IRVING, Texas – Jakar Hamilton is once again a member of the Cowboys' active roster.
The Cowboys safety missed the first four weeks of the regular season after violating the league's substance abuse policy. He was able to practice last week, but the Cowboys didn't activate him until this Monday, waiving linebacker Keith Smith to make room.
"We like Jakar, we like the progress that Jakar has made," said head coach Jason Garrett. "He's a young player, but he's gotten better and better. He can be a guy that can contribute on defense, both as a safety – he showed us he can play a little bit down in a nickel-type role throughout training camp when we had some guys banged up – and then also just contributing on special teams."
While others, including Orlando Scandrick, got their suspensions reduced to two games, Hamilton was still forced to sit out all four weeks. Hamilton, who said his suspension was the result of a missed drug test, was not a beneficiary of the NFL's adjusted drug policy.
Hamilton said he learned through everything that he needs to do all the right things at all times. [embedded_ad]
"People are watching," Hamilton said. "You've just got to do the right thing, regardless. You have a standard to live by, an agreement with the NFL. You must live by that. So I've learned a lot with this time off. I'm just ready to get back."
Hamilton hopes he can jump in and contribute quickly on special teams, then help anywhere he can defensively.
"Just trying to contribute in any way that I can," Hamilton said. "I don't care if I've got to pass out water, you know what I'm saying? But it feels great to be back with my teammates and coaches."
The Cowboys had a week-long exemption after Hamilton's four-game suspension was up, allowing him to practice last week without needing a decision on his roster spot, and they elected to activate him early this week. The safety, who was undrafted in 2013, played in three games for the Cowboys last season.
Garrett wouldn't say if Hamilton would immediately suit up this Sunday.
"Part of the 53, we'll sort out if he's going to be part of the 46 as we go forward," Garrett said. "But he's certainly a young player who has gotten better and better for us."