IRVING, Texas -- Tight end Andre Smith signed with the Cowboys’ practice squad on Dec. 12, 2012 and re-signed with the team shortly after the season ended.
It was almost a formality in a way, but Smith earned his way on to the Cowboys’ 53-manr roster and figures to be active for Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants.
But there is no sense of relief.
“I don’t think it ever goes away, at least for me,” Smith said. “I try not to ever become complacent or content with what I’m doing. I’m watching one of the best players if not the best player to ever play the position (Jason Witten) in front of me, so that’s a huge mentor, a huge benefit and I love being behind him. I love watching the way he plays the game and the way he approaches the game. So it makes it a lot easier for me as far as learning, but as far as trying to fill those shoes and do the same things he can do, it’s a lot of pressure.”
Smith’s cause was helped on Monday when the Cowboys traded Dante Rosario to Chicago, breaking a five-man tight end logjam. Even Smith was surprised when the Cowboys decided to keep five tight ends after the cut to 53 players on Saturday.
Smith, 6-5, 270 pounds, is more blocker than receiver, which sets him apart from James Hanna and Gavin Escobar and makes him an option in the run game when the Cowboys use multiple tight-end formations. But Smith also displayed the ability to catch the ball in training camp and had a 27-yard gain against Cincinnati in the preseason.
“He’s primarily a blocker, but I think he grew as a receiver,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He understood how to get out of his stance, get down the field, get out of breaks and he made some plays both in practice and made a couple plays in preseason games as well. He’s the kind of guy that goes about it the right way and worked hard on an area that might be construed as a deficiency for him and that’s a good thing. When you become a more well-rounded player, you just become a better player and he’s worked hard at it.”