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Dwayne Harris' penalty a curious call to Cowboys

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The NFL has attempted to make the game safer by protecting players from unnecessary hits. Sometimes, however, it seems the game has changed too much.

Take Dwayne Harris' unnecessary roughness penalty in the fourth quarter on a punt return. Instead of allowing Nolan Carroll II the chance to down the kick deep in Dallas territory, Harris blocked him and a scuffle ensued between the two teams.

Here’s Jason Garrett’s explanation: “My understanding of the rule is that if you don’t have a fair-catch signal, you can hit the guy. My understanding of the rules is if you hit him in the chest, which he appears like he did, it’s a legal hit. If Dwayne were catching the ball, not in a fair-catch situation, that guy probably would’ve hit him in a very similar fashion.”

Garrett said referee Clete Blakeman told him, “he hit him too hard unnecessarily.”

What? Is this football?

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one,” Garrett said.

Neither had Harris.

“What am I supposed to do, not hit him at all?” Harris said. “I feel like I barely even touched him.”

Garrett said the Cowboys will send the play in to the league to be reviewed.