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Harris Comes Up Big Again, This Time On Offense And Returns
ARLINGTON, Texas – There was no real flash this time - no 78-yard punt return touchdown like last week in Philadelphia, no long catch and run for a score as he has managed in preseason games.
In fact, there weren’t any true highlights at all. But Dwayne Harris produced some of the biggest little plays in Sunday’s victory over Cleveland, a sign of progress for the second-year wide receiver.
He did have a nice punt return to help set up Dan Bailey’s overtime game-winner, but it was shorter than his top returns in each of the two games since he took over those duties from Dez Bryant. And on Harris’ biggest play as a receiver, he didn’t even catch the ball - actually getting the wind knocked out of him instead - as cornerback Sheldon Brown was called for a 35-yard pass interference penalty on a late deep ball to Harris. Of course, Brown wouldn’t have needed to interfere had Harris not already had him beat.
“I didn’t even know there was a flag on the play,” Harris said. “He was shielding me from the ball. I felt like it should’ve been pass interference. … They got it right. It helped our team get downfield to get a field goal to take it to overtime.
“It feels good anytime I can help the team get a win or help the offense get good field position.”
In the most active offensive day of his career, Harris caught three passes for 20 yards. He equaled that total on an overtime punt return across midfield.
“When you keep doing stuff like that, a lot of people, I think they just respect our special teams more,” Harris said. “We continue to do what we do and have that success of special teams, we’re getting the respect that we deserve.”
Along with rookie Cole Beasley, Harris took more snaps than usual in place of Kevin Ogletree as the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver on Sunday. He’s earned more chances with steady play in the return game and continued development.
“I think he has just done a real good job understanding what his role is on this football team and really embracing it,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “We have a lot of confidence in him – not afraid to put him out there, and he’s responded really well.”