With Michael Gallup on injured reserve and Amari Cooper banged up, the Dallas Cowboys added some reinforcement at wide receiver.
The Cowboys signed former Cleveland Browns and New York Giants WR Damion Ratley to the practice squad, the team announced Tuesday, September 21. Kicker Lirim Hajrullahu was released in a corresponding move.
Ratley is the fourth wideout to land on Dallas’ 16-man practice squad, joining Osirus Mitchell, Brandon Smith and Robert Foster.
Excluding Cooper, who suffered bruised ribs in Sunday’s win at Los Angeles, the Cowboys head into Week 3 with four healthy receivers on the 53-player active roster: CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, Noah Brown and Simi Fehoko.
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Background on Ratley
A 2018 sixth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound pass-catcher began his NFL career in Cleveland, totaling 25 receptions for 344 yards and one touchdown across 26 games (six starts).
Following his release from the Browns last year, Ratley landed with the New York Giants, for whom he would convert four catches into 63 yards over five appearances. He ended the 2020 campaign on the Houston Texans’ active roster. Waived in March, Ratley had a cup of coffee with the Detroit Lions, who waived him on August 30.
Ratley was a three-year contributor for the Aggies from 2015 to 2017, notching 920 yards and eight touchdowns on 47 grabs. He averaged 23.1 yards per reception as a senior which boosted — if incrementally — his pre-draft stock.
“Ratley’s combination of size, athleticism, and pure speed makes him an intriguing prospect despite the fact that he managed just 47 catches over his three seasons at Texas A&M,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote in 2017. “While he has bonafide field-stretching speed, he also has the athletic ability and foot quickness to handle underneath routes as well. Ratley is raw and will need to improve his press release and routes, but his explosiveness gives him a shot at making a roster or practice squad as a late rounder or undrafted free agent.”
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Jerry Hopeful on Amari’s Availability
Speaking Tuesday, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones expressed cautious optimism that Cooper can play through his injury in Week 3 against the rival Philadelphia Eagles — a “Monday Night Football” showdown at AT&T Stadium.
“I don’t know today,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, per ESPN’s Todd Archer. “I’m hopeful those ribs can get comfortable enough for him to play by the weekend, but I don’t know.”
Cooper was shaken up following a 12-yard catch during Dallas’ final drive against the Chargers. He exited the contest and did not return, finishing with 24 yards on three receptions in the 20-17 victory.
“We’ll see Wednesday how he feels,” head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Monday, September 20, per the official team website. “I would probably put it in the classification of bruised (ribs).”
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