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December 19, 2012

Former OU tight end James Hanna comes out of nowhere to contribute

Backup tight end James Hanna's stock is on the rise. Hanna, a sixth-round draft pick this season, played 17 of 67 offensive snaps against the Steelers on Sunday. It was the most he has played on offense this season.

Hanna took advantage, too, with two catches for 49 yards, including a 29-yarder. He has four catches for 58 yards this season.

“It’s pretty hard to describe,” Hanna said after the 27-24 overtime victory over the Steelers. “I’ve just been waiting for the opportunity to produce a little bit. When you have a chance, it’s a really good feeling.”

Hanna, who was drafted to replace Martellus Bennett, is expected to earn more playing time now he has shown what he can do.

"I thought he did a nice job in the game," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He’s a very good receiving tight end. We felt good about him on draft day being able to get a chance to pick him. ...He's a really good example who comes to work every day. Week in and week out, he gives us a great look on scout team, and he works very hard. He’s improved really day by day, week by week, and he has some real good receiving attributes and those traits were on display [against the Steelers]. We got some real favorable matchups against some of their linebackers out in space and he was a big part of that."

-- Charean Williams

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