The Cowboys, like all NFL teams, are hoping their new draftees keep a stiff upper lip during the next challenging stage in their football careers.
But after taking Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of the NFL draft Saturday, Dallas quickly learned that the former North Carolina wide receiver already wears his courage inside his mouth.
After getting the memorable call from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Switzer held a phone conference with Dallas media in which he introduced himself and shared the story behind the “Believe” tattoo that hides on the inside of his bottom lip.
The 22-year-old return specialist said the word is his mantra, but in order to have it marked permanently on his skin, he needed to find an unorthodox spot for it.
“It was a place where at the time my mom wouldn’t be able to see it and get mad at me,” Switzer said, per the Dallas Morning News. “She had kind of grown into it. I think she still doesn’t like it, but I think she loves me more than she doesn’t like the tattoo. She’ll live with it.”
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett told NFL Network that he was unaware of Switzer’s concealed ink.
“I did not know about the ‘Believe’ tattoo on the inside of his lip,” Garrett said. “(Special teams coordinator and assistant head coach) Rich Bisaccia was fired up.”
Switzer said the daring design was really not too painful.
“It was actually pretty easy,” he said. “It was one of the easier ones I’ve gotten. I have, including that one, four total. Two on the inside of my arms and one on my wrist.”
Switzer’s spoken words certainly seem to back up the ones that decorate his body. Switzer, who is the first offensive player the Cowboys selected this year, said he believes he’s the best returner in the entire draft.
The 5-foot-8 wide out, who is the Tar Heels’ all-time leader in receptions and yards, had his strongest season during his senior year in 2016, recording 96 catches for 1,112 yards. His best season as a kick and punt returner, however, came as a freshman in 2013 when he averaged 20.9 yards over 24 returns and scored five touchdowns. He averaged just 6.6 yards over 16 returns with no TDs last year.