The Dallas Cowboys may have ignited a kicker controversy this week by signing Lirim Hajrullahu to the practice squad. The kicker was brought in briefly by the team during the preseason to fill in for injured players. After starting place kicker Greg Zuerlein missed two field goals and an extra point in the teams two-point loss at Tampa Bay, the Cowboys coaching staff may be preparing to sit Zuerlein.
Last offseason, Zuerlein underwent a back surgery that prevented him from kicking in the preseason. He had little kicking time in practice as he was rehabbing. Commentators on Sunday said that he looked unprepared for the game. Should the kicking game continue to be a problem, it looks like the coaching staff will be prepared to move on.
Two players came off the Injury/Covid list which requires moving roster pieces around to maintain a 53-man roster. Players undergoing Covid protocol do not count toward a team’s full roster. Guard Zack Martin and backup offensive lineman Brandon Knight have both been activated from the Covid list, while starting defensive lineman Randy Gregory was placed in Covid-19 protocol on Monday. Knight is expected to start Sunday at right tackle.
USA Today reported that Gregory tested positive for the virus. The source says he is asymptomatic and fully vaccinated, so his return may be possible before the Cowboys travel to Southern California to face the Los Angeles Chargers.
League rules require that players who test positive for Covid-19 must be isolated from the team while symptomatic. Asymptomatic players who are vaccinated may return to the team after 48 hours and testing negative twice no less than 24 hours apart. Unvaccinated players must be isolated for 10 days prior to testing negative.
As expected, wide receiver Michael Gallup was placed on IR after he exited the game against the Buccaneers with a lower leg injury. The injury is being listed as a calf strain by the team. Gallup, who started behind Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, showed promise in the game before the injury. He had four grabs for 36-yards in the game.
With Gallup on IR and Gregory on Covid protocol, the Cowboys did not have to remove any players from the roster when Martin and Knight were reinstated. Instead, the team took an opportunity to shuffle practice squad players.
In addition to adding Hajrullahu to the practice squad, the Cowboys added wide receiver Robert Foster. Defensive backs, Deante Burton and Darian Thompson, were removed from the practice team to make room for the new additions. Teams are allowed to carry 16 players on the practice squad this year.
The team will likely be without offensive tackle La’el Collins, who was given a five-game suspension this week by the NFL for failing to appear for seven drug tests. He is appealing the suspension, but it is unlikely he will be available against Los Angeles.