Cowboys end preseason with win over Vikings
IRVING, Texas (AP)—Another receiver down for the Dallas Cowboys.
Sam Hurd, the team’s No. 3 wideout, left the locker room wearing a protective boot on his left foot Thursday night after getting hurt in the Cowboys’ 16-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in their preseason finale.
“That is a real concern, certainly,” said coach Wade Phillips, who described Hurd’s injury as a high ankle sprain. “That was the downer to the game.”
Receivers Miles Austin (sprained right knee) and Isaiah Stanback (dislocated shoulder) were already out with injuries, Austin could be out another month after getting hurt covering a kickoff two weeks ago in Denver, and Stanback was hurt returning a kick in the last game.
That leaves the Cowboys with some questions about the health of their receivers before cutting their roster to 53 players Saturday. Neither Phillips nor owner Jerry Jones wanted to speculate on the situation until getting injury updates.
Hurd was hurt on the opening drive of the game, when he landed awkwardly after being tackled from behind at the end of a 35-yard reverse run.
Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton, the Cowboys’ top two receivers, didn’t even play in what amounted to a glorified tryout for both teams. Neither did Tony Romo nor any of the rest of the offensive or defensive starters—except for fullback Deon Anderson.
Owens and freshly reinstated Adam “Pacman” Jones didn’t even bother to put on their football pants. T.O. wore warmup pants and Jones was in shorts while watching from the sideline.
The good news for the Cowboys was that Jones, acquired by Dallas from Tennessee in April, found out earlier Thursday that he has been fully reinstated from his NFL suspension and is clear to play in the regular season. The Sept. 7 opener at Cleveland will be his first NFL game since Dec. 31, 2006.
The cornerback-kick returner, who played in the first three preseason games for the Cowboys, missed all last season with the Titans after his suspension that followed an accumulation of arrests and legal problems.
“It’s a first step,” Jerry Jones said. “It’s better than a baby step, but it’s a first step.”
Rookie running back Tashard Choice, a fourth-round draft pick, solidified his chance of making the Cowboys roster with an 11-yard touchdown run and Nick Folk kicked two 52-yard field goals and a 23-yarder.
John David Booty, the fifth-round draft pick from Southern California competing to be Minnesota’s third quarterback, started and threw an interception on his first pass. He played the entire first half, going 8-of-15 for 93 yards.
Brooks Bollinger, the veteran backup who Booty is battling for the roster spot, was 6-of-18 for 62 yards. Vikings starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had a baseball cap on before the game even started.
“They were both average,” coach Brad Childress said. “That’s probably the worst thing you can say about their performance.”
“It was all my fault. It’s something I need to correct. It’s the one thing I gave them that cost us,” Booty said. “It really eats at me.”
Richard Bartel threw a 13-yard pass to Anderson before Choice swept right, broke one tackle just past the line of scrimmage and then bulled over another defender going into the end zone for a 10-0 lead.
Bartel, a practice squad member last season when Tony Romo and Brad Johnson were the only quarterbacks on the Dallas roster, played the entire game—“That was a big deal to me,” he said. He finished 28-of-41 for 233 yards and got to kneel down on three straight plays to run out the clock.
“I hate to lose. Whether its tiddlywinks, lawn darts or a preseason football game, you want to put your best foot forward,” Childress said. “This was disappointing.”