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Austin, Thompson Look To Speed Up Return Game


FRISCO, Texas – The two fastest players on this revamped Cowboys roster might be two new wide receivers.

Tavon Austin and Deonte Thompson can provide a downfield threat for Dak Prescott in the passing game. They're also a pair of speedy options on punt and kickoff returns.

Austin, who arrived in a draft-weekend trade with the Rams, has three career punt return touchdowns in five seasons with L.A. But a wrist injury limited him to only 12 returns last year.

He's grateful for a fresh start in Dallas – and he's ready on special teams if called upon.

"Hopefully I get back there and do my thing like I always did – light the stadium up and have some fun like I used to," he said. "I missed it last year. I missed it a lot. It kind of hurt me. But I'm back there now."

The Cowboys waived Thompson at final cuts last weekend but re-signed him to the active roster after placing receiver Noah Brown on injured reserve.

The eighth-year veteran is a kickoff return option because of his quickness and experience. He's averaged 24.8 yards on 82 career returns with the Bears and Ravens.

The new kickoff rules will affect return strategy. The kicking team no longer has a running start, and the return team must now place fewer players downfield to block.

"There's probably going to be less kicks taken out because of the new rules," Thompson said. "But like Coach said, any opportunity we get to make a play, we're going to try our best to make a play."