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August 30, 2012

Lemon's pick-six against Miami draws praise, could help him land roster spot

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Orie Lemon, who spent last season on the practice squad, made the type of play in Wednesday’s pre-season finale against Miami that could earn him a roster spot this season.

Lemon, an Oklahoma State product, scored a second-quarter touchdown on a 26-yard interception return. Lemon read the eyes of Miami quarterback Matt Moore, undercut the route of running back Marcus Thigpen and jogged into the end zone for the score.

Lemon’s play was the first to draw praise from Cowboys coach Jason Garrett during his post-game news conference, when Garrett acknowledged that multiple performance against the Dolphins could cause some last minute tweaks to the 53-player makeup.

“Orie Lemon made a huge play in the game with the interception return for a touchdown,” said Garrett, adding that Lemon played “with the right spirit and the right mentality.”

But will it earn him a roster spot?

“You never know,” Lemon said. “I’ve got to get better at a lot of things on the defensive side of the field. I’ve got to get better on special teams also. I know if I do, I’ll be on somebody’s team. I’ll be on special teams mostly. I think I opened up a couple of eyes.”

Lemon, a Houston native, said he hopes the eyes he opened belong to Dallas coaches. He said: “I want to stay here. I don’t want to go anywhere else. It’s like family to me. I would love to stay here. But if I had to go somewhere else, I’ll do what I have to do … I feel like I put some good film out (for other teams to notice).”

Consider Cowboys inside linebacker Sean Lee among those who has noticed Lemon throughout training camp.

“Orie Lemon is a real physical football player. He improved a lot through the year last year and he worked hard this off-season,” Lee said. “There’s one thing you can’t teach and that’s the ability to make plays with the football. That’s an ability he has. He works hard. He’s a smart guys and he’s a great teammate. I’m really excited to see him do well.”

_ Jimmy Burch

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