Dallas Cowboys: Erik Walden

Former Cowboys still playing this weekend

January, 4, 2014
Jan 4
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys did not make the playoffs, but they could have as many as 11 former players taking part in the postseason this weekend.

Kansas City Chiefs

Anthony Fasano caught 23 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns in nine games for the Chiefs. He was the first of three second-round picks the Cowboys have used on tight ends since 2006. The lack of creativity at times with “12 personnel” has hurt him, Martellus Bennett and Gavin Escobar.

Indianapolis Colts

Running back Tashard Choice had 11 carries for 44 yards in three games for the Colts after he was cut by the Buffalo Bills. He had some moments with the Cowboys but could not get in the running back rotation with Marion Barber and/or Felix Jones.

Defensive tackle Jeris Pendleton was signed in June and released by the Cowboys on Aug. 26.

Erik Walden was a sixth-round pick in 2008, just like Choice, but he never showed the pass-rush ability the Cowboys hoped for. He won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers and has 45 tackles and three sacks in 15 games for the Colts.

New Orleans Saints

Shayne Graham was with the Cowboys in training camp in 2011 when they had five kickers on the roster at one point. At one point it looked like the job was his, but the Cowboys went with undrafted rookie Dan Bailey, who has been one of their best players the past three seasons. Graham was a late-season addition to the Saints' roster.

Kenyon Coleman is on injured reserve and Victor Butler is on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Philadelphia Eagles

If there was a player to make the all-airport team it would be Clifton Geathers. He had the look of the prototype defensive end in a 3-4 but he just didn’t make enough plays. He had 26 tackles in 16 games for the Eagles this season with one in last week’s win against the Cowboys.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cornerback Adam Jones had an eventful one season with the Cowboys in 2008. He has found a home in Cincinnati. He has 56 tackles and three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, in 16 games.

Terence Newman had a second straight solid season with the Bengals but missed the final three games with a knee injury. He should play Saturday against the San Diego Chargers. In 13 games he had 52 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass deflections.

Who is Kevin Brock? A tight end. He did a short stint in training camp with the Cowboys in 2010.

Dennis Roland was an undrafted offensive tackle with the Cowboys in 2006. He has had a decent career, mostly with the Bengals and is a backup now.

San Diego Chargers

The Cowboys traded Sean Lissemore to the Chargers on Sept. 1 for a seventh-round pick in 2015. Given the injuries they had on the line, they would have been better served to keep Lissemore, who might not have been the best fit in a 4-3. In 15 games (two starts), Lissemore had 24 tackles and two sacks for the Chargers.

Tight end John Phillips was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. He had four catches in 15 games.

The San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers do not have any former Cowboys on their rosters.

Could Erik Walden return to the Cowboys?

March, 18, 2012
No visits have been scheduled, but there is mutual interest between the Dallas Cowboys and outside linebacker Erik Walden.

Walden, a sixth-round pick in 2008 by the Cowboys, never made the roster, but he's played for three teams since, including the last two seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

David Rich, Walden's agent, said a few teams have expressed interest.

Last season, Walden had a career-high 41 solo tackles and picked up three sacks, two forced fumbles and knocked down three passes. He started 15 games.

If the Cowboys sign Walden, it would add to the pass rush that struggled at times if DeMarcus Ware or Jay Ratliff was shut down by double-teams.

The Packers also want to bring Walden back.

Walden had an ugly incident last November when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. Walden spent Thanksgiving weekend in jail. Last month, Walden reached a deferred judgment agreement to resolve the case without pleading guilty.

Walden agreed to perform 50 hours of community service and undergo counseling.

Erik Walden appreciates the Cowboys

February, 3, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Outside linebacker Erik Walden was the only member of the Cowboys’ 2008 draft class who got cut.

Not that he’s bitter as he prepares to start for the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

“I’ve got no animosity toward the Cowboys,” said Walden, who expects to play despite a sprained ankle suffered in the NFC championship game. “If you think about it, they opened the door for me. If anything, I need to be thanking them.”

Walden doesn’t blame the Cowboys for cutting him. He said he lacked confidence in himself during his rookie training camp and preseason, and that reflected in his performance.

It’s not like the Cowboys are the only NFL team to give up on Walden. He also played for the Chiefs as a rookie and for the Dolphins in parts of the last three seasons.

He admits that he does have a “chip on his shoulder” about his departure from the Dolphins. Miami made him a “scapegoat,” according to Walden, after their Sept. 26 loss to the Jets. He missed a block that resulted in a blocked punt in that game.

Walden was out of the league until midseason, when the injury-depleted Packers signed him. That move paid off big, particularly in the win-or-go-home regular-season finale, when Walden earned NFC defensive player of the week honors with 16 tackles and two sacks in a 10-3 victory over the Bears.

“I became more of a student of the game,” Walden said, identifying why things have clicked for him in Green Bay. “I don’t think I was doing that earlier in my career as much as I needed to.”

Wrapping up N. Texas Super Bowl ties

January, 24, 2011
Longtime Cowboys tackle Flozell Adams’ return to JerryWorld with the Steelers will be the top local angle among Super Bowl stories.

[+] EnlargeAdams
Icon SMIFormer Cowboys lineman Flozell Adams will be returning to Cowboys Stadium, but this time with the Pittsburgh Steelers for Super Bowl XLV.
Adams, who made five Pro Bowls in 12 seasons with the Cowboys before being cut last offseason, is one of several Steelers and Packers with Metroplex ties. In fact, it can be argued that he isn’t even the former Cowboys draft pick who made the biggest impact in his team getting to this point. A quick rundown of those players:

Steelers K Shaun Suisham: Suisham has had three stints with the Cowboys, the most recent coming after they cut Nick Folk in 2009. The Cowboys opted not to re-sign him last offseason, and he spent most of the season out of football. The Steelers signed him in November after cutting longtime kicker Jeff Reed. Suisham is 16-of-18 on field goals for Pittsburgh, including 2-of-3 in the playoffs.

Steelers LT Jonathan Scott: He was an All-American at Carter High in Dallas and played for Texas. Scott, a fifth-round pick by the Lions in 2006, has been a starter most of his first season in Pittsburgh because of injuries.

Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders: The Steelers selected Sanders in the third round in April, making him the highest draft pick out of SMU since before the NCAA-induced Death Penalty. He made significant contributions as a rookie, catching 28 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns and averaging 25.1 yards per kickoff return.

[+] EnlargeGraham Harrett
Denny Medley/US PresswireEnnis product Graham Harrell will be returning home as the Packers come to Arlington for Super Bowl XLV. The former Texas Tech QB was promoted to the Packers' active roster after starter Aaron Rodgers was injured last month.
Packers OLB Erik Walden: He was the Cowboys’ only draft pick in 2008 not to make the team. The sixth-round pick is now starting opposite Clay Matthews, although Walden’s status for the Super Bowl is in question after he injured his ankle in the NFC championship game. He played primarily special teams in stints with Kansas City and Miami and signed with the injury-plagued Packers in October after the Dolphins waived him. He’s earned his playoff checks. Walden was named the NFC defensive player of the week after the Packers’ playoff-clinching win over Chicago in the season finale, when he had 12 tackles and the first three sacks of his career. He also had a sack and forced fumble in the Wild Card win over the Eagles.

Packers QB Graham Harrell: The Ennis and Texas Tech product holds a long list of Texas high school and NCAA passing records, but he had to get into the NFL the hard way. He didn’t even get an invitation to an NFL training camp in 2009, which he spent in Canada. He spent most of this season on the Packers’ practice squad, getting promoted to the active roster when Aaron Rodgers was injured last month.

Packers S Charlie Peprah: The Plano East product moved into the starting lineup when rookie Morgan Burnett suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 4. Peprah, 27, played the first three seasons of his career for the Packers before getting cut last year after a knee injury and signing with Atlanta. He returned to Green Bay for the veteran’s minimum salary and produced 63 tackles and two interceptions this season.

Packers RB Dimitri Nance: Nance rushed for more than 3,000 yards during Euless Trinity’s first state championship season. He has yet to crack triple digits in the NFL. He rushed for 95 yards on 36 carries this season for the Packers, who signed Nance off of Atlanta’s practice squad.

Former draft pick stars for Packers

January, 3, 2011
In case you missed it Sunday, someone named Erik Walden sacked Jay Cutler twice Sunday and had 11 tackles. Walden was a sixth-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in '08, but he didn't make the team. He'd spent most of his career with the Miami Dolphins, but the Packers signed him off the street in late October.

Now, he's making a name for himself after replacing the injured Frank Zombo as the starter at right outside linebacker. I vaguely remember Walden from training camp in '08, but nothing about the former Middle Tennessee player stood out. But he was arguably the best defensive player on the field Sunday, and now he'll prepare to face Michael Vick.

"A lot of guys, probably names you haven't heard this season, have come up big for us," Packers Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson told reporters following Sunday's win over the Bears. "Walden had a huge day for us. You haven't heard his name a lot this year. He's a new guy on this team, but he stepped up big.

"That has had to happen with the amount of injuries we've had. We haven't had guys that have been out two weeks, three weeks. We've had guys on [injured reserve] who couldn't come back. Backups and practice squad guys who have been called up, they've had to play and play well in order for us to get into the playoffs."

The Eagles will have to focus a lot of their attention on Packers linebacker Clay Matthews on Sunday, so Walden will probably have plenty of opportunities against one-on-one blocking. Everyone talks about the Packers being a dangerous No. 6 seed based on their offense, but their defense has been equally (if not more) impressive this season.