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Dallas Cowboys News and Notes: DeVonte Holloman, We Hardly Knew Ye

Your Cowboys news for a Friday, which feels like a Saturday, because it's the day before gameday. Today's headlines: neck injury forces DeVonte Holloman to retire; practice developments; defensive linemen recovering from long-term injuries.

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Ronald Martinez

Cowboys: Neck Injury Likely Ends DeVonte Holloman's Playing Career - Jon Machota and Brandon George, DMN

I'll let Coach tell it like it is:

"DeVonte got information back from the doctors in San Antonio and some other doctors he visited with regarding his neck and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to play football any more," Garrett said. "This becomes an easy decision for him and his family when you’re dealing with that kind of an injury."

Source: Football is "Too Dangerous" for Cowboys' DeVonte Holloman - Brandon George, DMN

Not much new here except for this tidbit, which was enough to generate the headline:

To repair his spine, Holloman would need spinal fusion surgery at the C3-C4 and C4-C5 vertebra levels, a source said.

"That would be too dangerous to try and play with," the source said. "He’s better off not doing it."

In case you were wondering what C3, C4 and C5 represent, here's an image of the cervical vertebrae:


As you can see, the damage is right in the center of Holloman's neck, which, thanks to its curvature, receives a great deal of impact, especially on head-on shots.

Cowboys express Support For LB DeVonte Holloman. "It's Heartbreaking," CB Brandon Carr says - David Moore, DMN

Holloman's teammates express the sentiments we all feel when a promising young man has his lifelong dream curtailed at 23.

Carr believes that Holloman will take the same attitude and work ethic that he displayed at Valley Ranch into "the next chapter.’’ Tight end Jason Witten said Holloman was a young player with a great future.

At least one possible "next chapter" has presented itself:

And in the wake of Holloman's injury...

Dallas Cowboys Take a Look at Former TCU Linebacker Jason Phillips - Rainer Sabin, DMN

That headline pretty much says it all.

Oh, and some comparatively benign injury updates courtesy of The Dallas Morning News. The DMN reports that the Cowboys are still baffled by Matt Johnson's prolonged hamstring injuries (after his visit to a back specialist reveals nothing) and Ben Gardner is 100% confident he'll come back from his shoulder injury at full strength. What other percentage should we expect from a semi-divine being chiseled from wurtzite boron nitride?


In related linebacker news...

Romo, McClain Return To Practice - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

In the ever-evolving practice availability churn, the Cowboys were Even Steven on Thursday: their quarterback and MLB returned to practice, and two defensive backs - B.W. Webb and Johnny Thomas - were sidelined, Webb with a hip injury that promises to keep him out of Saturday's game in Miami.

Hitchens in the Mix at Middle Linebacker - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

After spending all of training camp at weakside linebacker, Archer writes, the rookie fourth-rounder finds himself competing for the starting job in the middle. And he's being helped by the best: Sean Lee.

Hitchens has a heck of a tutor. He spends "as much time as [he] can" with Lee, who is trying to get the rookie up to speed as quickly as possible in the mental details of playing middle linebacker in this scheme.

"In meetings during camp, he sat right behind me," Hitchens said. "He was always in my ear. I’m looking this way and I just hear him in the back of my head talking to me. He just gives me a little knowledge here and there."


Scout's Notebook: Quick Thoughts From This Week - Bryan Broaddus, The Mothership

The Broad One concocts a collection of cogitations concerning the current Cowboys. A couple:

Don’t be surprised to see Zack Martin get his first game action at center against the Dolphins. Martin has been working at the position and looks comfortable enough to see how far he has really come as a possible backup.

Keep an eye on Caesar Rayford and the amount of work that he will get in this game. It looks like the coaches have settled on his playing as a three technique instead of trying to move him all over the line. In the times I have seen him play, there has been some nice get off on the ball.

Cowboys Must Figure Out Fullback's Value - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

Indeed, this is the key to one of the 53 roster puzzle pieces. At least one aspect of the decision will be easy:

The "who" right now is easy; the job would go to veteran Tyler Clutts. But it is far from a given that the Cowboys will keep a fullback heading into the regular season.


And we wrap up with a pair of good news stories from the defensive line...

Spencer's Body Healing Well; Goal to Avoid PUP - Rowan Kavner, The Motherhship

As Kavner notes, giving an active roster spot to a player who may not be available for a few games is a risky move. Still, Spencer wants to avoid getting "pupped" if at all possible:

"Yeah, I want to be out on the field as soon as possible, and PUP will put me out six weeks," Spencer said. "I haven’t plateaued yet. My body’s responding well to the things that we’re doing, so we’re just going to continue to do them."

Cowboys DT Amobi Okoye: "I'm Pretty Much a Walking Miracle" - DMN Staff

Following up on yesterday's feature piece on Okoye, the Morning News publishes a nice interview with the Cowboys' would-be defensive tackle. This on his experience waking up from a 3-month coma:

Okoye: "Well what I remember from that was I was talking to one of the nurses. I was like arguing with her that it was March 15th, and she was like, ‘I’m sorry it’s actually August 7th.’ I didn’t want to believe her. I asked everybody in the room, ‘is it really August 7th,’ and I answered my phone, which I hadn’t seen in forever, and it said August 7th. ‘Wow. It’s really August 7th.’"

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