It doesn't happen often where a two-time Pro Bowler and eight-year veteran quietly drifts off the radar. But that seems to be what has happened with punter Mat McBriar, an unrestricted free agent who hasn't re-signed with the Cowboys or any team so far.
But the biggest reason for that stems from a surgery he underwent back in February to remove a cyst behind his left knee. McBriar battled through the injury for most of last season, which was described as "drop foot." The punter lost nerve feelings in his left (plant) foot and it eventually forced him to miss two games, including the season finale.
Through a recent text message this week, McBriar said: *"I'm doing really well. Surgery went beautifully. Nerves are firing again. Set for a full recovery."
*As of now, the Cowboys have two punters on the roster, including Chris Jones, who filled in for McBriar last season. The club also recently signed Jake Rogers, who spent time on Tampa Bay's practice squad last season.
But the Cowboys aren't closing the door on McBriar at all. A team source said the Cowboys will monitor McBriar through his rehab. It seems likely they will work him out once he gets 100 percent healthy and consider bringing him back to the team.
There are obvious factors involved, starting with McBriar's overall health, plus the fact he's an unrestricted free agent. While he does have eight seasons in the league, punting at a high level, which includes two Pro Bowls, McBriar turns 33 in July and is coming off this recent injury.
And don't forget about the progress of the punters on the roster. Jones performed well last year and if he continues to improve, the Cowboys might end up standing pat once McBriar gets back to full strength.
But considering what McBriar has done for this team in nearly a decade, it only makes sense to give him a close look once he's 100 percent. From the sound of things, that's what the Cowboys intend to do.