Cowboys Release Kicker, Address Greg Zuerlein’s Future

Cowboys Rumors

Getty Mike McCarthy made his feelings clear.

What a difference one week makes as Greg Zuerlein received the game ball after kicking the winning field goal for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. One week ago, the Cowboys signed Lirim Hajrullahu to the team’s practice squad sending a not-so-subtle message to Zuerlein. For the second time in a month, the Cowboys are releasing Hajrullahu, a sign that the Cowboys are sticking by Zuerlein moving forward despite his shaky start to the season.

“After Greg Zuerlein made a game-winning 56-yard FG on Sunday vs. Chargers, Cowboys are releasing kicker Lirim Hajrullahu from practice squad, source said,” The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken tweeted. “A one-week stay on 17-man unit for Hajrullahu, who provided Cowboys depth following Zuerlein’s Week 1 struggles.”

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McCarthy Called Zuerlein a ‘Super Bowl Caliber’ Kicker

Even after his Week 1 struggles, the Cowboys expressed confidence in Zuerlein moving forward but the addition of Hajrullahu showed the team was at least prepared to move on from their starting kicker if he continued to struggle. Minutes after Zuerlein nailed the game-winning kick, McCarthy described him as a “Super Bowl-caliber champion type kicker.”

“Especially, off of what Greg went through last week, you can see why we have confidence in him,” McCarthy told reporters. “It’s good skies, he kicks field goals to put teams in the Super Bowl, and I think he’s definitely a Super Bowl-caliber champion type kicker. So, he hit two big ones today, and he hit the money one right at the end.”

The Cowboys Awarded Zuerlein With the Game Ball After the Team’s Win Over the Chargers

After the win, the Cowboys awarded Zuerlein with the game ball in the locker room. McCarthy was asked if the team had more confidence in Zuerlein after his Week 2 outing.

“Well, he made the game-winning field goal, so it was pretty easy [to give him the game ball],” McCarthy noted in his Week 3 press conference. “He had a great week, and I think, like all of us, he’s our teammate. He’s our brother. You obviously want to win the game and for him to have that success, he definitely earned it. He also won the game ball for special teams this week.”

One more made field goal likely would have given the Cowboys a win over the Bucs. Heading into Week 2, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sounded like a man that was not going to exercise the same amount of patience with Zuerlein throughout the entire season. Zuerlein missed training camp as he recovered from back surgery.

“I felt like we really paid the price of not having our kicker in training camp,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan, per USA Today. “I look back and when you don’t have a kicker that’s real active in training camp, you may be kidding yourself in early ball games is he really ready to go. The loss isn’t to be blamed on the kicker. But still, if we had had some execution on (some) of those kicks, it might have made a big difference here.”

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