San Francisco Chronicle
Cowboys re-sign DE Fowler, add former Chiefs RB Jones
FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys are bringing back defensive end Dante Fowler and running back Rico Dowdle while adding two outside free agents for depth in running back Ronald Jones and lineman Chuma Edoga.
Fowler signed with Dallas last year, reuniting with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn from when Quinn was the head coach in Atlanta. The 28-yearold finished with six sacks, his most since a career-high 11½ with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019.
The signing of Jones on Tuesday comes after the Cowboys released twotime rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott in a costcutting move. Jones saw limited duty with Super Bowl champion Kansas City last season.
The Cowboys put the $10.1 million franchise tag on Tony Pollard with the expectation the fifth-year player will be their lead back in 2023. Pollard broke his left leg in Dallas’ 19-12 divisional-round loss to San Francisco but is expected to be ready for the season.
Edoga has played mostly tackle in college and the pros but could be an option at guard after the Cowboys lost left guard Connor McGovern to Buffalo in free agency. Edoga was drafted two spots behind McGovern in the third round in 2019.
Dowdle has had three injury-filled seasons with the Cowboys, missing most of 2022 with an ankle issue after a hip problem kept him out all of the previous season.
Former Pats LB Hightower retires
Dont’a Hightower is making a quiet exit after a memorable career with the New England Patriots.
The veteran linebacker, who did not play last season, announced his retirement Tuesday in an essay posted on the Players’ Tribune website.
It ends a decade-long run in New England that began with the Patriots selecting him 25th overall in the 2012 draft. It included three Super Bowl rings (2014, 2016, 2018) and a pair of Pro Bowl selections (2016, 2019). He also was named a second-team AllPro in 2016.
Hightower called his decision “a happy day.”
“People always ask what makes the Patriots culture so different. Easy answer: it was about professionalism, period. You knew that you had to show up every single day — not just physically but more so mentally,” he wrote. “We had a saying, ‘If you do it right, you do it light.’ Being good was expected. Being great might even get you a thumbs up from (coach) Bill (Belichick). Luckily, I knew a thing or two about that from my time at Alabama under Coach (Nick) Saban.
“For nine seasons, I lived that mentality 24/7. Today, I’m totally at peace knowing that I gave this franchise every ounce of sweat I had left.”
Hightower appeared in 117 games in his NFL career, amassing 27 sacks and 353 tackles.
With his wife expecting their first child, he opted to sit out the 2020 season because of concerns about COVID-19. He returned in 2021, but his production was down. He played in 15 games, logging 64 tackles and 1 ½ sacks.
He became a free agent that summer but didn’t sign a new contract.
Hightower likely will be most remembered for tackling Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch on the 1-yard line late in the Super Bowl following the 2014 season. The play preceded Russell Wilson’s pass that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler in the end zone to clinch the Patriots’ 28-24 victory.
Bills sign Harris to aid backfield
The Buffalo Bills restocked their offensive backfield by signing free agent Damien Harris to a one-year contract on Tuesday.
Harris spent his first four NFL seasons with the division rival New England Patriots, and his signing comes a day after Buffalo lost starter Devin Singletary, who agreed to a deal with Houston.
Harris led the Patriots with 2,094 yards rushing and 20 TDs rushing since being selected in the third round of the draft out of Alabama. He also had 40 catches for 281 yards.
His best season came in 2021, when Harris finished with 929 yards rushing and scored 15 times, the second-most rushing TDs in a single season in team history. Three of his eight career 100-yard rushing games have come against Buffalo.