For the first five weeks of the season, it appeared the Cowboys had their return specialist in place, although he still hadn't produced that big play.
But it never came for rookie Dwayne Harris, whose slow start as both a kickoff and punt returner led to the Cowboys going in a different direction. Harris was sent down to the practice squad and the club shuffled several players back for kickoff returns and did the same on punts, although Dez Bryant got more opportunities despite the concern of having a starting wide receiver field punts.
But here we are in the final week of the season, with so much on the line, and it appears Harris will be back where he started this year – returning both punts and kickoffs at MetLife Stadium.
It was Harris' NFL debut as the Cowboys kicked off their regular season against the Jets. Now the Cowboys return with the NFC East division title on the line. Harris said he's just happy to be contributing again.
"I'm excited to be back up with the chances to make plays," said Harris, who was activated Saturday against the Eagles for the first time since October. "I tried to stay confident even (on the practice squad) and just kept working for this. I knew the team had faith in me to keep me around and I had to be patient for my number to be called."
That number was called last week and Harris delivered, with a couple of nice returns, including a 51-yard kickoff return that nearly went the distance.
"I thought for a moment I was going to go," Harris said of the second-longest return by the Cowboys this year. "I just didn't know how far back the guy trailing me was and when I cut, he was right there. But it was good to get a nice play like that. Hopefully I can make a few more this week."
So many times divisional games like this, especially in the season rematch where both teams are so familiar with each other, it often comes down to plays on special teams. Harris is aware of that and vows to be ready.
"Anything can happen and you have to stay ready," Harris said. "I'm always confident that I can break a big play. Hopefully we can get one against the Giants.