Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys Re-Sign DB Marcus Coleman

Just five days after releasing him, the Cowboys have re-signed versatile defensive back Marcus Coleman.

The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed 10-year veteran defensive back Marcus Coleman, who was released last Saturday for procedural reasons, after having had rejoined the team following a league-imposed four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL substance-abuse policy.

Club officials indicated on Saturday that the primary reason for the release was that Coleman would have been guaranteed 75 percent of his salary if he were on the roster last week. By releasing him over the weekend, and now re-signing him, the Cowboys voided the guarantee. Coleman, 32, had signed a one-year, $850,000 contract in April, with a base salary of $810,000, the minimum for a veteran with 10 or more seasons in the league. He will still receive a salary of $810,000, but prorated over the final 11 weeks of the season.

The team cleared a roster spot for Coleman on Monday by waiving wide receiver Jamaica Rector, who was subsequently signed to the Dallas practice squad.

The versatile defensive back was signed to provide the Cowboys veteran depth and flexibility in the secondary. He played in the preseason in nickel and dime packages, then was suspended before the start of the regular season. Team officials feel he can still add stability to a position under scrutiny. Rookie free safety Pat Watkins has started every game but struggled at times. There may be some situations in which Coleman could replace Watkins or play as an extra safety.

Primarily a cornerback for the first eight seasons of his NFL career, much of that with the New York Jets, Coleman moved to safety in 2004 with the Houston Texans and played well at the new position. He started 12 games at free safety in ’04 and, despite missing the final month of the season with a shoulder injury, registered 80 tackles, two interceptions and eight passes defensed.

The Cowboys are very strong on defense but the safety position continues to be a problem. Yes, Roy Williams is a hitting machine and is likely headed to his third straight Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, if the receiver gets past him, it’s a touchdown.

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