IRVING, Texas – It looks increasingly likely that the Cowboys plan to fill their vacant roster spot from within at some point this week.
One day after the release of Will Allen, rookie safety Jakar Hamilton was greeted with a big opportunity upon his arrival at Valley Ranch on Wednesday.
"On the roster this morning, they took me off the scout team and had me working on special teams with the ones – stuff like that. I just see it as a good sign of moving up," Hamilton said.
The Cowboys signed Hamilton, an undrafted free agent from South Carolina State, to their eight-man practice squad after training camp. In order to use him Sunday against the Redskins, they'd have to promote him to the 53-man roster.
"Everyone else is talking about it," he said. "If it is, it's a great opportunity for me. It just makes me want to work even harder to get out and eventually show my skills, on the actual field in an actual game."
Hamilton is one of several young players to benefit from the absent roster spot. Fellow rookie Jeff Heath also saw an increased role at practice Wednesday. Both players expressed their regret at losing the veteran presence of Allen, but neither could deny the opportunity.
"I got moved up, Heath got moved up – it just bumps everyone else up. Will's a hell of a player. He's a great veteran, and we're going to miss him," Hamilton said. "At the end of the day it gives us rookies and future players a chance to go out and show the world what we can do, how we can play and have our fans see what we can be from now on and into the future."
Heath made the initial following after an impressive performance during training camp, after he was signed undrafted out of Saginaw Valley State. The rookie has found a spot on special teams and has tallied six total tackles in six appearances. [embedded_ad]
Along with veteran Danny McCray, Heath now finds himself as the next man up should anything befall either Barry Church or J. J. Wilcox – a prospect the coaching staff is fine with.
"I talked to the coaches this morning and they basically said they wanted to see me play more and see what I can do," Heath said. "It's unfortunate one of our guys had to get let go for that to happen. I learned a lot from Will and I wish him the best. But if this means a bigger role for me and more opportunities for me, then I'm ready to step up."
Hamilton hasn't quite outgrown his humble beginnings with his own promotion – at least not yet. He still worked on the scout team some during Wednesday's practice. He said it's his role as an undrafted rookie to help out in any way possible.
"It's just business as usual. The coaches are like 'This is an opportunity for you to step up. We expect you to step up,'" he said. "I already know my position is going to be starting off on special teams and eventually working my way onto the field on defense, so it's just one step at a time. Like my mom tells me, you've got to pay your dues."