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Mid-Day Report: Cowboys Sign Fredrickson; Cut 3

What's The Scoop:
Three days into training camp, Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells has started moving parts on his roster.

The Cowboys signed punter Tyler Fredrickson, who practiced with the team Monday, and released wide receiver Ahmad Merritt, linebacker JJ Horne and cornerback Byron Parker.

Fredrickson, a former University of California standout from Santa Barbara, was released by the Denver Broncos last week. The Cowboys signed Fredrickson Sunday night after his workout here at the River Ridge Complex.

Fredrickson gives the Cowboys another punter to spell Mat McBriar in practice, but while doing so, he will have the opportunity to demonstrate his kick-off ability should the club enter the kickoff specialist market if veteran kicker Mike Vanderjagt can't handle those duties.

"That's what they want me to focus on for the most part, kickoffs and some punts to kind of help out Mat's leg," Fredrickson said.

A three-year veteran, Merritt was waived/injured by the Cowboys last August after suffering a foot injury in training camp. He dropped several balls during the first two days of practice.

The Cowboys signed Horne as a rookie free agent out of Pitt. Parker is a 25-year-old corner from Tulane.

Asked why they were released so soon, Parcells said, "It's real easy. You know they don't have any chance of making the team."

In Merritt's case, the Cowboys have several rookie receivers on the roster, including Jamaica Rector, J.R. Tolver, Miles Austin and Sam Hurd, and wants to give them as many reps as possible.

The Cowboys now have 83 players on their roster after also waiving Brett Pierce (torn ACL) injured. Once Pierce clears waivers he will revert to the team's injured reserve.

Quick Shots:

  • Terrell Owens and cornerback Anthony Henry continue to battle for jump balls in practice. This time, Henry leaped to break up a Drew Bledsoe bullet pass down the left sideline intended for Owens.
  • Kicker Mike Vanderjagt made 2-of-4 field goal attempts. He connected from 30 and 35 yards out but kicked wide right on his final two attempts from 38 and 42 yards. Shaun Suisham made 3-of-4, missing his 30-yarder.
  • Safety Justin Beriault left the morning practice during team drills. Parcells said Beriault got hit in the head, and his return will depend on if he indeed suffered a concussion.
  • Fifth-year veteran Kenyon Coleman continues to work with the first team at left defensive end in place of Marcus Spears, who had successful surgery Sunday to repair torn meniscus in his right knee.
  • Roy Williams and wide receiver J.R. Tolver got into a brief shoving match during 11-on-11 drills and had to be separated.
  • Former Cowboys safety James Washington attended Monday morning's practice and signed autographs. Washington, who lives in nearby Whittier, came to Oxnard to co-host his Fox Sports Radio show Out Of Bounds on Fox. "I think the defense is going to be solid," Washington said of this year's team. "Hopefully T.O. can do the things that we expect him to do between the lines, but I think overall it will be O.K."
  • Linebacker Bradie James says he'd like to work out a contract extension with the Cowboys before the second game of the regular season, but he's not concerned about it. "To my knowledge, that's why I have an agent," said James, who is entering the final year of his deal. "That's why I pay him three percent to worry about that. It's up to me to go make the plays out there."

You Should've Seen:
Rookie safety Pat Watkins' dazzling interception during 11-on-11 drills. Watkins, the fifth-round pick out of Florida State, picked off Tony Romo's flea-flicker pass intended for Terrance Copper and raced down the right sideline to the delight of his new teammates. Parcells said Monday that Watkins has a real chance to compete for playing time at free safety.

Who's Hot:
Parcells said during mini-camp that wide receiver Jamaica Rector was pound-for-pound the strongest player on the team. The 186-pound Rector has translated that strength into success on the field in training camp. Rector, who spent last year on the practice squad, has made several impressive grabs in practice. He's trying to earn a backup receiver spot on the active roster.

Who's Not:
After working with the first team at center the first two days, Al Johnson practiced behind Andre Gurode on Monday. Parcells said not to read into the position shuffles on the offensive line. Johnson and Gurode are battling for the center job again this year.

Injury Update:
S Justin Beriault, head (7/31)
TE Brett Pierce, torn ACL (7/30)
DE Marcus Spears, knee (meniscus) - had knee scoped (7/30)
OT Flozell Adams removed from PUP (7/30)

Missed Practice:
DE Marcus Spears, torn meniscus
TE Brett Pierce, torn ACL

Returned to Practice:
OT Flozell Adams (7/30)

LB JJ Horne, released (7/31)
WR Ahmad Merritt, released (7/31)
CB Byron Parker, released (7/31)
TE Brett Pierce, waived injured (7/31)
OT Flozell Adams moved from PUP to active roster (7/30)
LB Bobby Carpenter, signed (7/29)
OT E.J. Whitley, placed on injured reserve (7/29)
OT Flozell Adams, placed on active PUP (7/28)
S Darrell Brooks, released (7/28)
G Shannon Snell, released (7/28)

Top BILL-ing:
"I just don't think it would've worked. He's a little bit of a renegade, gunslinging-type quarterback. I think he would've been a little error-prone. But he reminds me of a couple of players I've had before. That's always a good thing." - Parcells on why he didn't overexpose quarterback Tony Romo his first three years. Parcells plans to give Romo significant playing time in preseason.

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