Move over, Adam Schefter.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy played the role of NFL news-breaker amid Thursday’s press conference at The Star, announcing that unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford is hanging up his cleats after eight seasons.
“He’s going to retire,” McCarthy told reporters.
With the veteran’s body having been “through the ringer,” as the Dallas Morning News put it, Crawford’s decision was expected following 2019 dual hip surgery which limited the 31-year-old to just three starts last season.
Mike Fisher of CowboysSI.com first reported in January that Crawford was mulling retirement.
“The Dallas Cowboys, in New York today hoping for a win and a chance to extend their way into the playoffs, hope this NFL Week 17 Sunday doesn’t mark their final game of the season. But if it does, it might mean the final game of stalwart defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford’s career,” Fisher wrote.
“Crawford, 31, is considering retirement following the 2020 season, a possible closing of the book of a nine-year career that has seen him serve as a versatile ‘big daddy’ leader of the Dallas defensive line.”
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A 2012 third-round draft pick, Crawford finished out the $45 million contract extension he inked in 2015. The Boise State product was surprisingly retained last year despite his $9.1 million salary cap number and Dallas’ acquisition of defensive linemen Gerald McCoy, Everson Griffen, and Bradlee Anae as bookends to $105 million pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence.
Named the Cowboys’ most overpaid player by Bleacher Report last offseason, Crawford appeared in all 16 games but was noticeably hamstrung by his surgically-repaired hips, tallying seven solo tackles, four quarterback hits, and 2.0 sacks across 445 defensive snaps. He was deployed as a rotational contributor along with Anae, Dorance Armstrong, and Ron’Dell Carter after McCoy was lost to season-ending injury and Griffen was traded to Detroit.
Altogether, Crawford totaled 194 combined tackles (120 solo, 33 for loss), 65 quarterback hits, 25.0 sacks, six pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three recoveries over 112 career games (79 starts) for the Cowboys from 2012-2020.
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Door Cracked for Aldon Smith?
It was reported Wednesday that Dallas informed free agent edge rusher Aldon Smith that he won’t be re-signed. That might have been jumping the gun, according to McCarthy, who did not outright dismiss Smith’s return in 2021.
“That’s still fluid. I personally haven’t moved on. We’re still talking there,” he said, via Pro Football Talk.
The star-crossed ex-Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro flashed some of his prior form in 2020, collecting 48 tackles (31 solo), 14 quarterback hits, and 5.0 sacks (second-most on the team) across 809 snaps (73%).
The Dallas Morning News reported Monday that although Smith fits new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s scheme, the team was “still trying to figure out if they want him to return.”
Smith currently is among eight unsigned Cowboys players toiling away in unrestricted free agency, a pool that includes former starting safety Xavier Woods and veteran linebacker Sean Lee.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL