The infraction may have cost Anae his job, the official team website speculated Tuesday in announcing the roster move.
Anae drew a costly offside penalty in the second quarter of Sunday’s win against Minnesota. With the Vikings facing a 4th-and-5 from their own 30-yard line and punting, Anae jumped early and afforded the Minnesota offense a new opportunity. The Vikings would ultimately move the ball into range for a 45-yard field goal, extending their lead to 10-3.
A fifth-round pick (No. 179 overall) of the 2020 NFL draft, Anae was held off the stat sheet and did not record a defensive snap in Sunday’s 20-16 victory over the Vikings. The 23-year-old posted two solo tackles across four appearances this season, working as a deep reserve behind DEs Randy Gregory and Tarell Basham.
He received a public chiding from special teams coordinator John Fassel following the blunder.
“Get the football, and that’s a bad penalty,” Fassel said Monday, via the Dallas Morning News. “That’s a bad penalty. Fourth-and-five, and, you know, it’s just a bad penalty.”
The Cowboys’ website indicated that Anae could return via the practice squad if he clears waivers on Wednesday.
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Cox Sent to IR
In addition to waiving Anae, the Cowboys on Tuesday also placed rookie linebacker Jabril Cox on its season-ending injured reserve list. Cox suffered a torn right ACL at Minnesota and will undergo corrective surgery. His injury initially was classified as a knee sprain before an MRI confirmed the severity.
Cox was selected in the fourth round of April’s draft. The LSU product appeared in seven games, notching two tackles. He was a bigger contributor on special teams where he logged 123 snaps (62%) for Fassel.
With Cox done for the year, the Cowboys will move forward with starting LBs Micah Parsons, Keanu Neal, and Leighton Vander Esch and primary backups Azur Kamara and Luke Gifford.
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Lawrence Making ‘Tremendous Progress’
The departures of Anae and Cox create two vacancies on Dallas’ 53-man roster, and there are three injured players set to fill them: wide receiver Michael Gallup and defensive linemen Neville Gallimore and DeMarcus Lawrence.
Lawrence, who fractured the fifth metatarsal in his foot during a September practice, remains a few weeks away from returning to action, same as Gallimore. But team owner/general manager Jerry Jones reaffirmed the $105 million pass-rusher is making “tremendous progress” in his recovery.
“Of course, what we have to fear on [Lawrence] is when he gets out there because he doesn’t know but one gear, and that is all out,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan, via the Dallas Morning News.
Gallup, sidelined since the season opener with a calf strain, practiced last week and appears likely to suit up for Sunday’s home contest against the Denver Broncos.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL