The Dallas Cowboys brought back a familiar face to the Valley Ranch complex today, hoping to find some help on special teams and possibly cornerback depth.
Bryan McCann, who played for the team in 2010 and actually spent two training camps with the Cowboys, worked out for coaches, scouts and front-office personnel.
The Cowboys have an open spot on the 53-man roster after cutting cornerback LeQuan Lewis this week. Lewis played the last two games, mostly on special teams but was called into duty on defense.
Coach Jason Garrett said this week the Cowboys needed that spot to provide more on special teams than Lewis was able to. McCann has experience not only to cover kicks, but also in the return game.
McCann has played 11 games with the Cowboys, including nine as a rookie in 2010. He’s remembered most for his two long touchdown returns in consecutive weeks, starting with a 101-yard interception runback against the Giants in Jason Garrett’s first game as interim head coach.
The next week against the Lions, McCann alertly knew the NFL rulebook well enough to know he could scoop up a deflected punt without jeopardy of fumbling, and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown in the Cowboys’ win over Detroit.
McCann was cut two games into the 2011 season, picked up by the Ravens for three games before finishing year in Oakland. McCann spent training camp with the Raiders this season and played against the Cowboys in the preseason opener.
He has a 24.2 yard kick return average and 15.9 on punt returns in his career.
UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys opt not to sign CB Bryan McCann
The Cowboys worked out cornerback Bryan McCann on Thursday but they have determined they won’t sign him. Management has no immediate plans to bring anyone else in but it is discussing its options.
McCann, 25, is a former member of the team who last played for Oakland before being cut by the Raiders in early September.
After taking another look at McCann more than a year later, the Cowboys decided against bringing him back.
IRVING, Texas – The bye week typically is a time for a few tweaks and changes, especially after a tough loss like the Cowboys had Monday night against the Bears, falling to 2-2.
Expect a few roster alterations to either the 53-man roster and/or the practice squad before the Oct. 14 game in Baltimore.
The Cowboys made on Tuesday, waiving cornerback LeQuan Lewis from the roster, dropping the roster down to 52 players. Obviously, the move was made to add another player although the Cowboys didn’t officially announce a roster addition. The Cowboys might use it to bring back safety Mana Silva, who was released a week ago.
Lewis, who was added from the Jets’ practice squad two weeks ago, played in the last two games, mostly on special teams. He was forced into action near the end of the Tampa Bay game on Sept. 23, playing cornerback in nickel situations as the Bucs were throwing into the end zone to try and claw back into the game.
The speedster was the gunner on the punt team and one of the middle players on the kickoff coverage units as well. Brought in three weeks ago as they were getting ready to face Seattle’s return ace, Leon Washington. Monday night, they got past Chicago’s Devin Hester.
Lewis had one tackle and one pass defensed in the regular defense.
IRVING, Texas – LeQuan Lewis was not brought into the organization with defensive reps in mind. Lewis is expected to prove his worth as a special teams contributor, head coach Jason Garrett confirmed Wednesday morning.
“He was actually released by the Jets, but he was a guy that we targeted as a special teams guy,” Garrett said. “So we brought him in here, see how he fits on our 53-man roster and then our 46-man roster.”
Lewis, who has never play in a regular season NFL game, after being cut by the Titans in 2011 and by the Raiders and Jets this summer, talked about how excited he is to be given an opportunity with the Cowboys. He said he plans to take full advantage of every moment of practice and any snaps he might get against Seattle.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Lewis said. “I really appreciate what this organization is doing with me. Everyone’s being welcoming and it feels great.”
The Cowboys are coming into Sunday’s game with an increased emphasis on special teams due to Seattle’s success in that area under coach, Pete Carroll. Specifically the Cowboys have to worry about the danger of kick returner Leon Washington, who holds three separate franchise records for kick returns.
Garrett talked about the danger that Leon Washington can pose.
“He’s a great returner,” Garrett said. “Has been a great returner since day one in this league. He’s a difference-making player for them.”
If Lewis’ name is indeed called on come Sunday, he will be expected to help contain Washington’s return game. Lewis talked about the potential of coming in and making an immediate impact in a game.
“I definitely want to set a footprint in and just go out there and make plays right away,” Lewis said. “I’m going out there to prove them right for bringing me here.”
As someone who has always played the position of cornerback, Lewis discussed the mindset of making special teams his focus.
“Go out there and make plays,” Lewis said. “They brought me over to play special teams right away, and so I have to learn that system and make plays. Corner will come when it comes … special teams will be the emphasis.”
With one mistake by the coverage team, Washington can change a game, so it may pay off for the Cowboys to bring in a special teams player with the right attitude.
“I have no fears whatsoever,” Lewis said. “I have nothing to lose. I’m going to go down there and play my heart out.”
RELATED POSTS ON THE BOYS ARE BACK BLOG:
Last year, it seemed like whoever the Cowboys brought in during the regular season, it was smart move.
Laurent Robinson wasn’t just a steal, but one of the best pickups off the street you will ever see on any team. The guy had four touchdowns in four years and he gets 11 in 14 games.
But he wasn’t the only one. Tony Fiammetta started games at fullback, while Frank Walker was a big addition in the secondary. Even tailback Sammy Morris helped out when DeMarco Murray went down.
PHOTO: The three Garrett brothers played football at Princeton in the late 80’s. In 1987, the three played together for the Princeton Tigers. From left to right, Judd, Jason, and John.
Now, the guys in the Pro Scouting Department – Judd Garrett and Will McClay are at it again. Trading for Ryan Cook seemed like a nice cushion to the interior line. That’s before Phil Costa played just three snaps against the Giants and now will be out a while.
Cook is THE guy at center and the Cowboys seemingly made a nice call with him, especially since he’s been mostly a guard and tackle during his seven years in the league. But they saw enough of him at center, and obviously trusted former Cowboys scouting director Jeff Ireland, who is the GM in Miami and traded him to Dallas for the seventh-round pick.
What they did last year on the fly to get Robinson, Fiammetta, Walker and company, coupled with this free agent period in March to get Brandon Carr, Kyle Orton, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Nate Livings and Dan Connor, suggests those pro scouts have a good feel for what the coaching staff is looking for.
And that only makes sense considering Judd Garrett is running the pro scouting department and happens to be the brother of the head coach.
But already Cook looks to be a good pickup, and it makes me think the addition of cornerback LeQuan Lewis should be rather helpful, too.
RELATED: Everything you ever wanted to know about Judd Garrett, and more!
Judd Garrett (born June 25, 1967) is a former coach and running back. He is currently the director of pro scouting for the Dallas Cowboys.
Playing career: Early years
Judd Garrett went to high school at University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio, where he earned a varsity letter in football, basketball, and baseball. He was named Most Valuable Player in all three sports his senior year. In football, as a senior, Garrett gained a school record 2,011 yards rushing and scored 35 touchdowns. He was selected first team all-state and he won the Cleveland Touchdown Club’s Lou Groza Award which is given to the Most Valuable Player in Northeast Ohio. Garrett graduated from University School in 1985.
Prior to University School, Garrett attended grade school at Saint Ann’s Catholic School which is located in Cleveland Heights, Ohio from 1978-1981. His three years at Saint Ann’s, Garrett played in three consecutive City Championship Football Games and his team won the City Championship in 1979.
Garrett is a 1990 graduate of Princeton University where he was a three year starter at running back. In his three seasons, Garrett gained 3,109 yards rushing, caught 137 passes and scored 41 touchdowns. In his senior year, Garrett lead the Tigers to their first Ivy League championship in 20 years. Following his senior season, Garrett was awarded the Asa S. Bushnell Cup which is given to the Ivy League Player of the Year, and he was selected to the Division 1-AA All-American team. He played in the 1990 Hula Bowl where he scored the first touchdown of the game. He also represented the Ivy League with a group of 40 league All-Stars in the Epson Ivy Bowl in Tokyo Japan vs. a team of Japanese All-Stars.
Garrett was drafted in the 12th round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. After being released by the Eagles, Garrett spent part of the 1990 season on the Dallas Cowboy’s injured reserve list. Garrett then played the next two seasons (1991–1992) with the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football. His first season in London, he led the league in receptions with 71 while helping the team amass an 11-1 record and the first ever World Bowl Championship. In that championship game, Garrett set a World Bowl record of 13 receptions and caught the game sealing touchdown with less than a minute left in the first half. After the 1991 season, Garrett was selected to the All-World League team. Following his two seasons in the World League, Garrett spent the 1993 season on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, earning a Super Bowl ring. He finished his playing career with two stints in the Canadian Football League with the Las Vegas Posse (1994) and the San Antonio Texans (1995).
Garrett started his NFL coaching career as an offensive assistant with the New Orleans Saints under Mike Ditka from 1997-1999. After leaving the Saints, Garrett spent six seasons with Miami Dolphins from 2000–2005, as an assistant coach under Dave Wannstedt and Nick Saban during which time the Dolphins had five winning seasons, won a Division Title and two playoff appearances. After the 2005 season, Garrett was hired by the St. Louis Rams to coach tight ends. He stayed with the Rams from 2006-2007. He was hired by the Dallas Cowboys as the director of pro scouting in May 2008.
Judd Garrett was married to the former Kathleen Kobler, an all-American soccer player at Princeton University, for 14 years, and together they had four children, Calvin, Frances, Campbell and Kassity. Kathy died unexpectedly on August 19, 2007 from a heart attack.
His father (Jim Garrett) was an assistant coach for the New York Giants (1970–1973), New Orleans Saints (1976–77), and Cleveland Browns (1978–84), head coach of the Houston Texans of the fledgling WFL (1974), and head football coach at Columbia University (1985). From 1987-2004, he served as a scout for the Dallas Cowboys
Career highlights and awards
The Dallas Cowboys signed cornerback LeQuan Lewis today to fill the roster spot of released tight end Colin Cochart.
Lewis signed with the Titans as an undrafted rookie free agent from Arizona State. He was released at the end of training camp that season and was out of football the rest of the year. He signed with the Raiders on May 15, 2012, was released June 22 and signed with the Jets on Aug. 15. He was on the Jets’ practice squad Sept. 4 before being released Tuesday.
Coach Jason Garrett said the team targeted Lewis because of his strength on special teams.
Look for him to be active against the Seattle this weekend and be part of the coverage units trying to contain Seahawks dangerous returner Leon Washington.
Washington had a kickoff return of 83 yards and a punt return of 52 yards, leading to 10 points in the 20-16 loss to the Cardinals last week.
“You certainly want to limit his opportunities any way you can,” Garrett said. “The kickers and the punters play a big role in this game. There’s no question about that. But we have to go cover it. There’s no expectation that we can just take him out of the game by just kicking the ball through the end zone or whatever the case might be. We have to plan to practice really well in preparing for him, because again, he’s a difference-making player for their football team. We’ve got to get ready to cover well and certainly the kickers and the punters have a big job in this league in terms of how to kick the ball to give us favorable covering opportunities.”
RELATED: Jason Garrett Press Conference 09/12
Jason Garrett speaks to the media at Valley Ranch as his team prepares to take the field to begin their preparations for the Seahawks.