Dec 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts cornerback Isaiah Rodgers (34) during the second half at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys hope to maintain momentum against reeling Texans

While the discussion over whether to sign Odell Beckham Jr. continues to swirl around the Dallas Cowboys, they are about to get a critical offensive piece back as they look to catch the Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East.

Eight-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tyron Smith returned to practice Wednesday, opening his 21-day window to return after suffering a torn hamstring with an avulsion fracture before the start of the regular season.

“Anytime Tyron’s on the field, it’s a good day for the Dallas Cowboys,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’ll be great to have him back out there.”

Smith could make his season debut Sunday when the Cowboys take on the Houston Texans in Arlington, Texas.

“He’s out there striking guys,” Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott said Wednesday of Smith’s return. “Felt bad for those D-ends he was going against. … Definitely good to have Tyron back out there.”

When Smith returns, rookie Tyler Smith, who has been playing left tackle, will move to left guard, shoring up that spot in the Cowboys’ offensive line.

The Cowboys (9-3) are looking to continue the momentum they’ve built since the return of quarterback Dak Prescott from a fractured right thumb that kept him out for five games.

Since Prescott’s return, Dallas is 5-1 and averaging 37.2 points per game — best in the league during that span. The Cowboys have averaged 411 yards per game during that stretch, behind only the Chiefs.

With Dallas’ high-profile pursuit of Beckham dominating headlines recently, receiver James Washington’s return has been overshadowed.

Washington was signed in the offseason after spending four years with the Steelers but suffered a foot fracture in training camp.

“I think clearly he’s physically ready,” McCarthy said Wednesday.

While the Cowboys’ quarterback spot has been solidified with Prescott’s return, the Texans’ remains a bit in limbo.

Houston (1-10-1) is turning back to Davis Mills, after Kyle Allen replaced him for two starts without much success.

In losses to Miami and Cleveland, Allen completed 59 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and four interceptions and a lost fumble.

“We don’t give out lifetime jobs, we’ll start with that. It’s about performance each week,” Texans coach Lovie Smith said. “When Davis was the starter, sometimes you need a relief pitcher to come in, and that’s what it was.”

The Texans offense has been sluggish regardless of who the quarterback is, as Houston has scored more than 20 points in a game just once this season. Only Denver has scored fewer points.

Mills was 1-8-1 with a 78.1 passer rating in 10 starts before Allen replaced him.

“I think the second time around, you kind of appreciate the position you’re in a little bit better,” Smith said. “I know that’s the case.”

Mills could be without two of his top targets Sunday. Receivers Brandin Cooks (calf) and Nico Collins (foot) have both missed time in practice in the lead-up to the matchup with the Cowboys.

Cooks missed last week’s loss to Cleveland while Collins had three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown in the 27-14 loss.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) breaks away from Los Angeles Rams cornerback Grant Haley (36) for a touchdown run in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Defense leads the way as Cowboys top Rams

DeMarcus Lawrence returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Dallas Cowboys’ defense led the way in a 22-10 road victory against the host Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

The Cowboys (4-1) won their fourth consecutive game with their defense doing the heavy lifting again.

Running backs Tony Pollard, who gained 86 yards on eight carries, and Ezekiel Elliott, who added 78 yards on 22 attempts, did their parts. That ground attack supported quarterback Cooper Rush, who was 10 of 16 for 102 yards in the air.

Dallas won despite managing only 239 yards of total offense and 10 first downs.

The Rams (2-3) — the reigning Super Bowl champs — have posted just one touchdown between their last two games, dropping both of them. They had 323 yards of offense against Dallas, with only 38 on the ground compared to Dallas’ 163 rushing yards.

Los Angeles quarterback Matthew Stafford was 28 of 42 for 308 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also lost two fumbles, with those coming on the Rams’ first and final possessions of the game.

Brett Maher made field goals of 33, 40 and 36 yards for the Cowboys. His final attempt came with 5:32 left at the end of a drive that chewed nearly six minutes off the clock.

Dallas scored the game’s first nine points off Rams’ miscues. Lawrence had the fumble return after Stafford was sacked. The next Los Angeles possession ended in a blocked punt, with the Cowboys converting that into the first Maher field goal.

The Rams went ahead 10-9 in the second quarter by taking advantage of a rare defensive breakdown by Dallas. Receiver Cooper Kupp turned Stafford’s pass into a 75-yard touchdown play.

Less than two minutes later, the Cowboys were back ahead on Pollard’s 57-yard run.

Trailing 19-10, the Rams could have trimmed the deficit to a single possession, but kicker Matt Gay missed from 51 yards out.

Cowboys starting tight end Dalton Schultz exited the game with an apparent knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) on the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott says sore ankle is nonissue

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was limited in practice Thursday with an ankle injury but insisted he will be ready to play in the season opener Sunday at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Prescott said the issue was related to a change in footwear.

“I’m good to go,” Prescott said. “I still feel the best that I’ve felt in a very, very long time. … I promise you I’m great.”

Prescott threw for 4,449 yards and a franchise-record 37 touchdowns with 10 interceptions in 16 games for the Cowboys in 2021. The only game he missed came in Week 7 against the Minnesota Vikings because of a calf strain. The rebound season came a year after a gruesome compound fracture and dislocated right ankle in Week 5 against the New York Giants in 2020.

A matchup against the Buccaneers means going up against fellow quarterback Tom Brady, something Prescott is keen to do.

“It’s awesome,” Prescott said. “You definitely have to embrace it — a guy whose resume speaks for itself. Shows up at his age and is still better than most to do this — the greatest to do this, honestly. In the moment to play him, to understand what that team’s gonna bring with him as the leader and him on the other side, (I’m) just ready for that matchup.”

In six career seasons, all with the Cowboys, Prescott has thrown for 22,083 yards and 143 TDs against 50 interceptions. The former fourth-round draft pick in 2016 out of Mississippi State is a two-time Pro Bowl selection.

–Field Level Media

Aug 4, 2022; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (56) during training camp at River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard, California. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Cowboys DE Dante Fowler Jr. fined $10K

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. was fined $10,609 by the NFL on Saturday as a result of an unnecessary roughness penalty he received in last week’s preseason game against the Denver Broncos, NFL Network reported.

Fowler was flagged near the goal line in the second quarter of the eventual 17-7 loss to the Broncos. Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy removed Fowler from the game.

Fowler, 28, is in his first season with the Cowboys. He had 36 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks over 14 games (six starts) with the Atlanta Falcons last season. Over six seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-18), Los Angeles Rams (2018-19) and Falcons (2020-21), he has 200 tackles and 35 sacks in 91 games (40 starts).

–Field Level Media

Sep 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) reacts during the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys, LB Anthony Barr agree to one-year deal

The Dallas Cowboys and free agent linebacker Anthony Barr agreed to a one-year deal on Wednesday.

The four-time Pro Bowl selection played his first eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, who drafted him in the first round (ninth overall) in 2014.

Barr, 30, reunites with former Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards, now a senior defensive assistant for the Cowboys.

Barr registered 72 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a career-high three interceptions in 11 starts in 2021.

He ended his Vikings tenure with 495 tackles, 17.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and five picks in 98 games (all starts). He was selected to four straight Pro Bowls from 2015-18.

–Field Level Media

May 7, 2022; Birmingham, AL, USA; New Jersey Generals wide receiver KaVontae Turpin (5) runs the ball for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Maulers during the first half at Protective Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys signing USFL MVP WR KaVontae Turpin

The Dallas Cowboys are signing wide receiver KaVontae Turpin, the 2022 USFL Most Valuable Player.

He led the USFL in receiving yards (540) and punt-return average (15.3) and was the only player to score a touchdown on a kickoff return as he helped the New Jersey Generals post a 9-1 record in the regular season.

Turpin, 25, will have a physical Thursday before joining the team for practice at training camp in Oxnard, Calif.

“The No. 1 thing he’s got to do is be a receiver,” Cowboys vice president Will McClay told the Dallas Morning News. “I think he’s a talented young player with his ability to return as well as play the slot.”

The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Turpin also played in the European League of Football after going undrafted out of TCU in 2019.

Turpin caught 145 passes for 1,748 yards and 13 touchdowns in 42 games for the Horned Frogs from 2015-18, but he was cut from the team following an arrest for domestic violence.

This isn’t the first time the Cowboys have signed a former USFL MVP. Herschel Walker won the honor in 1985, also with the Generals, before launching a 12-year NFL career with Dallas in 1986.

The Cowboys are reportedly releasing fullback Nick Ralston to clear room on the 90-man roster for Turpin.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Detailed view of a Dallas Cowboys football helmet against the Carolina Panthers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Cowboys RB Marion Barber III died of heat stroke

Authorities say heat stroke is to blame for the death of former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber III.

The Collin County medical examiner’s office said the 38-year-old’s death has been ruled an accident.

Police were performing a welfare check when they found Barber dead in his apartment in Frisco, Texas, on June 1.

A fourth-round pick by Dallas in 2005, Barber made the Pro Bowl in 2007. He rushed for 4,780 yards and 53 scores in 99 games with the Cowboys (2005-10) and Chicago Bears (2011).

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys helmets are heated on the benches against the New York Giants in the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys sign USFL LB Christian Sam

The Dallas Cowboys have signed USFL linebacker Christian Sam.

The 26-year-old Texas native was a sixth-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2018 out of Arizona State.

Sam also spent time on the practice squads of the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions but has never appeared in an NFL game.

He played for the New Orleans Breakers during the recently completed USFL campaign.

Also on Friday, the Cowboys signed Canadian kicker Lirim Hajrullahu and placed linebacker Devante Bond (knee) on injured reserve.

–Field Level

Dec 19, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz (86) celebrates his touchdown reception with guard Connor McGovern (66) during the second half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz to attend minicamp

Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz plans to report to minicamp Tuesday despite his unresolved contract situation, multiple outlets reported.

He was franchise tagged in March and signed his $10.931 million tender for 2022 but has skipped voluntary organized team activities while seeking a long-term agreement.

Schultz, who turns 26 next month, would have been subject to fines for missing this week’s mandatory minicamp.

Schultz caught 78 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns in 17 games (15 starts) last season.

The Cleveland Browns recently re-signed tight end David Njoku to a four-year, $54.75 million deal with $28 million in guaranteed money. Njoku caught 36 passes for 475 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Schultz has 154 receptions for 1,545 yards and 12 scores in 60 games (36 starts) since the Cowboys drafted him in the fourth round in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Jul 22, 2021; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and cornerback Kelvin Joseph (24) during training camp practice at the Marriott Residence Inn. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Police want to question Cowboys CB in shooting death

Dallas police reportedly want to question Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph about a fatal shooting last month.

Sources told ESPN that the team has encouraged Joseph, a second-round draft pick in 2021, to tell authorities what he knows about a March 18 altercation that led to the death of Cameron Ray, 20.

Video footage, obtained by KDFW-TV of the incident in the city’s Lower Greenville section, shows one of the men involved wearing a YKDV necklace.

Joseph, 21, goes by the rap name “YKDV Bossman Fat,” per the reports.

Joseph played college football at LSU (2018) and Kentucky (2020) before being selected with the 44th overall pick.

He appeared in 10 games (two starts) for the Cowboys last season, recording 16 tackles, two passes defensed and a fumble recovery.

–Field Level Media