Return Game Changed With Harris Released

The Cowboys will have a few changes in the return game this week, thanks to the release of rookie wide receiver Dwayne Harris, who was let go on Tuesday.

Harris led the team in both kickoff and punt returns, which makes the decision somewhat surprising.

One of the players whose future seemed shaky was wide reciver Kevin Ogletree, who will likely assume one of these duties, if not both.

Ogletree has kickoff return experience, with 14 career attempts for a 19.6 average. With the opponents kicking several touchbacks this year thanks to the new rule change, Harris only had three attempts this year and averaged 24.7 yards a return.  

On punt returns, Harris had a 6.6 yard average on a team-high 11 attempts with a long of just 14 yards. Other than Harris, the only two players practicing punt returns were Dez Bryant and Terence Newman. The Cowboys have made it clear it's not their preference to put starting players at skill positions in the return game. Both of Bryant's significant injuries the past two years have occurred while returning kicks and punts.

And that's where Ogletree will likely re-enter the equation. There's a chance he will practice returning punts this week, but Newman and/or Bryant will also be possibilities.

Harris, who is still eligible for the practice squad, is a fifth-round pick from East Carolina. He made headlines in the first game of the preseason, when he caught two touchdowns, including the game-winner on fourth down. Harris also showed some breakaway speed with a 76-yard touchdown catch in that game.

But since then, he's been rather quiet, especially in the regular season. He only played sparingly on offense against the 49ers, when Bryant was out and Miles Austin injured as well. Harris has yet to record a reception in a regular-season game.

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