Receiver Miles Austin will return to the lineup Sunday for the first time since the Oct. 20 game against the Eagles.
His return is welcomed by a Cowboys offense that has sputtered tremendously over the last five weeks and maybe finally by a Cowboys fan base that has been highly critical of Austin and his oft-injured ways since signing a $56 million contract extension in 2009.
The slanderous narrative is that Austin quit caring after he got paid, which is why he hasn't fought through some of the injuries to get on the field.
The Cowboys say that whole point of view is far from the truth regarding a player who still views himself as an undrafted receiver from tiny Monmouth College.
"Oh no," coach Jason Garrett said. "His issue is the opposite. He is so committed and so hungry that we have had to help him dial it back a little and channel it and focus it so he doesn't do too much work. He is a great football player and great for our team. I have an immense amount of respect for Miles Austin. He has had some injuries. We have to find a way _ him and organizationally _ where he stays healthy. We tried to do all the right things to do that coming into this season. Again he got banged up after a couple of games. But he was playing really well for us and hopefully is back to his old form."
Tight end Jason Witten said Austin return should open up some things for him and receiver Dez Bryant, while hopefully making things pay for the constant doubling teamming they have received of late.
He said the Cowboys have missed Austin even if the public hasn't.
"I think inside this locker room, there is a lot of respect for what he has done," Witten said. "He has been banged up. Any time you have that, it's disappointing to see a guy like that get banged up, cause he does everything the right way. He is everything you want as a teammate. He works hard. He is a great player. Great to get him back out there. He brings a lot of good energy to our team, too."