The search for running backs continued for the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday.
Robert Turbin became the latest to join an ever-growing list of running backs the Cowboys have brought in this season, and he gives them a more veteran backup in the mix.
Turbin will join rookies Rod Smith and Trey Williams as the primary backups for Darren McFadden. Turbin, who is in his fourth season, is expected to grasp the offense quickly, although it’s probably too much to ask him to be ready by Sunday’s game in Miami.
“Coach Garrett called last night [Tuesday] and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to hit the ground running. You’re going to be prepared for that?’ ” said Turbin, who spent training camp with Seattle before being claimed off waivers by Cleveland.
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“I said, ‘Yeah.’ And here we are.”
Robert Turbin was with Seattle in training camp, spent time with Cleveland before being waived and was headed to a Steelers tryout when Dallas called.
It has been a whirlwind process to the Cowboys for Turbin, who was cut by the Browns earlier this month. He went through a workout with the New York Giants on Tuesday, and was about to head for a tryout with the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Turbin found himself at the airport trying to determine whether to check his luggage for the Pittsburgh flight, and he eventually opted to. Of course, five minutes later is when the Cowboys called and changed Turbin’s plans. Fortunately for Turbin, he got his luggage back and is happy to have landed in Dallas.
“I’m here and I’m happy about it,” Turbin said.
Turbin is the third running back with Seahawks ties the Cowboys have brought in this season. They traded a 2016 seventh-round draft pick for former Texas A&M product Christine Michael, who has since been released, and Smith also spent time in the Seahawks’ organization.
We’ve communicated a bunch today, learning new stuff. McFadden is great as well.
New Cowboys backup running back Robert Turbin, on picking up playbook pointers from Rod Smith and Darren McFadden
That should only benefit Turbin in picking up the offense.
“[Rod Smith] has been here a little bit longer than me so he knows the scheme a little bit better,” Turbin said. “We’ve known each other, we spent camp together in Seattle, so we have that relationship. We’ve communicated a bunch today, learning new stuff.
“McFadden is great as well. He’s got a great attitude and a great approach to the game. We’ll continue to work together, help each other get better so we can be successful on Sunday.”
The Cowboys listed 14 players on their injury report Wednesday, and that doesn’t even include quarterback Tony Romo, who is coming back from a broken left collarbone.
Romo doesn’t have to appear on the injury report until he is officially on the roster.
But with a long list of injuries to various players, ranging from shoulder (Brandon Carr and Jeff Heath) to back (DeMarcus Lawrence) to toe (Kyle Wilber), the Cowboys cut down the time spent on the practice field Wednesday.
The team went through a longer walk-through period in the morning, and tightened up their afternoon practice session.
“We got a lot of guys who are banged up,” Garrett said. “We got a lot of work in our walk-throughs to really deal with some of the guys who are banged up and won’t be able to practice fully.”
He’s just dealing with a few different things. It’s his foot. It’s his ankle. It’s his knee. But Dez is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around ...
Coach Jason Garrett on Dez Bryant’s injuries
Wide receiver Dez Bryant (foot/knee) and cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring/ankle) ranked as the more notable players who didn’t go through the practice portion at all.
The Cowboys continue to take a cautious approach with Bryant, who missed five weeks with a broken right foot and then injured his right knee while making a touchdown catch against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9.
“He’s just dealing with a few different things,” Garrett said. “It’s his foot. It’s his ankle. It’s his knee. Lot of different things, but Dez is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around and he comes to work every day. Certainly comes to work on Sundays.
“He’s a great competitor, so he’s going to do what he needs to do to get himself ready to play.”
Claiborne, meanwhile, left last Sunday’s game just before halftime with a hamstring injury. Garrett said Wednesday that Claiborne is also dealing with an ankle injury, and continued to say he is day-to-day.
Other players who didn’t participate in practice included safety Barry Church (ankle), wide receiver Brice Butler (hamstring) and defensive end Ryan Russell (abdomen).
Among the limited participants were Carr, Heath and Jeremy Mincey (thigh).
On the positive injury front, linebacker Sean Lee returned to practice for the first time since leaving the Week 9 game against Philadelphia with his second concussion in five weeks.
Olatoye excited for opportunity
Cornerback Deji Olatoye is ready to make his NFL debut. He has been preparing for the moment the past two seasons, and is finally in position to get his chance after being promoted from the practice squad Wednesday.
The Cowboys needed more secondary depth with Claiborne’s injury, and also after releasing Corey White on Tuesday.
“In front of them [the coaches when I found out], of course I was calm and cool,” said Olatoye, who went undrafted out of North Carolina A&T and spent time with the Ravens and Chiefs practice squads.
“But in my head, I was pretty excited.”
▪ The Cowboys activated linebacker Mark Nzeocha from the non-football illness list Wednesday.
▪ The Cowboys signed safety Tim Scott and linebacker Keith Smith to their practice squad.