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Rico Gathers: Concussion Creates Roster Uncertainty

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Rico Gathers, Rams

If you are a Dallas Cowboys fan, you have a ton of reasons to be excited for the 2017 NFL season. Jason Garrett's team looks to defend their NFC East title, Dak Prescott will do nothing but improve during his sophomore season, Jaylon Smith will be on the field and... well, you get the idea.

Among all of these reasons to be excited, the possibility of Tight End Rico Gathers making the roster is one of the main ones. After spending all of 2016 with the practice squad and after impressing in the first two preseason games this year, the former basketball player seemed to have locked a roster spot.

Unfortunately, things have changed for Gathers. Since he suffered a concussion in practice prior to the Indianapolis Colts game, we haven't seen anything from him. This sure sounds like the concussion is more serious than originally thought by Cowboys Nation.

Two weeks later, as the Cowboys get ready to face the Houston Texans for the last game of the Cowboys' preseason, Rico won't be practicing or playing.

This means that more likely than not, Rico Gathers won't be making the 53 man roster to start the season.

What Does This Mean for the Team?

So what if the Cowboys decide to not use a roster spot on him? Does this mean he will be cut? Will the Cowboys ship him back to the practice squad? Is the Rico Gathers era over without even beginning? No, of course not.

David Moore on Twitter

TE Rico Gathers remains in concussion protocol. Won't practice or play this week. Opening season on IR a possibility.

If Rico Gathers doesn't make the roster, opening the season on Injured Reserve is not out of the question. This would naturally mean he won't be able to practice with the team during the first six weeks of the season and he will be out for the first eight weeks, at least. 

Could Offensive Tackle Be Rico Gathers Best Position With Dallas?

Dallas Cowboys Tight End Rico Gathers #80

The Cowboys will already use an IR spot on recently injured Anthony Hitchens but NFL teams are allowed to designate two players for return. Rico may join Hitchens in this category if he is sent to IR, and we just might get to see him play as the Cowboys try to run for a Super Bowl title.

This is not what you want when the project your team has been working for more than a year looks to be ready. But this situation would actually have a positive aspect to it.

This roster is so deep that making the final cuts will not be easy for the organization. Players like Lenny Jones, Lewis Neal, Noah Brown, Andy Jones, Duke Thomas and more are all fighting for a place on the team and some of them might get a chance with Gathers' spot up for grabs. Specially if the Cowboys decide to keep both Cooper Rush and Kellen Moore.

These young players are not the only thing the Cowboys have to keep in mind, but rather how many tight ends will they carry?

Personally, I wouldn't mind if they go with just three. Jason Witten, Geoff Swaim and James Hanna will probably be the three guys the Cowboys open the season with and they are not a bad group at all. Don't forget that Swaim was playing very good before going down injured last season. The roster is so deep, these questions are harder than usual.

The Rico Gathers story continues to be an intriguing one, and it will probably remain that way for some time.

As for now, here at Inside The Star, we wish Rico a quick recovery and hope to see him on the field wearing the Star soon.

Tell me what you think about "Rico Gathers: Concussion Creates Roster Uncertainty" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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4 Comments
  • Fatfan

    Tough to wish him to be on the field soon, and, at the same time, prefer to see him on IR (short term). I like the 3 TE’s you mentioned; but none of them have the upside in the passing game that Gather’s has. I wouldn’t mind seeing Gathers play, AND learn from Gold Jacket Witten at the same time.
    Hanna and Swaim bring more to the blocking game, with none of the TEs bringing as much as Hanna has (pre-injury)

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Yeah, it is a tough situation. Luckily, this doesn’t mean Gathers will be cut, so that upside in the passing game you mentioned will be there eventually. For now, we should be good with our TEs. Specially since our offense is so loaded.

  • dallas1966

    I think Rico will have a roster spot and be involved with the scheme of things by the end of the month of September.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      Let’s hope so! Thanks for reading

Player News

Cowboys TE James Hanna Retiring

Jess Haynie

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James Hanna

In an unexpected bit of pre-draft news, Dallas Cowboys backup tight end James Hanna will be retiring after six seasons. He was drafted by the Cowboys in sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

The news of Hanna's retirement was first reported by ESPN's Todd Archer:

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys will place James Hanna on the reserve/retired list as the tight end could not get over a serious knee condition that troubled him for most of the last two seasons, according to sources. Hanna was not involved in the early part of the team's... https://t.co/45BAZ2avSC

Hanna, who turns 29 in July, missed all of 2016 with that knee issue and has had two surgeries. He was active for all 16 games last season but wasn't used much on offense, only having four catches. James did catch his first and only NFL touchdown in the team's Week 4 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Many thought Hanna would be a salary cap casualty this offseason, but a retirement has the same effect on the cap. The Cowboys now save $2.75 million off his scheduled $3.5 mullion cap hit in 2018.

James Hanna has stuck around this long thanks to being a proficient blocker and one of the standout players on special teams. Geoff Swaim, entering the final year of his rookie deal, will likely be trusted to fill those roles.

That said, tight end was already a targeted position for the Cowboys in next week's draft. Losing Hanna only give the team more incentive to add more talent.


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Player News

Optimistic Reports Emerge Around Randy Gregory

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

Good news are coming to Dallas just in time. Less than a week from now, the NFL Draft will be held in the Cowboys' home, the AT&T Stadium. But the team may count with a defensive talent many in Cowboys Nation have tried to forget for a while now. Randy Gregory's comeback may just happen.

There's a lot of positions in the roster that need more help than the defensive end one, but after finding the "War Daddy" Jerry Jones has always wanted in DeMarcus Lawrence, finding a RDE this offseason would be a dream scenario.

Sure, there's a lot of young talent in this football team and they'll be coming off a season that put a chip on their shoulders. Even so, they'll need all the help they can get.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, some help could come in form of a very talented pass rusher. Randy Gregory is reportedly applying for reinstatement very soon and according to Mike Fisher and Bobby Belt, there are positive reports around the situation.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

Randy Gregory update: I'm told there is real momentum building. He is expected to apply for reinstatement in the week or two following next week's NFL Draft.

Cowboys Nation last saw the second round pick back in 2016, but his potential shouldn't be forgotten. Of course, the Cowboys shouldn't be considering Gregory for their 2018 plans, simply because there's risk of him not being available.

Even still, Dallas may get lucky at defensive end. After DeMarcus Lawrence has a breakout season in 2017, imagine the defensive line with Randy Gregory reinstated and rehabilitated to exploit his talent in the NFL.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

UPDATE: We're told Randy Gregory camp is ready to present to NFL the fact the #Cowboys DE has passed a large number of drug tests, hasn't failed one since July 2016. https://t.co/Hjgu2CqRtC

Despite some TMZ "reports", it looks like Gregory has been clean for a while. It sure should make Cowboys' fans happy and not only form a football perspective. A comeback would definitely be something amazing. He has a chance to write a unique story for himself.

Everyone likes second-chance stories. Gregory is a guy who had his share of problems. By coming back to the NFL, he's showing players and fans that change is possible. This wouldn't just be epic for Dallas Cowboys fans but NFL fans in general.

If Dallas is fortunate enough to see Gregory reinstated by the NFL, their fight in the trenches might see a big upgrade next season. Randy still has a lot to work on and he might not even be a starter right away, but the potential is right there.

The Cowboys could become a team capable of dominating the line of scrimmage both on offense and on defense.

Hopefully, Gregory is able to come back and shine as a professional player. He, and NFL fans deserve a story like that.

Tell me what you think about "Optimistic Reports Emerge Around Randy Gregory" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Player News

BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys DT David Irving Reports to Voluntary Workouts

John Williams

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Could Any of These 3 Cowboys Disappoint Cowboys Nation in 2017?

2018 gets better by the day as the NFL takes another step closer to the regular season with the beginning of team voluntary workouts. The Dallas Cowboys have their first voluntary workout today at The Star.

Clarence Hill Jr. is reporting that Dallas Cowboys' restricted free agent Defensive Tackle David Irving has shown up for the first day of workouts.

Clarence Hill Jr on Twitter

Cowboys DT David Irving has yet to sign his rfa tender but he did show up for first day offseason program, per source, for those questioning his commitment

Irving who was second on the team in sacks for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 with seven, while only playing in 8 games, hasn't yet signed his restricted free agent tender.

Todd Archer from ESPN is reporting that David Irving expects to sign his RFA tender after today's workout guaranteeing him the second round tender figure of $2.91 million for 2018.

Todd Archer on Twitter

David Irving is expected to sign his restricted free agent tender today after the first workouts of the Cowboys' offseason program. Irving, who had seven sacks in eight games last season, will make $2.91 million. He is scheduled to become an... https://t.co/2EcPJ71OOe

As someone with as much production as Irving has had in the last couple of years, it's a bit surprising that teams around the NFL haven't jumped on that kind of interior presence. Teams looking for a player of Irving's caliber can still extend an offer sheet for the defensive tackle's services, but would have to give Dallas their 2018 second round pick.

The Dallas Cowboys would have the option of matching any offer sheet that David Irving signs. Perhaps they've indicated their intention to do so, given Irving's presence at the first day of practice.

It was quite a gamble, as many around Cowboys Nation believed that a team would quickly exchange a second round pick for Irving, but no one has offered him a contract to sign him away from the Cowboys.

David Irving has received criticism for his consistency after the 2016 season, but really found a stride in 2017 until a concussion derailed him toward the end of the season.

It's a great sign for the Dallas Cowboys that he's shown up ready to work for the 2018 season. David Irving is absolutely an ascending player and the sky is the limit for this defense with him as a part of it.


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