IRVING, Texas-- While discussing his cornerbacks in mid-December, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan dropped this hint that Terence Newman was playing hurt:
"We've got (guys) with hamstrings. We've got guys with shoulders," Ryan said the week after the Cowboys allowed 400 passing yards in their first loss to Eli Manning and the Giants. "Most guys won't come out of there. That's why there is so much substitution."
Mike Jenkins was playing with a shoulder dislocation at the time. No corner was on the injury list with a hamstring issue, however.
Newman, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals last week, told the Bengals' website he indeed wasn't fully healthy for part of his final season with the Cowboys.
"I'm a rockhead about some things and I tried to play through it," Newman said. "I wanted to be there for my teammates and I ended up probably hurting them.
"I take full responsibility for what happened to me at the end of last season in Dallas. I didn't play as well is I should have ... but I think if you look at some of those games last year, like against Buffalo, you'll see I've got plenty left in the tank."
Money was one factor for waiving Newman at the start of free agency; the Cowboys freed at least $4 million off this year's salary cap, which became even more important knowing they lost $5 million in league penalties.
Health, tied to production, was another factor. Newman missed games with nagging injuries in three of the past five seasons. He turns 34 this fall. The Cowboys felt it was time to get younger.