CANTON, Ohio. — George Selvie was at a professional low after the Bucs released him in May.
The defensive end and former All-American at USF had signed a month earlier and hoped to stick around for a while in his home state. After it didn't work out, he wondered if his career might be over after only three seasons.
"You try not to think about it, but in the back of your mind, you're like, 'Man, people are in (organized team activities), people are about to start camp,' " said Selvie, 26. "I'm sitting at home (in Pensacola) still working out, playing with my son. But I finally got that call and when I got that call, I was ready."
That call was from the Cowboys, who signed the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder July 24 after injuries depleted their defensive line. He practiced that day after leaving Pensacola on a 6 a.m. flight.
"I got there and it was, 'Okay, nice to meet you. We are going to need you at practice at 4 o'clock,' " Selvie said. "I'm like, 'uh, all right.' But I'm just grateful. I thank God every day for my opportunity."
End Tyrone Crawford, who was expected to back up DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, is out for the season after tearing his left Achilles tendon in training camp. Spencer could miss the preseason after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
In their absence, Selvie played plenty in Sunday's 24-20 preseason-opening win over the Dolphins in the Hall of Fame Game. He made the most of it — four tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits.
The head-turning performance, coupled with the injuries, puts him in contention for a spot on the 53-man roster.
"It's a producing league," Selvie said. "If you produce, that's the way you stay in."
"He did a nice job from the first practice he had with us," coach Jason Garrett said. "You can tell he has played a lot in this league. He is a good football player, a hungry football player. He works hard in practice."
Selvie was USF's first consensus first-team All-American in 2007 and still holds school records for most sacks in a game (four, in 2007 against Elon), season (141/2 in '07) and career (29).
But after St. Louis drafted him in the seventh round in 2010, Selvie has bounced from the Rams to the Panthers, Jaguars and Bucs.
Now Selvie hopes to jump-start his career and fulfill the promise he showed with the Bulls.
"Through the last three years, I've been through some stuff," he said. "So just going out here and having a good game, starting off right (feels good). We've got four more (preseason) games left, still got training camp left. I've got to build off that. I can't stay settled. I've got to go for greatness, and that's what I'm going to try to do."