Rico Gathers was going to face an uphill battle to make the Dallas Cowboys roster in 2019. Now a suspension is another obstacle he’ll have to overcome.
August of 2017. That’s how long it’s been since former Baylor basketball star Rico Gathers mesmerized fans of the Dallas Cowboys scoring touchdowns in each of his first two preseason games. Nearly two years later, and entering into his fourth season in the NFL, Gathers has yet to live up to those glimpses of greatness in the regular season.
In fact, Gathers didn’t even make the active roster in Dallas until last season, spending his first two seasons on the practice squad or on injured reserve. He played a total of 146 offensive snaps in 2018, recording three receptions for 45 yards on a mere seven targets. Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and rookie Dalton Schultz all more than doubled Gather’s snap total each, securing Rico’s place at the bottom of the depth chart last season.
Despite Swaim leaving Dallas this offseason to join the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency, the return of Jason Witten from retirement has cemented the future Hall of Famer as the starter in his place. That leaves Jarwin, Schultz, Gathers, and newcomer Codey McElroy, himself a former professional baseball prospect and college basketball player, battling it out for roster spots.
Going into the new season, it’s unclear if the Cowboys would once again keep four tight ends on the final roster. So this year would once again be an uphill battle for the 25-year old. Unfortunately, Gathers’ path to the active roster received another obstacle on Friday after the NFL levied a one-game suspension against the former 2016 sixth rounder for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Prior to final cuts in Dallas last season, Gathers was arrested for marijuana possession. He would later plead guilty to a Class C misdemeanor receiving a sentence of 90 days deferred adjudication, a $99 fine plus court costs. That according to Kate Hairopoulos, Sportswriter for the Dallas Morning News.
In order to earn a place on the Dallas Cowboys’ final roster this upcoming season, Rico Gathers will not only have to battle his teammates and prove his development as an all-around tight end, but he’ll also have to justify the team keeping him despite his recent suspension. Although it’s not a major obstacle to overcome, it’s just another reason the Cowboys could simply opt to move on come August.