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Some Dark Clouds Over the California Cool

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Camp has finally broken, but the trickle of injury news turned to a torrent Saturday, meaning the team will have even more questions to answer Monday night.

First, kicker Billy Cundiff injured a hip flexor muscle and will miss the next three to four weeks. Since most NFL kickers live by a lease-but-do-not-buy philosophy, Cundiff's Cowboys career may be done. He has done a decent job with Dallas, but nobody mentions Cundiff and, say, Stenerud in the same breath. Chances are he will not be available for the season opener.

Recent signee Jose Cortez, a former 49ers kicker, will get all the reps Monday. Cortez had the longer leg in practice last week, though Cundiff seemed a bit more accurate. Neither seemed much different than the other. Cundiff appeared to have an edge because he was the kicker the coaches knew.

The bigger news involves running backs coach Anthony Lynn, who escaped serious injury after being struck by a drunk driver Saturday night. Lynn was crossing a crowded Ventura street when he was hit by a car estimated to be going 50 mph. The driver fled the scene but was arrested later. Lynn suffered a broken nose, but thankfully avoided any brain injuries.

While the Cowboys were thankful for the good news on Lynn, many of the players had heavy hearts upon the news of OT Thomas Herrion's death. The 49ers lineman collapsed in the team's locker room after last night's preseason game with the Broncos and died later of unknown causes. Herrion spent the 2004 preseason with the Cowboys and had many friends on the team.