The Dallas Cowboys are waiving tight end Rico Gathers, ending three years of steady progress with the club for the former Baylor basketball player who chose to pursue pro football over a shot at the NBA.
The 25-year-old Gathers’ status on the roster became more tenuous when 11-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten came out of retirement after a year in broadcasting. Gathers also missed time at training camp with an ankle injury before Monday’s decision.
Gathers hadn’t played football in a decade when he decided after four years in the Baylor basketball program that he would make himself eligible for the NFL draft. One of the best rebounders in Big 12 history was a long shot to get taken, but the Cowboys grabbed the 6-foot-6 Gathers with their final pick in the sixth round in 2016.
After a year on the practice squad and a season on injured reserve because of symptoms from a concussion, Gathers made the team last year. He played in 15 games with four starts, catching three passes for 46 yards.
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Witten, Blake Jarwin and Darwin Schultz are likely to make the 53-man roster. Second-year player Codey McElroy is the fourth tight end in camp.
Now, Gathers’ football career is at a crossroads. He is still just 25 years old, so it’s possible another team could take a flier on him.
He was scheduled to make $570,000 in 2019 and is facing a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
He was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana during the 2018 preseason but made the 53-man roster.
The Cowboys also cut offensive guard Tariq Cole, according to the NFL transactions report.