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Cowboys' Hankins 'Excited,' Could Play vs. Bears


FRISCO, Texas - It feels like it was just yesterday when the Dallas Cowboys were game planning to try and have an effective day running the football against a New York Giants defensive line that featured Johnathan Hankins - a nightmare of a run-stopper in his time with Big Blue.

Nine seasons later, the Cowboys are hoping he can be the same type of problem for their defense, acquiring the former second-round pick in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The 6-foot-3, 340-pound lane-clogger explained how he got the news on Tuesday, and what he plans to bring to his former rival turned employer.

"It was actually after I got done lifting in Vegas, they called me up and told me what was going on," said Hankins. "It is what it is, but I'm excited about the opportunity to be able to go out there and play the game that I love. I feel like I'm still a dominant nose tackle in this league and I'm excited to go out there and show it."

He went on to note his specific role in Dallas, and it's one that should come as a surprise to no one.

"Just going out there and doing the best I can - stopping the run, plugging the holes and allowing those guys to go out there and pass rush," Hankins said.

Unlike the free agent signing of Jason Peters, another former NFC East rival who now dons the Cowboys logo in 2022, there's no ramp-up period required for Hankins - having played in five games this season for the Raiders.

"I played last week so it's not like I'm coming off of the streets, so my conditioning is good," he said. "I'm just ready to go out there and play, the only thing is I'm [now] playing for the Dallas Cowboys. … I think I can know enough [this week] to go out there and play [against the Bears] at a high level. It's only Wednesday so I got some time.

"I'll be alright."

And just how weird does it feel to have on a Cowboys uniform after spending a half-decade as their divisional foe? A smiling Hankins explained it'll take a little bit of getting used to, but also that he's thrilled "to be wanted" by a team that already boasts such a prolific defense and coordinator in Dan Quinn.

"It's a little weird but I'm excited for it," Hankins said. "A lot of my family - my uncle that lives out here in Dallas is pumped. He couldn't believe it when I told him, so he had to call me back just to make sure and I told him, 'Yea, it's real.'

"Everybody is excited for me, and I'm excited myself."

Having been at practice on Wednesday, meeting and mingling with players and coaches alike, Hankins was also able to meet with Quinn and have a one-on-one with the popular coordinator - establishing a connection and potentially setting the stage for what both believe will be a fruitful relationship over the remainder of the 2022 season.

"He watched my film so he knows what I can do," said Hankins. "I know what I can do and that's what I'm going to do: go out there and contribute. I'm just coming in here to stop the run and help this team win games."

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