It’s seemingly been a foregone conclusion to all close observers that tight end Rico Gathers would not play for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017.
But vice president Stephen Jones made it official, regarding the former Baylor basketball star who has been on the injured reserve list since suffering a concussion in training camp.
Jones said Gathers will remain on the reserve list and start fresh with the Cowboys next season.
“Any time you get on that reserve you're not necessarily required to bring them back,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. "When a guy like Rico, who is obviously learning the game, misses this much time because he did have to sit out even more so than the minimum amount of time because of his injury, it's going to be a work in progress that he can just step right back in because he hadn't played a lot of football.
“Probably at the end of the day because we had other tight ends on our roster, probably the best thing for him is going to be to start fresh there in the off-season and get back in the groove and get another off-season under his belt. We have great expectations for him, but I think it’s real difficult after sitting out this long for him to come in and really make a difference.”
Gathers, a sixth-round pick in 2016, spent all of last season on the Cowboys' practice squad. The Cowboys had hopes of him being a contributor in 2017 because of the strides he had shown in the off-season.
He even offered a glimpse of being a red zone threat in the preseason, catching seven passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns in two games.
But that was before he suffered a concussion in practice, sidelining him for the remainder of training camp.
The Cowboys put him on injured reserve to start the season.
And while he has been seen around the facility working out in recent weeks, he had missed too much time to bring back, especially considering his lack of football experience.
This was only his second year playing the game since the eighth grade and the time he missed set back his development.