Tablet Sports

Cowboys notes: Garrett says injuries slowed Murray’s run to Pro Bowl recognition

DeMarco Murray became a 1,000-yard rusher and a Pro Bowl player this season, and coach Jason Garrett said it might have happened before now if not for injuries.

“If he had stayed healthy in other years, he probably would have had similar numbers and similar production,” Garrett said Tuesday at the Senior Bowl. “So it was a big thing that for the most part, he stayed healthy and had production both as a runner and also as a receiver. He’s a darn good football player.”

Murray missed two games this year because of a knee injury. He has missed 11 games in his first three seasons because of injuries.

“I’m troubled, but not to the extent that I want to do anything about it,” owner Jerry Jones said Monday of Murray’s injury history, citing the potential of 2013 draft pick Joseph Randle and 2012 undrafted free agent Lance Dunbar.

Jones said he is not necessarily looking to add a runner.

“It would have to be a pretty unique situation,” he said. “... But we’ve got some pretty good competition there, especially if we want to keep a fullback on the roster.”

Murray is the fifth Cowboy to make the Pro Bowl this season. Left tackle Tyron Smith and receiver Dez Bryant were voted in while Murray, defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and tight end Jason Witten made it as alternates.

Job openings

Jason Garrett said Carlos Polk’s deal to become the assistant special teams coach, replacing Chris Boniol, has not been finalized but that he is impressed by Polk, who worked with Rich Bisaccia in San Diego and was an intern for the Cowboys last season.

“He’s someone who really was a good addition to our team this year,” Garrett said. “He really came in and played a very prominent role for us on that special teams unit. That was a good group of guys back there — Rich, obviously leading it, and Carlos and Chris Boniol. So we like those combinations. He certainly made a very favorable impression.”

Asked if he is considering former Giants assistant Mike Pope for the vacant tight ends coaching position, Garrett said, “There are a number of guys that we’ve talked about in that situation. Mike’s a good friend of mine, though. Obviously a very good coach.”

Garrett, who was with Pope on the Giants in 2000, said there is no timetable to hire a tight ends coach.

“We do have some coaches who are out of contract. We’re trying to get those things settled,” Garrett said. “We’re just in the process of those conversations right now.”

Brent trial

Garrett said the Cowboys continue to support Josh Brent, whose trial for intoxication manslaughter is in the jury deliberation phase. Linebacker Sean Lee appeared in the courtroom Tuesday.

“Our support for Josh has been unwavering since the start of this thing, and that just simply continues,” Garrett said. “Obviously a very tragic situation for Jerry Brown and his family, for Josh Brent. This is the process that you go through, and we’re supportive of him, and we’re just hopeful that the outcome is something that’s certainly justified and allows him to continue on with his life.

“It’s a very tragic situation, and that hasn’t changed.”

Escobar’s impact

Jones said rookie tight end Gavin Escobar did not disappoint him. The number of chances Escobar got disappointed him.

“We’re going to do something about that,” Jones said. “Going forward, he’ll have a lot more opportunity, and he should have had a lot more opportunity than last year. We looked back and said that this is something on our should-have-done list, having him more involved in the offense.”

Escobar, the Cowboys’ surprise second-round pick last year, caught nine passes in his rookie year. Two went for touchdowns, including an athletic play at the pylon against Philadelphia in the season finale.