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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

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Report: Center Travis Frederick Undergoing Shoulder Evaluation

Kevin Brady

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Travis Frederick

After missing the team's walkthrough this morning, it is being reported that Dallas Cowboys starting center Travis Frederick is having his shoulder evaluated due to multiple stingers. According to reports, Frederick has been dealing with stingers all training camp, and the Cowboys are unsure what is wrong with his shoulder.

Frederick rarely misses any practice time at all, and has not missed a start since he entered the league in 2013. He's the catalyst of this offensive line, and will be greatly missed if his injury is severe enough to make him miss regular season game time.

David Helman on Twitter

Jason Garrett says Travis Frederick is getting his shoulder looked at in Los Angeles. He's been dealing with stingers. No update behind that #cowboyswire

Joe Looney has been tasked with replacing Frederick for the time being, taking first team center reps during today's walk through and practice.

Given how meaningless Saturday's game is, I'd expect Looney to start at center against the Bengals this weekend as well. Hopefully the evaluation reveals that Frederick's issues are not serious and he will be ready for game one, but consistent stingers will always make fans fear for the worst.



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Cowboys G Marcus Martin Needs Surgery; Impact on 53-Man Roster

Jess Haynie

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Marcus Martin
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Martin, the veteran guard Dallas signed as a free agent last March, suffered a potential season-ending injury in the team's preseason opener last Thursday night. Just how long he'll be out is still be determined, but it still should impact the Cowboys' final 53-man roster this season.

Martin tore ligaments in his right big toe against the 49ers. However, as of yesterday, it was not decided if he would pursue surgery.

Brandon George on Twitter

The Cowboys don't expect backup OG Marcus Martin to play this season after he tore ligaments in his big toe in the preseason opener, but he's seeking a 2nd opinion before deciding whether to have surgery. Martin signed a 1-year deal with Dallas as a free agent this offseason.

A former third-round pick in 2014, the 24-year-old was brought in as a potential reserve at both guard at center. He was still in competition with Joe Looney and others for a roster spot, though, and his minimal one-year contract suggested nothing was guaranteed.

Even if Martin doesn't have surgery, he is almost sure to miss the start of the season. Dallas would likely place him on injured reserve, but still have the option to recall him after Week 8.

Marcus' absence all but guarantees that Looney will return in 2018. This will be his third year in the system and his ability to play center is critical.

In my 53-man roster projection last week, I had both Looney and Martin making the team. So if I had that right, that means a spot has opened up for probably fifth-year veteran Kadeem Edwards, who was playing with the second unit in the preseason opener.

The notorious Chaz Green, who has played guard at times, could also be the beneficiary of the open roster spot.

Damien Mama, an undrafted free agent in 2017 who Dallas added this offseason, is the only other guard currently on the roster. We should get to see more of him as the preseason continues.

Marcus Martin's availability, or lack thereof, and how it ultimately impacts the roster will be determined in the coming weeks.



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Player News

LB Jaylon Smith 100% Healthy Entering 2018 Season

Brian Martin

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#DALvsIND: 5 Cowboys Storylines To Watch In Preseason Week 2 1

If you need any more reason to be excited about the Dallas Cowboys upcoming 2018 season, then look no further than their 2016 second-round draft pick, Jaylon Smith. His comeback story from the devastating knee injury he sustained in his last collegiate game at Notre Dame has been well-documented, but recent news suggests his journey has finally come full circle.

Once considered a top-five pick, Smith saw his draft stock plummet due to concerns he may never be able to step foot on the field ever again. Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys were willing to gamble he would be able to make a full recovery and once again become the player he was with the Fighting Irish.

The long and grueling rehab process couldn't have been easy to endure. Jaylon Smith was forced to pretty much redshirt his rookie season and played on a pitch count Year 2 while he continued to rehab, waiting for nerve regeneration that may never fully heal.

Luckily for him, he joined a team with a really good support system both on and off the field. A support system that just so happened to include his brother, Running Back Rod Smith. It's that support system that could have made a huge difference in his approach to rehab. An approach that may have finally paid off.

Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith

Dallas Cowboys LBs Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith

All reports indicate Jaylon Smith is 100% healthy once again, or as close to it as possible. Rod Smith, his brother, said Jaylon is back to being as good as he was at Notre Dame. Jaylon however said he is even better than he was. But, they are not the only ones weighing in on Smith's health.

Scouting Director Will McClay went on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio Monday morning and declared LB Jaylon 100 percent healthy from the injury he suffered in college that kept him out his rookie season in 2016 and had him on a pitch count in 2017.

Will McClay isn't the only one that has noticed a difference in Jaylon Smith. Head Coach Jason Garrett has said Smith has grown leaps and bounds from last year and are treating him like a player with no limitations.

"Again, he worked hard in his rehab. Coming into this off-season he was able to take that brace off. I think that's freed him up a little bit," Garrett said.

"And he just looks much more natural. So again, you'll have to ask him that very question, but from our point of view, he looks like he's moving around really well, changing direction really well, making a lot of plays. I think he's gaining more confidence with each day. We really don't have a plan for him right now. He's full-go and ready to practice every day with no limitation."

All of these accounts certainly make it sound like Jaylon Smith's arrow is trending upwards and that he is as healthy as he has been since joining the Dallas Cowboys.

Luckily, we don't have long to see him in action. I don't know about you, but Thursday night when the Cowboys take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Week 1 of the NFL Preseason can't get here soon enough.

Are you excited to see a 100% healthy Jaylon Smith this season?



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