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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    See wdwain's Items on eBay

    Post Cowboys release Hambrick


    IRVING, Texas - If there was even the slightest doubt the Cowboys would have a new starting running back next season, it became official Thursday.

    The Cowboys outright released running back Troy Hambrick, who started all 16 games last season, but attracted no interest in the trade market over the past month.

    "Troy gave us good effort for all of his time with the Cowboys," owner Jerry Jones said. "We appreciate his contributions and wish him the best as he explores his future options in the NFL."

    Hambrick proved he was not the answer to replacing Emmitt Smith, not only rushing for just 972 yards last season, but averaging just 3.5 yards per carry.

    And that led to the Cowboys using a second-round pick in last month's NFL Draft on Notre Dame running back Julius Jones, the next heir apparent to the job Smith owned for 13 seasons.

    This move comes as no surprise after Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells said on April 30 the team had informed Hambrick there was a good chance he would be traded or simply released once it became apparent the running back chores would fall on the shoulders of Jones and possibly even Richie Anderson.

    "I told Troy I wanted to be fair with him," Parcells said two weeks ago. "I had a meeting with Troy. I told him if we drafted a front-line runner then we might consider doing something with him. He knew that in advance. We sat down and talked about it. I told him also if I could find a spot that is better for him then we would do that. We got to a point where we decided not to do it then I go by what I see how he performs when he comes in. Troy's been in all season. He's been working pretty good, to his credit. He's got to do that. He knows that. So that would just be down the road."

    So cutting Hambrick should pave the way for Jones to receive ample opportunity to win the starter's job during training camp and preseason games. Jones will be considered the frontrunner to win the starting job, with Aveion Cason, Erik Bickerstaff and ReShard Lee the only other true running backs on the roster. The Cowboys will also use Anderson to carry the ball, Parcells saying he will consider 11-year veteran fullback more of a multi-purpose back and likely full-time third-down back. Hambrick's Career Totals

    Year Att. Yds Avg. Long TD
    2000 6 28 4.7 13 0
    2001 113 579 5.1 80 2
    2002 79 317 4.0 18 1
    2003 275 972 3.5 42 5

    And any possibility of Hambrick becoming a backup fullback probably was eliminated when the Cowboys traded for Tampa Bay fullback Darian Barnes and signed rookie free-agent fullback Lousaka Polite for Pittsburgh.

    As for Hambrick, he might have a few options available. Several teams have yet to solidify their running back positions. It has been reported Denver and Oakland could be interested in acquiring Hambrick, although at this point teams don't seem to be rushing to knock down his door.

    His release ends an interesting four years in Dallas, three of those spent sitting behind Smith, although the final two not so quietly.

    The outspoken Hambrick, younger brother of former Cowboys linebacker Darren Hambrick, had trouble taking a backseat to the aging Smith, despite his run for the record books. Even during the 2002 season Smith surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL's all-time leading rusher, Hambrick often sounded off, stating his case for more carries and even made an argument for starting ahead of Smith.

    Hambrick finally got his wish in 2003 when the Cowboys released Smith, who eventually signed a two-year deal with Arizona. The Cowboys seemed intent on finding out about Hambrick, not selecting a running back in the draft nor signing a veteran free agent.

    So the job went to Hambrick without much competition. But it didn't take long for Hambrick to show he wasn't capable of replacing a legend, much less of handling the full-time ball-carrying duties.

    Having to carry the whole load for the first time in his career, Hambrick struggled with the role as the every-down back. He often lacked the quickness to hit the hole and he rarely made defenders miss in the open field.

    While he showed a few flashes, including an 189-yard rushing performance (third-most in club history) against the Redskins, Hambrick was a non-factor in too many games last season. Hambrick failed to rush for more than 45 yards in six of the final eight games, and that included a two-yard performance on three carries in a Thanksgiving Day loss to the Dolphins.

    Hambrick barely resembled the backup back of 2001, when he averaged seven carries a game and 5.1 yards a carry splitting time at running back with Smith and starting nine games at fullback. Hambrick returned as the backup tailback in 2002, but his numbers declined, as did Smith's, in a dismal, injury-riddled season the Cowboys were forced to use 10 different starting combinations on the offensive line.

    But as the Cowboys improved under Parcells last season, making the playoffs for the first time since 1999 with that 10-6 record, they did so without a consistent running game.

    Despite getting more than half of the team's carries, Hambrick produced only two of the Cowboys' five-longest runs from scrimmage. A 47-yard jaunt late in the fourth quarter against Washington and a 31-yard touchdown run against the Jets were the only two breakaway runs Hambrick had last year while leading the team with five rushing touchdowns.

    So it seemed apparent the Cowboys would address the running back position in either free agency or the draft this off-season. While they passed on veterans such as Duce Staley and Charlie Garner, they also caused quite a stir on draft day, passing up on both Steven Jackson and Kevin Jones to complete a trade with Buffalo for a second and fifth-round pick that day and the all-important first-rounder next year.

    With Buffalo's second-round choice, the Cowboys selected Jones, the back who seemed to have caught Parcells' eye from the beginning.

    Although Jones will be a year removed from Smith's final days in Dallas, the comparisons already have heated up - from their stature, bulky upper bodies and even the No. 22 both wore in college. Jones, though, will not wear Smith's No. 22 in Dallas, and he certainly has a few thousand yards to gain before the comparisons to Smith go any further.

    And as difficult a task as that will be for Jones, knowing he must make people forget Emmitt Smith, he likely will be the next guy with the opportunity.

    The same one Hambrick always wanted.

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  3. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    See harrynjeana's Items on eBay

    All I have to say is=BYE,BYE!!

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  4. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    hmmm, I saw that on the news - wonder what happened?

    they're now going to have a rookie start?

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