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Murrell gets cut, McGee available


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I don't know if McGee is any better then Flemister but I've heard of him - I think we're better off sticking with Royal and Flem

- Murrell doesn't make it... I sure hope Kenny Watson doesn't go down there.

Cowboys Cuts Include RB Murrell, WR Rambo, TE McGee

Aug 31, 7:55 PM (ET) Email this Story


IRVING, Texas (AP) - The value Bill Parcells places on special teams was evident when the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster was released Sunday.

Zuriel Smith and Reggie Swinton, backup receivers who thrilled the new coach by returning kicks for touchdowns in preseason games, made the final cut. So did safety Woody Dantzler and tight end James Whalen, two players who will hardly play their listed positions but fill many roles in the kicking game.

Dantzler, a college quarterback who learned to play running back last season, can return, hold, cover and be the upback on punts. Whalen, more of a receiver than blocker, can hold, deep snap and be part of all coverage units.

Among the 12 players not as fortunate were tight end Tony McGee, brought in last season because of his familiarity with then-offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet; running back Adrian Murrell, who's been out of the NFL the past two seasons; and receiver Ken-Yon Rambo, who lost out to Smith, Swinton and Randal Williams, another receiver who excels on special teams.

The Cowboys also released defensive ends Demetric Evans, Colston Weatherington and Kevin DeRonde; linebackers Jamal Brooks and Michael Hawkes; offensive tackles Dave Volk and Torrin Tucker; defensive tackle Shaun Smith and cornerback Don McGee.

Cornerback Donald Mitchell was put on injured reserve and Dallas traded an undisclosed future pick to Oakland for defensive end Kenyon Coleman, a fifth-round pick in 2002 who played one game last season.

With three ends released, Coleman immediately becomes a backup, along with Eric Ogbogu, who played for Parcells on the New York Jets in 1998 and '99 and joined the Cowboys during training camp.

Parcells wasn't available for comment Sunday and won't be until Tuesday. By then, the roster probably will have changed again as he's said since being hired in January that he plans to turn over the bottom 10 spots whenever someone better comes along.

"This time of year is never pleasant because you do have to do some things that you weren't looking forward to doing," Parcells said Saturday.

Dallas can start filling its five-man practice squad as of 3 p.m. Monday and may want to bring back players such as DeRonde, McGee and Smith to try developing them, if they're not claimed by another team.

Murrell could return, too, but it wouldn't be until after the second week because of a rule that guarantees the contracts of vested veterans on the roster the first week of the season. That rule also is likely to prevent the Cowboys from trying to sign a veteran cornerback to help bolster their suddenly shaky depth there.

Among their potential targets is Ray Crockett, a 14-year veteran who starred on Denver's championship teams in 1997 and '98. He was released by Kansas City in June.

Cornerback was supposed to be a strength with the addition of first-round pick Terence Newman. Then Pete Hunter broke an arm, Derek Ross had knee surgery and Mitchell hurt an ankle in the final preseason game.

Hunter could be back by the opener. Ross will miss at least two games and Parcells said Saturday that Mitchell would miss at least a month. That apparently was too long to hold a roster spot for him, especially since Dallas also wanted to keep Willie Blade, a would-be starter at defensive tackle who has a knee injury.

Michael Myers will start alongside La'Roi Glover, with Daleroy Stewart their only backup - as of now.

Longshots who made the roster include undrafted rookies Erik Bickerstaff, who was working as a janitor at Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium when the Cowboys signed him during training camp; cornerback Jeff Sanchez, who also was added during camp; and linebacker Keith O'Neil, yet another versatile special-teams player.

O'Neil was born Aug. 26, 1980 - a few hours after Parcells told Keith's father, Ed O'Neil, that he was being cut by the New England Patriots. Parcells was Ed O'Neil's position coach.

After signing Keith, Parcells asked about his father; it was then that he learned that the release and birth occurred the same day.

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