The Cowboys decided to release Tashard Choice only after the running back injured his hamstring late last week, coach Jason Garrett said Monday. Choice missed practice Friday after injuring his hamstring and would not have been able to play against the Eagles.
Thus, he became expendable when the Cowboys needed the roster spot to activate rookie linebacker Bruce Carter from the non-football injury list. The Redskins claimed Choice off waivers. He will play his old team Nov. 20.
"The timing of the Tashard decision had more to do with the health and the availability of Tashard," Garrett said. "He was not going to be able to play in the game [Sunday]. He very well might not be able to play in the game this coming week. So the idea he was going to be able to help us until Felix [Jones] got back is not accurate. We felt like we needed a roster spot. He wasn’t going to be available anyway. We’ve done this with other guys on our team. Laurent Robinson was released when he wasn’t healthy, and he came back a couple weeks later to help us. That happened with Montrae Holland coming out of training camp. So we felt like it was a roster move we were willing to make, because he was not going to be available anyway to allow us to bring someone else in the game who could help us. ...If he was available to us in a couple of weeks to sign back, he certainly would be in the mix, but it looks like Washington has claimed him. So we’ll continue to evaluate that situation as we go forward and hopefully Felix will be back sooner rather than later."
The Cowboys went into the game against the Eagles with only two healthy running backs. Rookie DeMarco Murray started and rushed for 74 yards on eight carries. Rookie Phillip Tanner had 2 yards on his only carry. Jones has missed the past two games with a high-ankle sprain. He could miss one and maybe two games before returning. He would say little about his injury Monday, saying "we'll see" when asked whether he might play against the Seahawks.
After Choice injured his shoulder on a fumble last week against the Rams, Tanner replaced Choice and ran for 34 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Those were his first NFL carries.
Tanner's development as a running back allowed the Cowboys to feel comfortable about parting ways with Choice, Garrett said.
"We feel really good about the progress that Phillip Tanner has made both as a special teams contributor and also as a running back and also someone who can catch the football out of the backfield," Garrett said. "He’s really come on strong, had an excellent preseason and has played well the last couple, three weeks on teams, and we have a confidence level in him."
-- Charean Williams