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With Big Return, Harris Claims NFC Special Teams Honor
The Cowboys finally have an NFC Player of the Week winner.
It’s second-year wide receiver Dwayne Harris, who was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his 78-yard punt return touchdown that broke a fourth-quarter tie with the Eagles and propelled the Cowboys to a 38-23 win.
Harris now has two big returns in the last two games since the Cowboys have turned the punt return duties over to him, replacing Dez Bryant, who has been shaky with fumbles and muffed punts all season. Harris had a 37-yard return against the Falcons that led to a field goal.
Harris has eight returns this year for 151 yards and an 18.9 yard average, which would be good enough for second in the NFL, just behind Buffalo’s Leodis McKelvin (19.5) if Harris had enough attempts to qualify.
But the big one occurred in Philadelphia in the early fourth when he went untouched down the left sideline for the touchdown, the first by the Cowboys since 2010 when Bryan McCann had a punt return for a score, and Bryant also had two that season as a rookie.
Harris, a standout receiver and returner at East Carolina, was 2009 Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year, but did most of his damage on kick returns, where he had three touchdowns that season. Harris never scored off a punt return in college.
Harris becomes the first Cowboys player this year to win an NFC weekly honor and the first special teams winner since Dan Bailey won it last year against Washington when he made six field goals in an 18-16 win. McCann also won it in 2010 when he returned the punt for a score against Detroit.
In fact, Harris’ award extends the Cowboys streak to at least one special teams winner in each season since 2006, when Sam Hurd and Mat McBriar each won it during a week. Nick Folk, Felix Jones, Patrick Crayton, McCann and Bailey have one the weekly honor during each season since.