FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys have not employed a healthy first-string place-kicker all summer, and though they expect to have one soon, when Greg Zuerlein comes off PUP ... they rather need one now.
That's the logic behind the signing of Lirim Hajrullahu, a native of Kosovo who at age 9 reportedly emigrated to Canada with his family as refugees.
Hajrullahu, 31, spent six seasons kicking in the Canadian Football League and was a two-time All-Star and a Grey Cup champion. Hajrullahu has bounced around the NFL a bit, most recently having been in the training camp of the Carolina Panthers.
But previously, he spend a summer with the Los Angeles Rams, where Bones Fassel, the Rams special-teams coordinator who is now in Dallas, became family with him.
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The Cowboys have on their roster veteran punter Bryan Anger ... but on Thursday they cut former XFL punter Hunter Niswander, who was with Dallas last year and has this summer served as the fill-in kicker for Zuerlein, the former Pro Bowler with the Rams who is working through an offseason back surgery but is expected to be fine for the NFL season-opening game in September when the Cowboys visit the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday morning before practice here at The Star that Niswander is “having an issue.” So Niswander is out and a new kicker is in.
Regarding Zuerlein's return, Fassel said, I think the timing is going to great, and by Jacksonville (the final NFL preseason game) or at least Week 1 he's going to be 100 percent on all cylinders."
In the meantime, Dallas has not worked much on field-goal kicking operation this summer, and there is a preseason game to be played on Saturday when the Houston Texans visit. So the Cowboys don't have "Greg the Leg'' at the moment, so they've signed another leg ... for the moment.
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