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Mailbag: Rod Smith's Long-Term Roster Outlook? Rico Gathers Update?

JUSTIN OSWALT
FARR WEST, UT

I feel a little like Rod Smith is the walk-on who earned his scholarship this year. Do you think the coaching staff feels the same way? What is his long-term outlook with this team?

Rob: Smith is signed through next season. Depends on what happens with Alfred Morris in free agency next year, Smith could be in line for the No. 2 spot behind Ezekiel Elliott. Of course, the draft could be a place to add another young running back. Either way, to your point, the Cowboys have been really pleased with Smith's development. Even if he's not getting carries, he's a vital part of the 46-man roster on game days because of what he adds on special teams.

Bryan: I understand what you're saying here but I don't think that's really the case. They have always been looking for a spot for Smith, whether it was on the practice squad or the roster. He showed them what they thought he was in training camp. I think they still draft a running back but his versatility puts him in the mix in 2018.

TOM REMELY
BETHLEHEM, PA

What is the status of Rico Gathers? He should be eligible to return from IR, right? Is he still exhibiting concussion symptoms, or does he just not figure in the coaching staff's plans yet?

Rob: Sounds like Gathers has shown a lot of improvement, but team executive vice president Stephen Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan that he didn't expect Gathers to be activated back to the 53-man roster this season after missing so much time. It would be a chance for him to be fully healthy and start fresh in 2018.

Bryan: I see Gathers working outside my window each day getting himself ready. Medical staff was very cautious with him, thus the long waiting period we've seen. It was a significant hit that he took from Kavon Frazier. I think you need to take Stephen Jones at his word and wait for Gathers next season in OTAs going forward.

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