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Cowboys news: Dallas legend Walt Garrison dies at 79

Garrison played for nine years in Dallas and retired in 1974 as the No. 3 rusher and No. 4 receiver in franchise history.

NFL: USA TODAY Sports-Archive Darryl Norenberg-USA TODAY Sports

Walt Garrison, who played for Cowboys in college and NFL and was a real rodeo cowboy, dies at 79 - The Associated Press

Embodiment of America’s team. Rest in peace.

A fifth-round draft choice out of Oklahoma State, the 6-foot, 205-pound Garrison played nine years in Dallas and retired in 1974 as the No. 3 rusher and No. 4 receiver in franchise history. He’s still fourth on Dallas’ career list with 4.32 yards per carry and ninth with 3,491 yards rushing.

As a little-used backup during his rookie season, the Cowboys said he would go out after team meetings and compete in local rodeos as a steer wrestler, then get back to the hotel before 11 p.m. curfew.

But it was Garrison’s rodeo career — which he called his first love — that made him the ultimate cowboy. He also was a longtime spokesman for U.S. Tobacco and its Skoal smokeless brand, with the catch-phrase “Just a pinch between your cheek and gum is all it takes” a staple of his 1970s television adds.

“I wasn’t starting,” Garrison was quoted as saying. “I was returning punts and kicks and covering on the kamikaze squad, that’s all I was doing. And hell, you could get hurt worse on them than you can rodeoing. I didn’t think much about it, but the Cowboys did.”

“Coach Landry pointed out that there was a clause in my contract that if I got hurt doing another sport, that my contract would be null and void,” Garrison said. “And I said, ‘OK.’ I didn’t think rodeo was that dangerous.”

Cowboys’ Leighton Vander Esch set for IR; Mike McCarthy likes fit of new LB Rashaan Evans - CBS Sports, Garrett Podell

Four to six weeks without the Wolf Hunter. Who will step up?

FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys are walking wounded, both physically and spiritually, after their 42-10 “kick in the ass” — head coach Mike McCarthy’s words — at the San Francisco 49ers on “Sunday Night Football.” One of their critical injuries from that defeat was inside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the team’s primary defensive, on-field signal-caller.

“The update would be he [Vander Esch] is not available this week, and he is going to be designated on the injury reserve list,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “Then, we will watch the process.”

While Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has seen Markquese Bell and other safeties assume some of the duties he would normally assign to a linebacker, the Cowboys have gone to external aide to help fill in the gap. Dallas signed 27-year-old, free agent linebacker Rashaan Evans to the practice squad on Thursday after working him out on Wednesday. Vander Esch is expected to to be out four to six weeks at least given his impending IR placement.

Rashaan Evans ‘ready’ to jump in for the Cowboys -, Patrik Walker

Wouldn’t want to hear anything else.

FRISCO, TX — The loss of Leighton Vander Esch to injury creates a cavernous void in both on-the-field play and in the continued mentoring of the young linebacker corps, so it’s a no-brainer the Dallas Cowboys reach into free agency to grab Rashaan Evans — a former first-round pick who is no stranger to performing under pressure on a big stage.

The Alabama product wants to be a rising Tide that lifts all boats in Dallas.

“Sh-t, I could play this week if I wanted to,” said Evans on Thursday, following his first practice with the team.

That’s likely true, but the final decision will be made by head coach Mike McCarthy, as Evans readily admits, as they see how he progresses in practices this week ahead of a critical matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday night.

‘We’re a great defense’: Cowboys’ D aims to rebound vs. Chargers - ESPN, Todd Archer

The Cowboys defense needs some redemption this week.

The defense was not supposed to have performances like it did against San Francisco. Not when they were the ones mentioning themselves in the same breath as the 2000 Baltimore Ravens’ defense and the 2013 Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Boom in training camp.

They allowed 42 points to the 49ers after allowing 41 in the first four games.

They had just one sack after putting up 14 in the first four games.

“We’re a great defense, that’s what we are,” safety Jayron Kearse said. “If you really break it down and you put it into perspective, you watch great shooters in basketball go out there and have rough games, and that’s no different than us. We had a rough one. They had our number. They beat us bad, speaking on the defensive side and that’s all it was.

“But we wasn’t crowned the best defense in the league after we had a 40-0 game against the Giants. And we’re not going to be crowned the worst defense in the league after what went on Sunday. So we’re just going to continue to work and continue to get better. We know who we are.”

3 Players the Cowboys Should Target at the 2023 NFL Trade Deadline - Bleacher Report, Alex Ballentine

Anyone else you would add to the list?

Despite the injuries, the Cowboys have enough of their core to remain competitive the rest of the season. However, it might take a trade or two by the October 31 deadline to maximize the season for Dallas.

TE Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

Finding a veteran who can pair with Ferguson could be a move that pays big dividends. Zach Ertz would make a lot of sense as a target. As a former Philadelphia Eagle, the Cowboys are familiar with his game and he’s currently on the final year of his contract with a bad Cardinals team that isn’t going anywhere this season.

The ability to play more 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) could help Dallas find some consistency. According to 33rd Team, the Cowboys are sixth in EPA per play when in that personnel grouping, but they are just 22nd in 12 usage.

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