The Cowboys will have to find a way to make do without second-year tight end Geoff Swaim, who tore a pectoral muscle during Sunday’s game.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday Swaim will undergo surgery this week.
The Cowboys will place Swaim, who had six catches for 69 yards in 203 offensive snaps this season, on injured reserve. Gavin Escobar, who had played only 29 snaps on offense before Sunday, played 18 snaps against the Steelers.
Escobar, a second-round pick in 2013, caught his only target of the season for a 2-yard touchdown against the Browns.
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“He came in and took that role, and he comes to work every day and prepares and prepares and prepares,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “It’s a great example for the rest of the team. Your situation just changed. You’re in. Are you ready for it?”
Escobar will take over Swaim’s snaps, and the Cowboys are discussing options for the third tight end spot. James Hanna and Rico Gathers are not ready.
Hanna underwent knee surgery in August, and the Cowboys placed him on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
“We don’t anticipate James being back ready any time soon,” Garrett said.
The Cowboys are pleased with the development of Gathers, who has made huge strides since the Cowboys made him a sixth-round pick. Gathers, a former basketball player at Baylor, had not played football since the eighth grade and thus was drafted as a project with still much to learn.
The Cowboys, while still considering all their options, have discussed promoting receiver Vince Mayle from the practice squad as an H-back. Mayle has spent this season, and most of last season, on the practice squad. His only game appearance came against the Patriots last season.
Rod Smith, who spent seven games on the active roster at fullback, also could be an option from the practice squad.