OXNARD, Calif. - Head coach Jason Garrett's nephew, a fellow Princeton graduate, is now a tight end for the Dallas Cowboys.
A spleen injury to Jason Witten opened the door for Harry Flaherty (6-3, 250), who signed with the Saints last year as an undrafted free agent. Flaherty was in New Jersey when he received the call from Cowboys personnel.
"I just finished working out, was eating lunch, and got a call I needed to be on a plane in about an hour and a half," Flaherty said. "I got in late last night. It's a pretty exciting opportunity."
Flaherty will be working more directly with another uncle, tight ends coach John Garrett. He said he hadn't seen his uncles since the summer, and he didn't expect a call during training camp.
"There were a few teams on the radar, but I kind of just thought because of their tight end situation, the family situation, that wouldn't really be an option," Flaherty said. "Then injuries opened it up."
Witten appeared to suffer the abdominal injury against Oakland in the preseason opener, when Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain delivered a shot to Witten's midsection after a catch in the first quarter. Witten went to the sidelines after the play, but returned later in the game.
He didn't know at the time he had a slightly lacerated spleen, which will force him to stay idle for a week to 10 days, according to Jason Garrett. Witten watched Wednesday's walkthrough, while Flaherty was on the field.
Flaherty can't participate in full pads for three days after signing, due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Cowboys have a morning walkthrough Friday before departing for Saturday's preseason game at San Diego.
"It's definitely a crash course, but I think I had a tune-up last year when I had to go to camp right after the lockout ended with New Orleans and had to learn the playbook there quickly, too," Flaherty said. "So it's definitely a whirlwind, but I feel ready to handle it."
Flaherty said he worked out with Tampa Bay in the spring and most recently with New England. He's even recruited local quarterbacks to throw to him while working out.
Flaherty was a two-year starter at Princeton, where he recorded 43 receptions for 405 yards, including 25 catches as a senior. The versatile tight end, who threw a 22-yard touchdown pass in his only attempt at Princeton, was also scouted as a long snapper last year.
To make room for Flaherty, the Cowboys waived injured offensive lineman Bill Nagy, who's missed training camp with an ankle injury.