IRVING, Texas – The defensive line shuffle continues into the bye week, as the Cowboys decided to part ways with Caesar Rayford on Tuesday.
They will sign defensive tackle Corvey Irvin, one of Tuesday's many workout participants, to Rayford's place on the active roster. The team also released defensive tackle Jason Vega and guard Phillipkeith Manley from the practice squad, while adding offensive tackle John Wetzel.
The Cowboys traded a 2015 conditional draft pick to Indianapolis to acquire Rayford in September. He led both the Colts and the league in sacks during the preseason with five, though he never quite managed to catch on in Dallas. He posted six tackles and a quarterback pressure in seven appearances. [embedded_ad]
Carolina drafted Irvin out of Georgia in the third round of the 2009 draft. He played one season with the Panthers, one season with the Jaguars and one season with the Buccaneers, appearing in 18 career games and posting seven career tackles.
Irvin spent the 2013 preseason with Chicago, but the Bears released him prior to the start of the regular season.
The Cowboys now have one open spot on their practice squad.
Morris Claiborne believes he's on track to return for the Giants game, as he predicted after hurting his hamstring against the Lions.
Claiborne is beginning to run, though he's not yet at 100 percent yet. He hopes he'll be there by next week.
"I'm feeling good now," Claiborne said. "I wouldn't say it's 100 percent, but I'm feeling better."
He said the Cowboys have players that can fill in without him, but his experience can help and he'll be good to go against the Giants. The corner's missed the last two games, and B.W. Webb and Micah Pellerin have filled in for depth.
Claiborne said he's starting to get mobility back, but it's hard to know for sure when the hamstring is completely healed.
"It's very hard, because one minute it can be feeling good and the next minute it feels like the worst thing ever," he said. "I can't predict it. It's just one of those things, you've got to feel your way through it."
Ware And Tear
DeMarcus Ware is hoping he won't have to miss his fourth game of the season after the bye week.
Ware rotated in and out of the Saints game after what he called "a small tweak" of the thigh injury that kept him out of the previous three games. Both Ware and head coach Jason Garrett confirmed the injury.
"He did tweak it," Garrett said. "It was tight on him. Eventually, he came out of the ballgame. But he seemed to be doing OK moving around afterward."
Ware still recorded a sack, his fifth of the season and first since the Rams game in Week 3, but it sounds like he might be close to a game-time decision against the Giants. He's hopeful he'll be ready.
"I'm trying to be," Ware said. "As they say, 'Questionable.'"
* --Rowan Kavner*
Jason Hatcher was one of the few veterans remaining in the Cowboys' locker room Tuesday when media entered, and thus, he was one of just a few voices in the organization to comment on Sam Hurd's sentencing.
Hurd, who played wide receiver for the Cowboys from 2006-10, is due to be sentenced Wednesday for his guilty plea for possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute. The penalty is a minimum of 10 years in prison, but the federal government has recommended Hurd be sentenced to life with no possibility of parole.
"He never came over to me as a bad person," Hatcher said. "Like I said, I never knew anything like this was going on behind the scenes."
Hatcher and Hurd both joined the Cowboys as rookies in 2006 – Hatcher as a third round pick and Hurd as an undrafted free agent. He said thinking of Hurd's family, which includes a one-year-old daughter, gives the matter some perspective.
"At the end of the day, you've got to have a soft place in your heart for a guy like that, with family – the possibility he could grow up without knowing his daughter," Hatcher said. "It's a sad situation. I wish the best for him, and I'll continue to pray for him."