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Jakar Hamilton hoping for a chance

IRVING, Texas -- The loss of Tyler Patmon for at least a few weeks due to a knee injury leaves the Dallas Cowboys with issues in the secondary.

They have just three healthy cornerbacks on the 53-man roster in Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr and Sterling Moore. They have Micah Pellerin on the practice squad and could call him up to the active roster, but they could also look to Jakar Hamilton, who is more of a safety by trade.

"One of the things that Jakar showed us in training camp is that he can play a nickel spot," coach Jason Garrett said. "So he did a lot of that when we had some injuries in camp and did a nice job with it. I don't want to say this in a negative way, but surprisingly so. We kind of viewed him as a safety and then day after day in camp he was playing down around the line of scrimmage in that nickel spot and seemed to handle it fairly well. That's certainly part of the equation as we figure out what our options are. And then Micah Pellerin, our practice squad corner, has a chance to move up. As this week goes on, we'll figure out what the best moves are based on Patmon's availability."

Patmon's playing time increased as the Cowboys went to more dime defenses in recent games. Going with only three corners on game day might be too much of a risk, so Pellerin could be the better bet. But getting an extra corner and Hamilton active is possible.

Hamilton was suspended the first four games for violating the NFL's drug policy. He was on a roster exemption for the fifth game. He has been inactive for the five games he has been on the 53-man roster.

Hamilton said he's "grateful to still be here," alluding to his suspension.

"You've just got to always be prepared," Hamilton said. "It's like a middle linebacker having to know everybody's position if you're that athletic to play everything. I think that it's wise to learn everything because you never know what can happen and who can get hurt."

Hamilton played in only three games last year as a rookie after spending time on the practice squad and was credited with three tackles.

"I'm very, very anxious," Hamilton said. "I'm just like a kid on the edge of his seat just waiting to be called. Last year I go the chance but I really didn't take advantage of it and see how important it was to see it. Now I've got to grasp hold of that. I'm just on edge about everything, practicing, walkthroughs. Anything, I'm trying to learn."