For a guy whose job can be measured in threes, Lirim Hajrullahu is hoping the third time’s a charm in Dallas.
The Kosovo-born kicker is being signed by the Cowboys, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. It will mark the third time in less than 90 days that the specialist has been inked to a deal by the club.
News of the signing makes regular kicker Greg Zuerlein even more doubtful for Sunday’s home date against the Falcons. Zuerlein was placed on the Reserve/COVID list on Tuesday, and head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed reports that Hajrullahu would be one of two kickers given a tryout following Wednesday’s practice session to potentially replace him.
Brett Maher, the team’s kicker for 2018 and most of 2019, is said to have represented himself well during the audition. But after going 12-for-12 and being the team’s previous safety-net option- both during the preseason and again after Zuerlein struggled in Week 1- Hajrullahu will apparently once more suit up wearing the star.
Cowboys are signing kicker Lirim Hajrullahu after he went a perfect 12-for-12 on field goals in his workout today, source said. Brett Maher also had a strong day, but Hajrullahu receives nod with Greg Zuerlein (COVID-19 protocol) unlikely to be available Sunday vs. Falcons.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) November 10, 2021
Hajrullahu, a former CFL All-Star, booted two extra points in the team’s third preseason game versus Houston in August, but got no field goal chances. He was cut once Zuerlein had fully rehabbed from offseason back surgery.
But after Zuerlein missed a pair of field goals and a PAT in the season opener against Tampa, Hajrullahu was brought back onto the practice squad as insurance. Zuerlein went on to connect on all four of his kicks in Week 2, including the game-winning field goal as time expired; Hajrullahu was released two days later.
Zuerlein has not been ruled out for the Week 10 game as of yet, and McCarthy expressed optimism that he’ll be able to clear COVID protocols in time to play.
“Still hopeful Greg can hopefully, you know, potentially be ready,” McCarthy said during a Wednesday press conference. “I know it’s against the odds, but we’ll see how it goes.”
All signs, however, point to Hajrullahu making his NFL regular-season debut on Sunday.
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