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Behind Cowboys’ late move at RB

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IRVING, Tex. — When the Dallas Cowboys assessed their largely successful offseason, the only place they felt regrets was at running back.

While the Cowboys signed free agent Darren McFadden, they failed to get a running back in the draft to truly replace the departed DeMarco Murray.

They went into training camp with McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar as the group expected to share carries and carry the load in the backfield.

But the Cowboys always left open the option of getting a running back via the waiver wire or trade after final cuts.

They did just that on Sunday when they traded a conditional seventh-round pick to Seattle for bruising running back Christine Michael.

A former second-round pick, Michael is talented. But he couldn’t gain traction behind Marshawn Lynch in the Seahawks backfield.

He comes to Dallas however with an opportunity to bring some thunder to a running back committee that currently features finesse speed backs in McFadden, Dunbar and Randle.

In 14 games over two seasons, Michael had 52 carries for 254 yards for the Seahawks.

He is not expected to the guy in Dallas.

But he gives them insurance. He gives them depth.

He gives them a short-yardage runner and someone to pound defenses in the second half.

Michael fits what the Cowboys were looking for all along. They didn’t want a veteran back, which is why were never interested in Fred Jackson, Steven Jackson or Ray Rice.

Now they would have made a move for Adrian Peterson if the Vikings would have ever made him available because he is a Hall of Fame talent.

The Cowboys, however, felt they could get by with a committee approach and still have a dominant ground game because of the presence of the league’s best offensive line.

It’s time to find out if just about anybody can run behind that line.

–Linebacker Rolando McClain was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL suspense abuse police. He will be eligible for the Oct. 11 game against the New England Patriots.

McClain however will be allowed to work out at the team’s facility while serving his suspension.

Per league rules, players suspended under the substance-abuse policy are allowed to work out at the team’s facility but not take part in meetings or practice. That is not the case for players who are suspended for personal conduct or the steroid policy.

Linebacker Greg Hardy started his four-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy and will not be allowed in the facility.

There is still a chance Hardy will seek the help in federal court to further reduce the suspension. He originally was suspended for 10 games but had that reduced to four by arbitrator Harold Henderson.

At issue for Hardy is that his infraction happened under the old conduct policy that called for a two-game suspension. He may not win in the court of public opinion but he could win in federal court if it is believed the league overstepped its bounds.

Notes: Right guard Zack Martin is expected to be ready for practice Monday and beyond. Martin missed the final three preseason games because of a painful stinger sustained in practice against the St. Louis Rams. … Tight end Geoff Swaim, a rookie seventh-round pick, made the final roster, giving the Cowboys four tight ends, including Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna. … Linebacker Keith Smith made the final roster after signing with the team the first week of training camp. … Quarterback Dustin Vaughan didn’t make the final roster after serving as the third quarterback last year. He struggled in the preseason and was among the cuts to 53. But he is expected to be brought back to the practice squad. … Running back Gus Johnson, among the final cuts, is expected to be brought back to the practice squad after an impressive preseason for the undrafted rookie free agent. … Wide receiver Lucky Whitehead made the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. He will be the team’s fifth receiver and could earn a spot as the primary punt returner.


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