ARLINGTON – Miles Austin just can’t seem to overcome the hamstring issues that have bothered him throughout his six-year career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Austin, who has missed time each of the last two seasons because of hamstring injuries, was asked on Wednesday about his offseason work to prevent future setbacks.
“I’m definitely strengthening my hamstrings a lot more than I have been, doing a different routine, a couple of extra exercises each day on our leg days,” Austin said during a charity home run derby at Rangers Ballpark. “I’m just running hard and trying to compete at a high level at this time, that way it doesn’t shock your muscles when you actually do it for real.”
In August, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett suggested that Austin could be a victim of just working really hard. But how do you tell a player who went from undrafted rookie free agent to two-time Pro Bowler to ease up?
“I got to train as well as I can beforehand,” Austin said, “but I can’t not be the player that I am and practice hard or do those things.”
The 28-year-old, who finished with 66 receptions for 943 yards and six touchdowns last season, said he is currently working with Cowboys trainers on his running and lifting.
“I’m doing everything,” Austin said.
Safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who released by the Dallas Cowboys in March for salary cap reasons, confirmed via text message that he has decided to retire.
Sensabaugh said he has drawn interest from a couple of teams but was no longer interested in playing football, bringing his eight-year career to an end.
Sensabaugh signed a one-day contract with the Cowboys on Thursday to officially retire with the club the team he has spent the last four years with. He was drafted in fifth round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005. He stayed their for four years before joining the Cowboys in 2009.
He started 84-of-112 games, posting 469 tackles, two sacks, six tackles for loss, 43 pressures, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions in eight years in the league. Sensabaugh had 62 tackles in 15 games with the Cowboys last year but he had no interceptions and just two in the past two years combined.
The Cowboys saved $1.5 million by releasing him March, while hoping the upgrade the position with more playmaking ability.
According to some, safety still remains a concern for the team. They do have options in veteran Will Allen, untested second-year man Matt Johnson and rookie third-round pick J.J. Wilcox.
Dallas Cowboys stud linebacker Bruce Carter said everything is back to normal with his arm, and he is eager to get started in a new defense that feels natural to him.
“It just puts us in position, guys like me, Sean, the rest of the linebackers, just to go out there and make plays, just fly around,” he said Wednesday at a charity event in Arlington. “That’s what I did in college. That’s what got me to this point. I feel natural there. I feel comfortable. I’m just going to go out and play ball.”
Carter missed the last five games last year because of a dislocated elbow suffered in the Thanksgiving game.
He said his arm is fine now.
“My arm’s great. Everything’s back to normal,” he said. “I’m back bench-pressing. I’m just ready to go.”
Carter said he has been impressed by new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s enthusiasm.
“He comes into work more excited than we are, sometimes,” Carter said.
But right now, the players are in a learning phase.
“Everything’s going good with the new coaches,” Carter said. “Me, Sean, the rest of the linebacker guys, we’re really absorbing everything he’s trying to tell us. Details, details, details. We’re just trying to do the right thing.”
DeMarco Murray said he understands the Dallas Cowboys might want to use two running backs, but he’s used to that. He said he’s never been a “true starter,” either with the Cowboys or in college at Oklahoma.
“I’ve started, but Felix was always here, and things like that, so I’m excited for the new kid,” Murray said Wednesday at a charity event in Arlington.
The new kid is Joseph Randle, a running back from Oklahoma State drafted by the Cowboys in the fifth round two weeks ago.
“He’s definitely a quality running back from Oklahoma State – they’ve always been known for great running backs,” Murray said. “I’m excited to bring him in the family. Definitely, we’re going to get after it a little bit and help him out as much as we can.”
But Murray didn’t forget about two other running backs still on the roster.
“I’m excited for Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner, two great running backs,” he said. “Those guys have definitely worked hard and earned themselves a shot at playing time next year.”
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NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” lineup is getting younger while maintaining its robust level of blonde.
Carrie Underwood is no stranger to singing for NFL crowds. Take a look back at memorable Super Bowl performances.
The network announced Tuesday that Carrie Underwood will replace Faith Hill as the singer of its introductory theme song each week. Hill announced weeks ago she wouldn’t be continuing with the show.
Underwood’s first Sunday regular-season appearance on the show will come before a Dallas Cowboys game, featuring her ex, Tony Romo. We can only hope that NBC keeps the same lyrics to the theme song this season, so we can hear Underwood sing, “Al and Chris are the best on TV.”
Classic American songwriting, right there.
DeMarcus Ware is the latest NFL player to make the switch to an enhanced facemask.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive end on Wednesday gave fans on Facebook a look at his new helmet, which includes a facemask with eight horizontal bars. Ware’s previous helmet had four bars.
“Getting my armor ready for the season,” Ware wrote. “Will be suited up for battle!”
The facemask is similar to the one used by Justin Tuck. The New York Giants defensive end added the extra bars last year to make it harder for opponents to grab his facemask. Tuck suspected offensive linemen were yanking on his facemask in an attempt to aggravate a neck injury.
Ware likely seeks similar protection. The Cowboys star has dealt with recurring neck stingers going back to an injury caused by a helmet-to-helmet collision in December 2009.
So yes, the facemask gives off a subtle Bane vibe — which is obviously solid. But it also has practical value.
PHOTO: Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware unveils his eight-bar facemask he’ll wear in the 2013-2014 season