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The Red Rifle is coming home

Andy Dalton is signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, bringing him back to North Texas where he starred for the Horned Frogs.

Rose Bowl Game - Wisconsin v TCU Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Andy Dalton is a Dallas Cowboy.

Dalton, who starred at TCU from 2007-2010 (after redshirting as a true freshman), has spent the last nine years in Cincinnati, where he put together an illustrious career with the tortured Bengals franchise after being drafted by them in the second round in 2011.

After the Bengals selected former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the number one pick last month, Dalton was granted his release and became a free agent for the first time in his career. Though their were rumors of teams like Jacksonville, New England, and Chicago being interested in securing his services in 2020, Dalton has elected to come back to North Texas, where he will back up Dak Prescott — or potentially start if the current Cowboys’ QB elects to sit out due to a contract dispute that has him currently franchise tagged.

Though the fan base was frustrated with him on occasion, Dalton led the Bengals to five playoff performances after decades of being the league’s laughingstock. He leads Cincinnati as the franchise’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 204, is second in passing yards (31,594), and led 24 game-winning drives and 20 fourth-quarter comebacks. He was a Pro Bowler three times as well.

In addition to his work on the field, Dalton and his wife JJ have done incredible work in their adopted community. The Andy and JJ Dalton Foundation has donated millions of dollars over the last nine years, mostly dedicated to helping families, sick kids, and local children’s hospitals. The estimated reach of their community service is nearly five million people in Ohio. Even when it was obvious that his tenure with the Bengals was over, Dalton donated $150,000 to help with medical needs in the city during the Coronavirus pandemic. A former Bengals’ QB was quick to praise him on his way out of town:

TCU Football fans will be ecstatic to see one of the most beloved figures in Horned Frog lore return to DFW, where he and his family keep an off-season home. Dalton led the Frogs to back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and BCS Bowls in 2009 and 2010, culminating his illustrious career in the Rose Bowl, where he led the underdog Frogs to an upset of Wisconsin, finishing the season 13-0 and ranked second overall. During his senior season, Dalton was a Manning Award finalist, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award finalist, Bobby Bowden Award finalist, Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist and Maxwell Award semifinalist as one of the best players in college football. When he left TCU, he did so as the all-time leader in career wins (42-8 in four years as the starter), completions (812), attempts (1,317), completion percentage (61.7), passing yards (10,314) and touchdown passes (71). He was an All-American, Conference Player of the Year, multiple first-team All Conference member, and the Rose Bowl MVP.

One of the most well-respected and highly-thought of players in the NFL, Dalton will have a chance to reinvigorate his career in Dallas, and certainly serve as an exceptional mentor for Dak Prescott. He will become a free agent again a year from now, at just 33 years old.

This is a great situation for Dalton and his family, and for the DFW community, whom will certainly benefit from having Andy and JJ bringing their spirit of selflessness and generosity back to town.

One other fun note; the Cowboys signed two recent TCU graduate running backs as UDFA last week, Sewo Olonilua and Darius Anderson. That means Dalton could be handing the ball off to Horned Frogs once again.

Welcome home, Andy!