Terrance Williams ready for return duty

IRVING, Texas -- Dwayne Harris has been one of the Dallas Cowboys' more underrated players. He is a dynamic returner and is tied for the team lead in special-teams tackles.

A hamstring injury will keep Harris out of Thursday’s game against the Oakland Raiders and leave the Cowboys with some holes to fill.

Terrance Williams will replace Harris as the kick returner and hopes to fill in as well as he did as a receiver after Miles Austin suffered a hamstring injury. He had one return for 21 yards against the New York Giants after Harris got hurt.

“Dwayne is one of the best returners so I’m just trying to keep the yards up so we can start off with good drives, like he’s been giving us all year,” Williams said. “I’m just trying to keep his spot nice and hot until he gets back so he can just be ready to go.”

Harris is second in the NFL in kickoff returns, averaging 31.3 yards. He's also second in punt-return average at 14 yards. Cole Beasley will take over the punt-return duties.

Williams returned kickoffs his first two years at Baylor, averaging 22.3 yards a return with a long of 51. During the season he has worked as a returner in practice and in pregame warmups.

"Growing up, it was that type of mentality, just like running away from the other people," Williams said. "But here I think Coach Bisaccia, his plan and his scheme is to where if the blockers do their job like they’re supposed to, then we can just find a hole and keep running.”

Williams’ speed is a big reason why the Cowboys want him to return kicks.

“Terrance is a big, strong guy who runs north and south,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Once he gets going as a kick returner, I think you feel is speed, you feel is heat and that’s a good thing. He’s fearless running up in there. I think he’s handled it well so far.”