The Cowboys drafted Mike Hamlin in the fifth round last season. He was inactive for 10 games, partly for a wrist injury. Hamlin played in the first two games this season, but he was inactive Sunday in favor of rookie free agents Barry Church and Danny McCray.
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said a couple of factors played into the decision.
Dallas activated Scott Chandler to the 53-player roster Friday in order to have three tight ends active for the game. They had been forced to use defensive end Marcus Spears on offense on two goal-line plays against Chicago because they lacked a third tight end.
The other factor was McCray has been good on special teams in the two games he's played, and he can play the nickel linebacker spot. Church made his debut against the Bears and also played pretty well on special teams.
So that left Hamlin inactive.
"Each of them have different strengths, and I think Church really played well on special teams the week before, and we thought he could help us on goal line. McCray has been playing well," Phillips said.
Church had one tackle on defense -- a fourth-quarter, goal-line stop on Arian Foster -- and an assist on special teams. McCray had an interception and a special teams tackle.
-- Charean Williams