Key Stat: Dwayne Harris is 4Q game-changer

July, 26, 2013
7/26/13
9:30
AM ET
Dwayne Harris returned three punts in the first seven games of last season. Then coach Jason Garrett couldn't take Dez Bryant's reckless approach to punt returns any more after a key fumble against the New York Giants.

So he took the job from Bryant and gave it to Harris. It's one of the best moves Garrett made all season.

Harris tied for the league lead with three other players with seven punt returns of 20 yards or more. Not bad for a player who spent almost two months on the streets as a rookie in 2011 after the Cowboys released him.

What that disappointment did was force Harris to see the fragility of an NFL career. You would think a sixth-round pick would understand that, but clearly he didn't.

So he lost about 10 pounds -- Jason Garrett wants him under 200 pounds -- and it gave him just enough quickness to make a significant difference. Harris isn't fast, so he must be quick.

Most impressive is that Harris did his best work when it mattered most. Four of his returns of 20 yards or more occurred in the fourth quarter and one happened in overtime.

He made big plays at winning time. The Cowboys can use more of that this season.
Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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