Sammy Morris thought he was done

IRVING, Texas -- Wearing a No. 23 jersey, newly acquired running back Sammy Morris didn't look out of place on the Cowboys practice fields Tuesday morning.

A veteran of 11 NFL seasons, Morris was officially signed Tuesday to help the depth problem the team has at the running back position game following the placement of starter DeMarco Murray and backup Phillip Tanner on injured reserve.

Morris, who played his college ball at Texas Tech, was released by the New England Patriots after the preseason and spent three months watching football, waiting for an opportunity to play. But Morris also resigned himself to thinking his career was coming to an end.

"I hadn't heard anything for a while, so I assumed I'm going to ride into the sunset," Morris said. "So I got the phone call. ... I all but said I was done in my mind, but it didn't turn out that way."

Morris is expected to play some on special teams, especially with safety Barry Church out for the season because of a shoulder injury and another safety, Danny McCray, nicked up with an ankle injury that could limit him in practice.

Then there's the running back spot, where the Cowboys were down to one (Felix Jones) after the New York Giants game Sunday night.

Morris has 708 carries in his NFL career for 2,955 yards and 26 touchdowns.

"I would expect so, but time will tell," Morris said. "Some of the terminology is carried over, and I'm sure some of the nuances I have to pick up that I would only pick up with being only in the system consistency. But again, I will learn what I can, whatever is depended upon on me is what I'm going to take care of."

Morris becomes the second Cowboys player signed this season that has a played with head coach Jason Garrett. Frank Walker played with Garrett in his rookie season in 2003 with the New York Giants. Morris played with Garrett in 2004 with the Miami Dolphins.

"He's certainly the right kind of guy in the role that he's had in his career," Garrett said. "He's done it as well as anybody. He's been a backup running back, backup fullback and when he's had opportunities to carry the football and catch the football, certainly been able to do that. He's been a core special teams player, really throughout his career, so the right kind of guy."