Cowboys Release Veteran Player Days Before Must-Win Season Finale

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Getty Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

The Dallas Cowboys made a tweak to their active roster ahead of Sunday’s regular-season climax against the New York Giants.

Veteran offensive tackle Jordan Mills was waived Tuesday, the team announced.

Mills joined the Cowboys on Sept. 29, signing to the practice squad following injuries to starting tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, both of whom have missed the entire 2020 campaign. The 29-year-old arrived in Frisco after a one-and-done stint with the Arizona Cardinals; he made three appearances last year before landing on injured reserve.

He was promoted to the 53-man squad on Dec. 17 but did not play a snap prior to his release.

A 2013 fifth-round pick of the Chicago Bears and something of a journeyman, Mills has started 84 career games, primarily at right tackle, split between the Bears (2013-14), Cowboys (2015), Lions (2015), Bills (2015-18), Dolphins (2019), and Cardinals.

The move whittles the 6-9 Cowboys down to eight offensive linemen — just three Ts (Terence Steele, Brandon Knight, Greg Senat) — for Week 17. The team must defeat the Giants and have Philadelphia beat Washington in order to clinch a playoff berth as NFC East champions.

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Martin Unlikely to Go?

When All-Pro right guard Zack Martin was sent to IR on Dec. 7, due to a severe calf strain, he was expected to sit out Dallas’ remaining regular-season contests. Unfortunately for the surging club, that prognosis hasn’t changed much, per owner/general manager Jerry Jones.

“He’s made a difference on any team he’s ever been on, but this one he can make a tremendous difference,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “It’s unlikely that we can have him this week, but in the future we could push it and it would give us a dramatic upgrade.”

As alluded, however, it’s possible that Martin will be activated from the injured list if the Cowboys manage to sneak into the postseason. They would host a game on Wild Card weekend, next Saturday or Sunday, potentially giving Martin enough time to adequately mend his ailment.

“I’m dubious that he can be there this week, but I’m not about the future weeks,” he said. “We’ve got a chance in the future. He will make, and can make, such a difference in this football team.”

Jones added: “It really is the reason for a real optimistic thought about what happens if we could get in the playoffs. It’s a real, valid, tangible thing to hang your hat on. He could change what we look like out there.”

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Zeke Rips Fans Who ‘Gave Up’ on Cowboys

“Because I am a competitor,” Ezekiel Elliott prefaced, the Cowboys’ star running back lobbed an extremely pointed message at the detractors who not long ago left the team for dead — the same team that now is staring down a division crown.

“If you gave up five, six weeks ago, we don’t even want you on our side,” Elliott said following Sunday’s 37-17 win over Philadelphia, via “I mean, we are competitors. This whole team is. We are a team of competitors. I mean, we weren’t out of it. All we have to do is, we’ve got to win next weekend and we need a little help from the guys we just played. But, you know, I like how this team is playing football right now. Coach McCarthy said his plan was for us to trend up through the season. And right now, I think we’re catching fire at the right time.”

Vindication never felt so good for Elliott, who turned back the clock in his return to the starting lineup. The three-time Pro Bowler, after missing Week 15 with a calf injury, exploded for a game-high 105 rushing yards on 19 carries amid Dallas’ third straight win. Elliott looked like a man reborn, averaging 5.5 yards-per-tote and busting a 31-yard fourth-quarter scamper he punctuated with his signature “feed me” celebration.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL