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Cowboys sign CFL kicker Lirim Hajrullahu as Greg Zuerlein progresses toward season opener

He may just be a camp body but between Niswander’s struggles and Zuerlein’s extended stay on the PUP, he’s necessary.

NFL: AUG 29 Rams Scrimmage Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Greg Zuerlein remains on the PUP list as the Cowboys approach their third preseason game, though indications from practice and team officials suggest he’s on pace to be ready for the season opener at Tampa Bay. In the meantime, The Cowboys needed to address their hole at kicker. Last season’s punter, Hunter Niswander kicked off the preseason with a 1/3 performance that saw him hit initially from 29 yards out and then miss his next two. Badly. Against Arizona, he was a more respectable 3/3, with a long of 38 yards, but the Cowboys decided more help would be necessary before Saturday night’s in-state clash with the Houston Texans.

As suche they signed kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, 31, is a multi-time all-star kicker with the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, with a career highlight of kicking the game-winning field goal in the 2017 Grey Cup game.

Hajrullahu was brought in for a workout with the Cowboys early Wednesday and signed later that same morning. With the CFL having canceled its season in 2020 due to COVID-19, Hajrullahu’s most recent body of work lies in 2019, an all-star season in which he made 47 of his 55 field goal attempts (85.5%), with a long of 56 yards. He’s also handled punting duties throughout his career, with an average of 44.1 yards per punt.

Most recently, Hajrullahu was part of the Carolina Panthers practice squad in 2020 and, while he was resigned to a futures contract back in January, he was later released in March.

In all likelihood, he will be little more than a camp body to provide some improved kicking while Zuerlein continues progressing toward the season opener. He has had a decorated career in the CFL, and at the age of 31, should still have plenty left in the tank, but the pandemic effectively forced his hand and led him to try and catch on with an NFL team.