Sports

December 9, 2011

Cowboys give Sensabaugh five-year extension for $22.5 million

Safety Gerald Sensabaugh is rewarded for a strong season.

IRVING -- Safety Gerald Sensabaugh didn't get the security of a long-term contract extension he was seeking the past two years from the Dallas Cowboys.

After spending four years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sensabaugh signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys in 2009 hoping to earn a bigger deal with his play.

Instead, he had to settle for one-year deals in 2010 and then again before this season.

Sensabaugh remained patient. Now in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career, he has been rewarded with a five-year, $22.5 million contract extension, including $8 million in guaranteed money. The team announced the signing Friday afternoon.

Sensabaugh is the Cowboys' second-leading tackler in 2011 with 63 stops. He also has two interceptions, four pass deflections and two forced fumbles.

Roster moves

The Cowboys made two roster moves, placing running back Phillip Tanner on injured reserve with a hamstring injury and signing receiver Andre Holmes to the active roster from the practice squad.

Tanner has appeared in nine games as a rookie. He had 22 carries for 76 yards with one rushing touchdown. He also added three tackles on special teams. Holmes has been on the practice squad since Sept. 5 after being cut by the Green Bay Packers.

Owner dismisses critics

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he wants to laugh when people wonder if Jason Garrett can handle being both head coach and offensive coordinator.

Garrett was criticized this week for not trying to get closer for a potential game-winning kick against Arizona. The Cowboys got the ball to the 31-yard line with 26 seconds left and two timeouts, but settled for a 49-yard field-goal try.

"I almost chuckle when I hear people say, 'Well, can he handle all of that or did he get confused?'" Jones said on his weekly radio show on KRLD/105.3 FM. "Of all the people I know, the one that's got the mental capability to handle a lot of things, it would be Jason. That's his forte. And there's no doubt in my mind, at any time during that ballgame, the process was alive and well and working."

Ryan: It's a must-win

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Sunday's game against the New York Giants is a must-win.

"In my opinion, yes, it is," he said. "We need to win this game."

Asked if he had communicated the same to his players, Ryan said, "I always tell them the truth."

Ryan acknowledged that the Cowboys have been less effective in the second half of the past three games, but he wasn't discouraged.

"The bottom line is over the last five weeks, we're fifth in the league in scoring defense, and that's pretty good," he said. "We haven't been perfect by any stretch. We're playing hard. Our guys are starting to get it. There's a reason we're starting fast, and that's because we're really preparing well."

Murray OK with plan

Running back DeMarco Murray, averaging 66 yards the past three games, is not discouraged by his lack of production. He had only 12 carries last week, and Felix Jones had six.

"It's just our game plan," said Murray, who has had at least 20 carries in five of his six games as a starter. "We felt that Felix was doing well.... He was making a lot of yards, definitely doing some good things. He was feeling it, so I've got no problem with that."

Murray is on track for a 1,000-yard season and to break Tony Dorsett's 34-year-old team record for rushing yards (1,007) by a rookie. He needs 136 with four games to go.

Briefly

The Cowboys Stadium roof will be open Sunday night. Fans are reminded to dress warmly.

Parking lots will open at 3:30 p.m. Stadium Plazas and gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @calexmendez

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