Dallas expects to keep four tight ends

Wednesday, August 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

IRVING – The Cowboys will likely keep four tight ends on their roster because they don't know whether tight end David LaFleur, slowed by two strained groins the past five months, will be available for the first game on Sept. 3.

In addition to LaFleur and Jackie Harris, Tyji Armstrong and Rickey Brady are also expected to make the roster.

The Cowboys need an extra tight end because offensive coordinator Jack Reilly likes formations with two tight ends, and Jackie Harris is considered more of an H-back than a pure tight end. At 247 pounds, he doesn't have the bulk to consistently win battles against much bigger defensive ends.

LaFleur, who rested the groin much of training camp, said it still hasn't improved much. LaFleur, a four-year veteran, said he doesn't know whether he'll be ready for the first game against Philadelphia.

"I couldn't tell you one way or the other," said LaFleur, who participated in limited drills in practice on Tuesday. "I haven't done anything in quite a while. Hopefully, I'll try to get out there for a few plays against St. Louis this week. It would let me know how it's going to react and whether this injection will work"

LaFleur had an injection last week to eliminate the inflammation around his groin.

"It's not your typical athlete's groin strain," trainer Jim Maurer said. "It's something that we're going to have to monitor week-to-week. When you deal with an injury like this, you're not afforded the ability to rest it as much now that we're about to start the season."

A key test, said owner Jerry Jones, is how LaFleur's body responds Wednesday.

Jones ponders Hayes

Jerry Jones said he is considering adding former receiver Bob Hayes to the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium. Although he said he is unsure if he will make any selections this year, Jones said Hayes was on the top of his list.

"I have always considered Bob Hayes anytime I've looked at the Ring of Honor," Jones said. "Under many criteria, he deserves that kind of consideration. When you really analyze it, he deserves to be at the top of the list."

Jones said he is sensitive to fans who are concerned about Hayes' off-field problems. Hayes spent 10 months in prison for a drug conviction, and struggled with drug and alcohol abuse.

"If it wasn't for those issues, he'd already be in the Hall of Fame and the Ring of Honor in my mind," Jones said. "But I'm grappling, too, with the same thing that the Hall of Fame group thought about, and that is the period of time that he played, his contribution, and what he did during that period of time, and should the point of emphasis be on the field. I think you start taking a lot on when you start looking at judgment after careers."

Roster moves

The Cowboys traded receiver Jeff Ogden to Miami for an undisclosed draft pick, waived running back Michael Black, and put cornerback Kevin Smith on the Reserve/Retired list. The Smith move frees up a spot for the Cowboys, who had to cut their roster to 71 on Tuesday. Smith asked owner Jerry Jones to put him on the Reserve/Retired list while he mulls retirement. Jones has said that if Smith retires, the Cowboys will consider adding him to their coaching staff.