Cowboys TE Rico Gathers could open season on IR

19 August 2016: Dallas Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers (#80) during the NFL preseason game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)
Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire

Dallas Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers’ concussion suffered in practice earlier this month is reportedly so severe that it may lead him to open the season on the injured-reserve, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News.

Gathers will not practice for the rest of this week and isn’t expected to play in the team’s preseason finale against the Houston Texans on Thursday, which has been moved from Houston to AT&T Stadium due to flooding caused from Hurricane Harvey.

The former Baylor basketball standout, who didn’t play a down of collegiate football, had seven catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns through two preseason games. But he suffered the concussion following a helmet-to-helmet hit with safety Kavon Frazier during practice on Aug. 15 and has yet to be taken out of concussion protocol.

Teams are allowed to reinstate two players placed on injured-reserve to open the season after Week 8.

The Cowboys took Gathers in the sixth round of last year’s NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the practice squad and was signed to a reserve/futures contract in January. His superb preseason gave plenty of reason to believe he had the chance to climb the depth chart.

“My confidence level is sky-high,” Gathers said to Jon Mochata of the Dallas Morning news a day before sustaining the injury. “With the mind-set that I approach the game, I’m not really surprised with what’s happening. For the most part, I’m just trying to focus on getting better and becoming the best.”

The Cowboys also have James Hanna and Geoff Swain at tight end behind starter Jason Witten.

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