IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys' leading tackler of the preseason is no longer on the 53-man roster.
Safety Ahmad Dixon survived the first string of cuts, but he was released Monday morning to make room for safety C.J. Spillman, who's played the past four years with the Cowboys' opening opponent.
Spillman's served as a special teams ace for the 49ers since going to San Francisco in 2010. Before that, he had played for the Chargers after going to San Diego as an undrafted rookie out of Marshall following the 2009 NFL Draft.
The coverage team is where Spillman thrived. He's been in the top three in special teams tackles for the 49ers every year he's been on the team. His best year in that respect came when he finished first for the 49ers with 14 special teams tackles in 2011. He finished second in San Francisco with 12 special teams tackles last season.
Spillman was among the 49ers final cuts two days ago. With Jakar Hamilton suspended early in the year, Spillman's now one of nine defensive backs and five safeties on the Cowboys' active roster.
To make room for Spillman, the Cowboys had to let go of Dixon, a seventh-round pick who quickly became a fan favorite after compiling 12 total tackles, including 11 solo stops and one tackle for loss, against the Chargers in the opening preseason game. [embedded_ad]
Dixon finished the preseason with 17 total tackles, recording five tackles in two games after the initial breakout performance. The coaches held him out of the second preseason game against the Ravens after the former Baylor safety was late for a walkthrough.
It's likely Dixon and tackle John Wetzel, who was also released following the initial 53-man roster cut down, will go to the practice squad if they both clear waivers. If they join, that would round out the Cowboys' 10-man practice squad.
The Cowboys added their eighth practice squad member Monday morning in fullback Nikita Whitlock, who was previously with the Bengals. The undrafted rookie was an All-ACC star defensive tackle at Wake Forest, recording 18.5 sacks during his college career, before making the transition to fullback to try to stick in the NFL.