garrett
might have made the Rough Riders and carved out
a pro career in Canada?
As it was, Garrett returned to the States. In
1993 he landed a backup job with the Cowboys,
and was third-stringer behind starter Troy
Aikman on Jimmy Johnson’s second consecutive
Super Bowl championship team.
Garrett strung out an NFL career through 2004 as
a career clipboard-holder and injury
The Miami Dolphins made him their quarterbacks
coach in 2005, and just five years later the
Cowboys named him head coach, a job he’s had