The Dallas Cowboys are in need of all the playmaking help they can get with Ezekiel Elliott serving a six-game suspension, but it doesn’t appear as if backup tight end Rico Gathers will be making an impact anytime soon.
The Cowboys drafted the former Baylor basketball star with designs on turning him into the next Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham, using his size and athleticism first to turn him into a red zone threat and then hopefully turning him into a more complete player from there.
However, after spending his rookie season stashed on the practice squad, Gathers suffered a concussion during the preseason after showing quite a bit of promise. The Cowboys had hoped that he’d be able to make it back at some point this season, but executive vice president Stephen Jones shot that idea down on Monday.
“When a guy like Rico, who is learning the game, misses this much time because he did have to sit out more so than the minimum amount of time because of his injury, we just — it’s going to be a work in progress that he can just step right back in because he hadn’t played a lot of football,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan according to David Helman of DallasCowboys.com.
“At the end of the day, because we had other tight ends on our roster, probably the best thing for him is going to be to start fresh there in the offseason and get back in the groove.”
Gathers hasn’t seen regular-season action yet in his career, so there’s clearly no guarantee that he’s ready to contribute in a big way. However, the organization still feels as if he has enormous potential and that he could potentially succeed Jason Witten as the starter given his athletic abilities and that 6-foot-7, 270-pound frame.