The Dallas Cowboys started training camp this weekend. And now they have suffered their first set-back to a successful 2013 campaign. Second year defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford suffered a lower leg injury in practice on Sunday that saw him carted off the field. Although the extent of the injury is still be determined by team physicians, Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that even Crawford believed it was his Achilles.
He was participating in slalom drills against tackling dummies when he fell to the ground and yelled in pain. He held his left ankle and lay on his back, pounding the ground in anger. “Achilles!” he told the trainers. “I can’t — believe this!”
The loss of Crawford for the season would be a significant blow to the Cowboys plans. Not only are they learning a new defensive scheme under coaching legend Monte Kiffin, but they are also making the transition to the 4-3 defense this off-season. And Crawford represented the best young talent the Cowboys possessed along that now thinning defensive line.
Dallas suffered similar injuries to safety Barry Church and linebacker Caleb McSurdy last season. Both are currently back at camp now.
I would expect Dallas will begin shopping for some veteran defensive end depth in free agency. The Cowboys did sign and release Anthony Hargrove earlier this off-season. He might be an option. Three of the biggest defensive lineman names still available in free agency are Richard Seymour, John Abraham and Vonnie Holliday. But Dallas has a recent of history of avoiding the bigger named free agents in lieu of younger project guys. So I’d expect the signing of a relative unknown after any announcement that Crawford would miss significant time.
UPDATE: DallasCowboys.com has now confirmed that Tyrone Crawford suffered a torn Achilles injury and will be out for the rest of the season.