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Cowboys Moving Defensive Playmaker Jayron Kearse to Roster

The ability to cover tight ends might be especially important to the Cowboys as they ready for Pro Bowler George Kittle.

FRISCO - Starting safety Jayron Kearse is out of COVID protocol and back with the Dallas Cowboys and will get back to practice here at The Star on Thursday, joining a host of Dallas playmakers who figure to be called on in a big way on Sunday. … with even bigger things on their minds.

You don’t know if it’s a championship defense until you win a championship, so we will just see,” Kearse said recently. “I think we have the players in the locker room to do it.”

Kearse - who came to Dallas on a vet’s minimum contract in an effort to prove he’s something more than than the special-teams journeyman that he largely was in Detroit and Minnesota - has done that and more, Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has exploited Kearse’s versatility - he’s a 6-4 defender who can play down in the box, sometimes cover receivers and win matchups with tight ends - to the point where he almost joins Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory as central figures in the Dallas defensive turnaround.

The ability to cover tight ends might be especially important to the Cowboys as they ready for a Sunday playoff game at AT&T Stadium against the 49ers and Pro Bowler George Kittle.

Kearse is a starter and a team leader - and no, Dallas didn’t exactly expect either of those things.

Said assistant Joe Whitt Jr.: "His role wasn’t necessarily to be a leader, but his play, his demeanor, his intelligence have put him in that role of a leader," Whitt said. "He’s a very smart man that plays with a level of aggression that makes other players want to follow him.

“He goes in there as a linebacker. He erases tight ends. He plays in the middle of the field. He blitzes. … He just gives us such versatility."

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In a bit of a technically, Dallas has a short-term exemption on Kearse’s official activation. But it’s coming. .

Meanwhile, Dallas coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday detailed the rest of the positive roster news.

Rookie cornerback Nahshon Wright (not injury-related) joined Kearse in not participating in Wednesday's practice. But tackle Tyron Smith, Parsons, Diggs and Anthony Brown are all back, running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard should be healthy and the 12-5 Cowboys hope to have a 100,000-plus audience for a “white-out” Sunday.

Tyron did appear on Wednesday's injury report as limited with knee/ankle ailments, but as Dallas practices in pads today, Coach Mike McCarthy said, "I have no reservations" about Smith for Sunday.

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