The Dallas Cowboys are looking at all available avenues to improve their kicking situation. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the Cowboys have agreed to terms with former CFL all-star kicker Lirim Hajrullahu after a workout in Dallas. The kicker was released by the Panthers in March and would give the Cowboys some insurance behind Greg Zuerlein.
“The Cowboys are bringing in former CFL all-star kicker Lirim Hajrullahu for a workout, per source. Greg Zuerlein is on the PUP list following offseason back surgery,” Pelissero said in a series of tweets. “Hajrullahu was most recently with the Panthers. ….Update: Kicker Lirim Hajrullahu has agreed to terms with the Cowboys, per source.”
The Cowboys have struggled to find an alternative kicker as Zuerlein continues to recover from offseason back surgery. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy shot down the notion that Zuerlein sustained a setback noting he was still on track to be ready for Week 1. The kicking game has been one of the team’s biggest weaknesses in the preseason. The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken reported Hajrullahu could play against the Texans in the team’s third preseason matchup.
“Cowboys have a workout scheduled with free agent kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, source said,” Gehlken noted on Twitter. “He arrives in town on Wednesday morning. Former CFL All-Star kicker and Kosovo native also can punt and kickoff. If signed, could handle FGs and kickoffs Saturday vs. Texans.”
Zuerlein Is Recovering From Back Surgery But Was Cleared to Practice Kicks
Cowboys special teams coordinator John Fassel indicated Zuerlein has already begun practicing kicks again. Fassel gave the impression that Zuerlein could even see preseason action.
“Greg has actually already started kicking,” Fassel noted on August 10th, per DallasCowboys.com. “He hasn’t done it in the group setting, but our trainers put him on a great ‘back to kicking’ protocol, if you will,” Fassel said. “About two weeks ago he started with no-step kicks, then he graduated to one-step kicks and now he’s doing full-step kicks. We’re hoping hopefully this weekend, maybe even (Friday’s) Arizona (preseason game) pre-game that he’ll hit a few operation kicks with our snapper and our holder.”
The Cowboys Released 3 Players, While Placing 2 on IR
It has been a busy week for the Cowboys as they begin the long process of cutting their roster down to what will ultimately be 53 players heading into Week 1. The Cowboys released former Texas receiver Brennan Eagles, cornerback Kyron Brown and rookie linebacker Anthony Hines. Dallas also placed fullback Sewo Olonilua and cornerback Reggie Robinson on injured reserve.
The moves brought the Cowboys’ active roster down to the required 85 players by the August 17th deadline. The Cowboys will have to cut another five players by August 24 with the final 53-man roster deadline on August 31st which will result in an additional 27 cuts aside from individuals eligible to be placed on injured reserve. The Cowboys plan to use their final preseason matchup against the Jaguars on August 29th to give snaps to players on the roster bubble.
“To me, the fourth game is for the players that are competing for the final roster spots, that’s what I believe in,” McCarthy told reporters. “I think it’s definitely the case for us this year. If you look at the way this is shaking out, it’s definitely needed across a number of different positions. So, we’ll see how the week goes, but there’s no urgency from my perspective to see Dak play in Houston.”