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Friday, August 16, 2013
Miles Austin fields punts again

By Calvin Watkins

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin hasn't fielded a punt in an NFL game, but he's practiced returning punts twice during training camp, most recently Thursday.

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The Cowboys' main punt returner is Dwayne Harris, who averaged 16.1 yards a return last season. Yet, Dallas special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia said he's open to using any player who can return punts if they can help the team.

"Miles Austin is a helluva punt catcher," Bisaccia said. "All our players that dress on game day have got to be able to help us win games. So he's a guy who can help us win games in a lot of ways. He can catch the punt with ease."

Bisaccia said he's not concerned about overusing Austin, who has a history of hamstring injuries. Of course, Austin is the starting wide receiver who will be used for almost every offensive snap.

"They're all primary," Bisaccia said. "Anyone of them, just 46 (game day players) and we need 46 to help us win. I like to use players, players play."

In previous seasons, wide receiver Dez Bryant was a featured returner; he lost that job last season after a muffed punt. He averaged 5.5 yards a return, but in 2010, he returned two for touchdowns while averaging 14.3 yards a return.