IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have filled out their practice squad by signing two players.
Tight end Jameson Konz, who played at Kent State, and running back George Winn, who played collegiately at Cincinnati.
Winn will likely take some of the scout teams reps of Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle, who will likely be used more in the offense with Lance Dunbar (knee) now out for the season. Winn was recently with the Steelers and Raiders’ practice squads. He also spent time this offseason with Houston and New England.
Konz was released off Seattle’s practice squad earlier this year. He’s also played some defensive end in the past with the Seahawks, who originally signed him in 2010.
The Cowboys waived Andre Smith two weeks ago and hoped to retain him on the practice squad. But he was claimed off waivers by the Browns, who also plucked quarterback Alex Tanney from the squad that same week.
Without Smith, the Dallas Cowboys have just Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna on the roster. Konz will likely the scout-team reps at tight end.
With Tanney no longer around, veteran Kyle Orton handles all of the scout team snaps at quarterback.
The addition of Wynn and Konz fills up the squad back to eight players. The Cowboys have three receivers on the practice squad with Tim Benford, Jamar Newsome and Lanear Sampson. Defensive end Caesar Rayford and offensive lineman John Wexler and guard Ray Dominguez.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys made the decision to cut David Arkin on Saturday because they needed the roster spot. But they haven’t completely given up on their three-year investment.
The Cowboys decided to bring back Arkin on the practice squad today. Arkin has only been active for eight games in his career but has yet to play a single snap, which gives him practice-squad eligibility despite this being his third season with the club.
The Cowboys cut Arkin to make room for rookie safety Jakar Hamilton, who played because of an injury to J.J. Wilcox. Hamilton will likely stay up on the roster with Wilcox’s status uncertain and now Barry Church has a hamstring injury.
“We got to the point where we needed a safety based on our safety situation,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “And that was the one we felt we could make that move on the 11th hour and hopefully he can get past through and we can bring him back and put him on our practice roster and we’ve invested in him and we do like him.”
Garrett was asked if he was disappointed in Arkin’s progress, considering he was a fourth-round pick in 2011 and has yet to contribute in the regular season.
“There’s probably nobody on our football team who works harder and is more committed than David Arkin,” Garrett said. “He’s the right kind of guy and he’s working at it and he’s getting better. I think he has improved over the last couple of years and that’s why we’re happy to get him back and put him back on the practice roster and continue that development.”
During the last two training camps and preseasons, Arkin received more practice reps than any other linemen the last two years. With an abundance of injuries on the line, Arkin has played both at guard and center. This past summer, he was mostly at guard. He started the first preseason game at right guard, then started the third and fifth games at left guard.
The year before, he started the first three preseason games at center.
The Dallas Cowboys are back to a full eight-man practice squad on Tuesday, signing three in the last 48 hours.
On Tuesday, the club signed former Baylor wide receiver Lanear Sampson, who spent all summer and preseason with the Colts before being cut just prior to the regular season. Sampson played in all four exhibition games with Indy, catching two passes for nine yards.
Sampson joins college teammate Terrance Williams on the Cowboys’ receiving corps. Like Williams, Sampson is also a Dallas native (Mesquite) who spent five seasons in Waco, including a redshirt in 2008.
At Baylor, Sampson started opposite of Williams last year and had his best season of his career, catching 52 passes for 646 yards and six touchdowns, earning All-Big 12 honorable mention honors. Sampson not only finished his career with a 43-game reception streak, but ranked fifth in school history with 165 catches.
While the Cowboys sent wide receiver coach Derek Dooley and assistant receiver coach Keith O’Quinn down to Waco for the Baylor Pro Day mainly to scout both Williams, they were also impressed by Sampson, who ran a 4.35 time in the 40. He went undrafted but signed with Indy after the draft.
Sampson becomes the fourth Baylor wide receiver in the last three seasons to be on an NFL roster or practice squad, along with Williams, Josh Gordon (Cleveland) and Kendall Wright (Tennessee).
And the Cowboys now have eight players on the practice squad roster. Over the weekend, they had to waive receiver Jamar Newsome and guard Ray Dominguez because of an NFL rule that doesn’t allow teams to keep three-year practice squad veterans if the 53-man roster is not full. Since the Cowboys had only 52 players on the roster going to Philly, those two players had to be released to prevent from losing the ability to sign them back in the future.
After they cleared waivers, Jamar Newsome and Ray Dominguez were officially retained Monday. And along with Sampson, they join wide receiver Tim Benford, running back Davin Meggett, cornerback Micah Pellerin, safety Jakar Hamilton and quarterback Alex Tanney.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys released guard Ray Dominguez and wide receiver Jamar Newsome from their practice squad on Saturday.
The move is the latest in a flurry of activity on the team roster in the last week. The Cowboys moved defensive end Edgar Jones to the IR/designated for return list and signed Jason Vega to the active roster from the practice squad, both on Friday afternoon. Earlier in the week, the team released former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jay Ratliff.
All of that activity will give the Cowboys 52 players on their active roster as they make the trip to Philadelphia for Sunday’s game against the Eagles.
That simple fact creates a curious case for Dominguez and Newsome. Both players are in their third year in the league, which puts them in an unusual situation under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Article 33, section 4 of CBA reads: “An otherwise eligible player may be a Practice Squad player for a third season only if the Club by which he is employed that season has at least 53 players on its Active/Inactive List during the entire period of his employment.”
Essentially, that rule would make both players ineligible for the remainder of the season if the Cowboys were to play the Eagles while maintaining an open roster spot.
It’s likely the team will re-sign the pair next week. For now, the two cuts combined with Vega’s move to the active roster gives the Dallas Cowboys just five players on the practice squad.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have filled the empty roster spot with rookie linebacker Cameron Lawrence, who was signed off the practice squad today (Friday).
Lawrence, an undrafted rookie from Mississippi State, nearly made the active roster coming out of training camp and the preseason. The Cowboys decided to sign veterans Edgar Jones and Kyle Bosworth for special teams purposes. But Lawrence has remained on the practice squad and will likely play Sunday in his NFL debut.
“Hard work has paid off,” a smiling Lawrence said today, just minutes after he called his agent to inform him the news. “I was glad to be on practice squad but this is just a whole another level.”
After the Cowboys waived veteran safety Will Allen, Lawrence said the practice squad players were told one of them would likely be added to the roster this week. Early speculation centered on Jakar Hamilton, a safety would seemingly would take Allen’s spot. And last week the Cowboys nearly signed defensive end Jason Vega from the squad.
But Lawrence said hearing of that possibility got his attention.
“Automatically my eyes lit up,” Lawrence said. “I had a good week of practice. I guess they liked what they saw. I fit the need that they needed. They told me today after practice.”
With Justin Durant (groin) questionable for Sunday’s game, adding Lawrence is a natural fit. But he also said he expects to be a full participant on special teams. In college, Lawrence contributed on defense for four years at Mississippi State, where he was a two-time All-SEC standout.
In the preseason games with the Cowboys, Lawrence finished second on the team with 16 tackles with one quarterback pressure and one pass deflection.
IRVING, Texas – For those upset the Dallas Cowboys cut quarterback Alex Tanney because they feared he would be claimed by another team, breathe a sigh of relief. Tanney cleared waivers and was signed to the Cowboys’ practice squad.
Wide receivers Danny Coale and Tim Benford will be on the practice squad for the second straight season. The Cowboys also added guard Ray Dominguez, defensive end Jason Vega, cornerback Micah Pellerin, safety Jakar Hamilton and linebacker Cameron Lawrence to the practice squad.
The Cowboys had hoped to re-sign Brandon Magee to the practice squad, but the linebacker was claimed by Cleveland. The Dallas Cowboys are no longer on the hook for the $70,000 guarantee they had on his contract.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys are finally back to 53 players on the roster. And that’s the part that likely won’t change.
The actual guys that make up the entire roster – top to bottom – will certainly be shuffled around here over the Labor Day weekend, probably starting as early as Sunday or Monday.
But for now, the Cowboys have turned in their 22 roster moves to get down to 53 players before Saturday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
One of the more notable roster moves includes safety Matt Johnson, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday afternoon and will be lost for the season.
Other notable cuts Saturday include wide receivers Anthony Armstrong and Danny Coale, quarterback Alex Tanney and cornerbacks Sterling Moore and Micah Pellerin.
While Johnson was placed on IR, he’s one of three more 2012 draft picks not on the 53-man roster, along with Coale and Caleb McSurdy, a seventh-round pick who missed all of last year with a torn Achilles.
Here are the official roster moves from Saturday:
Placed on IR:
Matt Johnson, S
Jakar Hamilton, S
Tim Benford, WR
Danny Coale, WR
Anthony Armstrong, WR
Kendial Lawrence, RB
Alex Tanney, QB
Kevin Kowalski, G/C
Edawn Coughman, OT
Jabari Fletcher, DE
Thaddeus Gibson, DE
Taylor Reed, LB
Micah Pellerin, CB
Sterling Moore, CB
Xaiver Brewer, CB
Ray Dominguez, G
Jerome Long, DT
Demetress Bell, OT
Jason Vega, DE
Caleb McSurdy, LB
Cameron Lawrence, LB
Brandon Magee, LB
The Dallas Cowboys announced today that they have placed DL Ben Bass, a rookie from Texas A&M, on injured reserve and signed CB Sterling Moore, a former SMU player, from the New England Patriots’ practice squad.
Moore (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) spent parts of the last two seasons with the Patriots. He had 12 tackles, one pass deflection, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery before he was cut in October. He started three games last year as an undrafted rookie. Perhaps his most notable play came in the AFC Championship game last season, when he denied Baltimore’s Lee Evans a touchdown catch that would have put the Ravens ahead in the late stages of a 23-20 loss to New England. The Cowboys will add a year to Moore’s deal, signing him through 2013. He will likely be available to play against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday night.
Moore has playing experience with the Patriots in their nickel defense for most of the games this season. For the Cowboys, he’ll likely be used on special teams, but could have a role in the nickel defense if he’s active.
Dallas needs reinforcements in the secondary. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick fractured his left hand Nov. 22 against Washington and could be out for the rest of the regular season. Safety Charlie Peprah, who is expected to need 2-3 weeks to recover from a foot injury.
Moore, a versatile player, has been deployed at safety and cornerback since joining the Patriots in 2011. In 14 NFL games, the second-year veteran has made 20 tackles, forced a fumble and collected two interceptions.
Ben Bass suffered a sprained ankle in practice this week and was seen in a walking boot afterward. In limited playing time, Bass was credited with two tackles on the season. He spent most of the season on the practice squad until Kenyon Coleman was lost for the season with a torn triceps. Bass was called up to the active roster on Nov. 14.
With Sean Lissemore returning to action this week after missing nearly seven full games with a high-ankle sprain, Bass’ playing time would’ve likely diminished with a chance he could’ve been inactive this week.
The season is over for Bass, who had quite a journey to just stick around with the Cowboys, who invited him to participate in rookie minicamp on a tryout basis only. Bass was impressive enough to get signed to the 90-man roster but stuck around and made it to the practice squad and then the 53-man roster.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have cut wide receiver Raymond Radway from the practice squad two weeks after signing him.
With Danny Coale healthy again after a hamstring strain, the Cowboys did not need a third wide receiver on the practice squad. Radway was among the Cowboys’ final cuts in the preseason after he failed to make a catch. He struggled in his return from a fractured ankle suffered in the final preseason game of 2011.
Outside linebacker Jerry Brown replaced Radway on the practice squad. Brown floated between Indianapolis’ practice squad and active roster after signing with the team earlier this year. Brown, 25, played at Illinois and wasn’t drafted.
Patricia Jones says that her son, Lance Dunbar, first told her when he was 12 that he wanted to play in the NFL.
In the family’s native New Orleans, that meant a standout career at a local high school, followed by a short drive west on I-10 around Lake Pontchartrain to Baton Rouge to play for LSU, and finally, hopefully, a contract with the New Orleans Saints.
That’s the dream anyway, but few young men are talented enough or lucky enough to make it happen.
Dunbar’s path to the NFL did take him through his local college and his local NFL team. But it was the University of North Texas and the Dallas Cowboys, not LSU and the Saints.
You see, New Orleans isn’t home to Dunbar anymore. It hasn’t been since Hurricane Katrina.
“When I was in New Orleans I was actually a starting safety and a running back,” Dunbar says. “So there’s no telling what position I would have played, what college I would have gone to, or where I would have ended up. Coming to Texas, it felt like I got a new start. I went to play at Haltom (High School) and ended up playing offense the whole time.”
Even seven years later, the mention of “Hurricane Katrina” resonates mightily with those who lived through it. The violent storm swept through the Bayou and by the time the disaster was over, the levees were broken, more than 1,000 people had died and thousands more hade fled, never to return.
“I go back to New Orleans for holidays and I have a good time,” Dunbar says. “It’s kind of how it used to be now. But I don’t like staying there more than a week. I feel like I get bored. It doesn’t seem like it’s home to me anymore. I’ve moved away for so long, most of my friends that were there have grown up and gone away.”
Opening day of football season was less than a week away when it became apparent Hurricane Katrina would hit New Orleans in August 2005. Dunbar had just played in his Jamboree game for De La Salle, the equivalent of a preseason scrimmage. De La Salle was one of the best prep schools in the city, a private school that excelled both academically and athletically. Dunbar was good enough to play varsity athletics in the eighth grade and had already put in two years on both the varsity football and basketball teams. He entered the 2005 season as a starting safety and a backup running back.
There is little doubt in Jones’ mind that had the family stayed in New Orleans, Dunbar would have found his way to a Division I school and, perhaps, the NFL.
By the Saturday before landfall, Jones knew it was time to get out of New Orleans. She packed up what she could and took the entire family to a Red Cross shelter in Hazelhurst, Miss., about two hours from New Orleans. The shelter was the family’s home for the next two weeks. From there, Jones and her family watched Katrina come and go, and watched the levees hold, then break. Because Jones heeded the warnings, her family didn’t have to live through the hell that became New Orleans in the days after Katrina. But she faced the same decision as others in the wake of the storm.
Where do we go now?
New Orleans had been home. De La Salle was a great school for a gifted athlete and smart kid like Dunbar. Plus, Jones admits, their home didn’t suffer as much damage as others in New Orleans. The family could have returned, but watching her city descend into lawlessness and despair was too much. She said she never really entertained the thought of taking her family back.
“New Orleans was pretty crazy after the storm,” Dunbar says. “There was too much happening. Everyone came to one side (of the city), the side that wasn’t flooded. It kind of got out of hand and mama didn’t want us around that environment.”
The storm provided a unique opportunity to start over. Jones could have moved the family anywhere. One day she received a phone call from one of Lance’s former youth coaches (J.R. Sheppard) in New Orleans, who was now living in Haltom City, a suburb northeast of Fort Worth. He encouraged her to move the family there.
Jones worked in a hospital system and was able to transfer from New Orleans to North Hills Hospital in North Richland Hills. So, sight unseen, Jones moved her family and some friends – 13 in all – to Haltom City that fall. Jones’ friend set up a hotel for the family near the school so Lance and his siblings could start school as soon as possible.
It didn’t take long for the family to make its final decision on where to stay.
“The kids really wanted to stay in Texas,” Jones says. “Once the kids started at Haltom, they loved it. They actually asked if we could stay. So that was really all I needed to hear.”
The hotel was a temporary residence. When the family did find its first permanent residence, its location was of little surprise to anyone who knows Lance. It was right behind Haltom High School’s practice field.
Home in Haltom City
Clayton George found himself in a unique position to relate to Dunbar when he arrived as Haltom’s head coach in the spring of 2006.
George had just spent a couple of years as the head football coach at Dallas Hillcrest, his first head-coaching job after leaving Southlake Carroll. Hillcrest became a hub for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. He coached several players from New Orleans and heard their stories about the storm and the tragedy that came afterward.
“I still can’t imagine what they went through and what they saw,” George says. “I had heard those things before I met Lance. I kind of knew where he was coming from.”
George inherited a player with unique talent as both a rusher and a receiver. Dunbar joined Haltom midway through the 2005 season and gained 640 yards and scored four touchdowns. In his one season at Haltom, George says he did everything possible to put the ball in Dunbar’s hands. That translated into 1,100 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, along with 750 yards receiving and two more scores in 2006.
George spent just one year at Haltom because, shortly after the end of the 2006 high school football season, he accepted a job as the wide receivers coach at the University of North Texas offered by his former Southlake boss, Todd Dodge.
But in less than 12 months, Dunbar and George had connected on a personal level. George got to know not just Dunbar but Jones and the rest of Dunbar’s extended family. George and Dunbar still talk regularly and the family invited George to their home on the final day of the NFL Draft. George was there to watch the dream come together for the player he calls his “favorite” of any player he’s coached.
Their relationship extends beyond Dunbar’s obvious talent.
“Lance is quiet and humble,” George says. “He’ll open up, but he’s reserved and quiet. He’s that way but he has a great sense of humor. He’s someone that was raised well. His character and integrity are tremendous. I sound so cliché talking about him.”
When George left for UNT, he told Dunbar he would come back for him. Dunbar finished off his career at Haltom in 2007 with a 1,200-yard season. Oklahoma State wanted him. Colorado wanted him. So did Virginia.
But Dunbar chose North Texas.
“Initially, I was going to go to Oklahoma State,” Dunbar says. “(But) I also wanted to play as a freshman. I didn’t want to sit out. I’ve always felt if you’re good enough you can make it anywhere.”
So Dunbar signed with UNT, a decision that admittedly made Jones happy. She and her husband went to every game. So did Lance’s father, Lance Dunbar Sr. Denton, Texas is a heck of a lot closer to Haltom than Stillwater, Okla. And it was proof that Texas was now home. The test? The day he signed with UNT, guess who called the Mean Green’s newest recruit?
“LSU was definitely the school I wanted to go to when I was down there,” Dunbar says. “They were one of my favorite schools growing up. I was a big LSU fan, but that all switched after I went to North Texas.”
Dunbar wanted to play right away, and he did. When he received his first start for the Mean Green, he torched Louisiana-Lafayette for 224 yards and four touchdowns.
By the time he ended his UNT career, he had torn up the Mean Green record book, which was once the sole property of Patrick Cobbs. Dunbar finished with 4,224 yards, making him the program’s all-time leading rusher. Additionally, he is now UNT’s all-time leader in touchdowns (49), all-purpose yards (5,375), 100-yard rushing games (21), points (294) and rushing touchdowns (41). He was also the only Mean Green runner to have three straight 1,000-yard seasons and became just the sixth back in FBS history to compile 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards for a career. He earned All-Sun Belt first-team honors twice and Sports Illustrated named him honorable mention All-America twice.
He ended his tenure in Denton with a crescendo. He rushed for 313 yards against Middle Tennessee in a game played in a cold, driving rain for most of the contest. That night he broke Cobbs’ career rushing mark with Cobbs in attendance.
But that wasn’t enough to entice NFL teams to draft Dunbar in April. Had one done so, he would have become just the second Mean Green player to be drafted in the last 16 years.
But had one done so, he might not have ended up in Dallas.
Dunbar did not earn an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February, so his one opportunity to impress NFL scouts came in March at the Mean Green’s pro day at Apogee Stadium. The Cowboys were among the teams in attendance, as was current UNT coach Dan McCarney.
“He did a great job,” McCarney says. “He opened some eyes that day that he does have quality speed and quickness and hands.”
George heard about it later from a friend, Cowboys offensive assistant Keith O’Quinn.
“He told me before Lance was picked up how well Lance stood out and how (Cowboys running backs coach) Skip (Peete) liked him,” George says. “It wasn’t that much of a surprise to me when Dallas called him. He did well in front of them.”
Draft day was quite the party at the Dunbar house, even though there was no guarantee Dunbar would be drafted. George says the house was packed with more than 60 relatives and friends, some from Haltom and others from New Orleans. Late in the draft, Dunbar received a call from the Cowboys letting him know they were interested in signing him as a free agent, if no one drafted him.
“By the time the draft ended the process was already rolling,” George says.
So does Dunbar have the goods to stick with the Cowboys? Well, George believes that if anyone can overcome the long odds that face any undrafted free agent, it’s Dunbar, who says he loves competition. McCarney compares Dunbar to a player he coached while an assistant at Iowa, Ronnie Harmon. Harmon carved out a 12-year NFL career in which he gained nearly 9,000 yards. McCarney says Dunbar has similar strength, hands and versatility.
The Cowboys are intrigued. Peete likes Dunbar’s pass receiving skills, decision-making and quick adjustment to learning NFL schemes. Dunbar spent plenty of time with the second team offense in the ramp-up to training camp.
The man Dunbar replaced in the Mean Green record book, Cobbs, was an undrafted free agent coming out of college. Before spending 2011 on New Orleans’ injured reserve list, he played five seasons as a backup running back and special teams star for several teams, including Miami, where he served as a captain in 2010.
What lies ahead for Dunbar? We’ll just have to wait and see. But his circuitous path in life and to the NFL has proven he can overcome just about anything.
“Thank God for the opportunity to be here in Texas, a football state,” Jones says. “I think it was an act of God that placed us here because we could have gone back home.”
Courtesy: Matthew Postins | Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine
This story originally appeared in Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. For subscription information, please click here.
IRVING, Texas – Nothing is ever final when it comes to the roster.
After cutting 23 players to get down to the 53-man limit Saturday night, the Dallas Cowboys made more moves Saturday, just before their first regular-season practice in preparation for the Giants.
The Cowboys have claimed tight end Colin Cochart (6-4, 260) off waivers from the Bengals. In doing so, they have officially waived quarterback Stephen McGee, who initially survived Friday night’s cuts.
Minutes earlier, coach Jason Garrett was asked in his Saturday morning press conference about keeping three quarterbacks on the roster. He said they valued the position and McGee, but Garrett also hinted that it’s the time of year to make tough decisions.
The addition of Cochart could be an indicator of Jason Witten’s availability for Wednesday’s game with the Giants. Witten is expected to practice Saturday for the first time since suffering the lacerated spleen injury.
Cochart played in 10 games last year as a rookie in Cincinnati, including three starts. Considered more of a blocker, Cochart caught five passes for 44 yards and one touchdown in 2011.
The Cowboys have also re-signed eight players to the practice squad, virtually getting everyone back they wanted. The squad includes:
- RB Lance Dunbar
- RB Jamize Olawale
- DT Robert Calloway
- WR Danny Coale
- LB Orie Lemon
- DE Ben Bass
- WR Tim Benford
- G Ronald Leary
Five of the eight players were undrafted rookies.
Aug. 31 — Cutdown to maximum 53 players.
Sept. 1 — Practice squads can be established.
Sept. 5 — Regular-season opener, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants.
Sept. 9-10 — First full regular-season weekend.
Oct. 16 — Fall league meeting, Chicago.
Oct. 16 — Trade deadline (4 p.m. ET)