Near-miracle catch still haunts Cowboys receiver Bryant

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Dez Bryant nearly, almost, came this close against the New York Giants last October.

The Cowboys receiver’s near-catch in the waning seconds will be shown repeatedly this week.

“Oh, man...,” Bryant said Thursday night when asked about the play. “I don’t even think about it.”

There was a long pause before Bryant added, “I lied. I do.”

The Dallas Cowboys nearly had a comeback to join the Hail Mary and the 1979 miracle comeback in team history. They rallied from a 23-0 second-quarter deficit, and then, with 10 seconds left, Tony Romo threw one up to Bryant in the end zone.

Officials raised their arms, giving the Cowboys a 30-29 lead with the point-after pending. But the play was overturned on replay as it clearly showed four of Bryant’s fingers on his right hand land out of bounds first.

“It just makes me want to get out there that much more and try to do everything right, to try not to get into that position again,” Bryant said.

Bryant, who had 13 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown in the preseason, said the Cowboys are ready for the season.

“You already know we’ve been on it,” Bryant said of watching tape of the Giants. “We’re ready. Not trying to give y’all too much, but the tape’s been watched.”

The Cowboys have never beaten the Giants at AT&T Stadium, losing four heart-breaking games by a combined 18 points.

Spencer uncertain

Anthony Spencer has practiced little in the 4-3 defense of Monte Kiffin.

Spencer had left knee surgery July 25 and has said repeatedly that his goal is to return for the season opener.

But there were no declarations by anyone this week about his presence for the Giants game.

“Hopefully Spence will get back,” Kiffin said after Thursday night’s preseason finale. “That will help us for sure. But we have to have some young defensive linemen come through for us, no doubt about it.”

The Cowboys already are without defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, who is out at least six weeks on the physically unable to perform list with a groin injury he continues to rehab. With Ratliff out and Spencer not 100 percent yet, the Cowboys are relying on some young players to fill in alongside veterans Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware.

“Even if Anthony’s ready, I’m sure he’s not ready to play 60-something plays, that’s for darn sure,” Kiffin said. “Just hope we get him back for some.”

Cornerback Morris Claiborne (knee) did not play a down in the preseason, but he declared himself ready for the season opener.

Big board almost hit

Punter Chris Jones had two punts that came close to the center-hung HD board on Thursday night.

He hit the digital board with a punt against Cincinnati last Saturday night. Then-Tennessee punter A.J. Trapasso became the first to hit the board in 2009, with a punt grazing the Mitsubishi Electric sign that previously hung below the board.

AT&T Stadium has had 284 regular-season punts without one hitting the HD board.

Though Jones hit the digital board several times in warmups Thursday night, he said he is not worried about hitting it in the regular season.

“I never think about it,” said Jones, who has punted only twice in AT&T Stadium in the regular season in his brief career. “I’m just worried about hitting a good ball and giving a coverable ball I guess you could say. The screen is what it is.”

Cuts

The Cowboys have to cut their roster to 53 by 5 p.m. Saturday. Receiver Anthony Armstrong was informed of his release Friday, though he could return after Week 1 when his salary would not be fully guaranteed if he doesn’t sign with another team. He is an immediate free agent.

Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore, guard Nate Livings, tackle Demetress Bell and safety Matt Johnson are among the biggest names on the bubble.

The Cowboys will release quarterback Alex Tanney, whom they could re-sign to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Bass fined

The NFL fined defensive lineman Ben Bass $15,750 for a horse-collar tackle of Bengals quarterback Josh Johnson in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s exhibition game. Bass was penalized 15 yards on the play.

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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