The Dallas Cowboys are returning Peyton Hendershot from the injured reserve, but ending another tight end’s season in the process. Veteran TE Sean McKeon won’t see the field again until 2024 after appearing in nine games for Dallas this season.
The roster move arrived quickly after the news that head coach Mike McCarthy is getting surgery for appendicitis, making for a distinctly medical day in Dallas. The roster move was first detailed by official Cowboys writer Patrik Walker.
“Update : Peyton Hendershot has been activated from injured reserve,” Walker wrote on X on December 6. “To make room, Sean McKeon has been moved to IR in his place. Matt Waletzko (shoulder) will have his 21-day practice window opened today. #Cowboys.”
As Heavy detailed in a previous story, Dallas had opened Hendershot’s 21-day practice window three weeks ago. Per the NFL’s rules, a player that isn’t activated during the window, he has to be released or put back on IR.
It wasn’t initially clear what Dallas would do with Hendershot, but the Cowboys are sticking with the second-year player out of Indiana. It does pose an interesting situation with McKeon, as he will be a free agent this upcoming offseason.
Peyton Hendershot Gets Back in the Mix
From the Cowboys perspective, Hendershot has more than delivered since joining the team as an undrafted free agent. It’s rare for a talented squad like Dallas to have a UDFA make an impact, much less make the roster.
But as a rookie in 2022, Hendershot made the most of his opportunities. According to Pro Football Reference, the former Hoosier was targeted 16 times, catching 11 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
The problem is that he has failed to take advantage of the same opportunities this season. Before his ankle injury this season, he dropped a touchdown pass in Week 1 before getting stuffed at the goal line on a rushing attempt in Week 2.
For a still-developing player like Hendershot, those chances don’t come often. Considering that the Cowboys are leaning more and more into Jake Ferguson and Luke Schoonmaker, they probably won’t get more frequent either.
However, Dallas clearly likes him by bringing him back to the active roster. McKeon’s injury was not disclosed, but this feels like a situation where the Cowboys were just trying to make space for Hendershot.
Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy to Have Surgery
As Heavy’s Jonathan Adams covered, McCarthy felt pain in his torso on Wednesday before alerting staff members. After being examined, it was determined that McCarthy has appendicitis and will need surgery.
However, Cowboys’ official writer Nick Harris said that McCarthy does anticipate coaching against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. And when defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was asked about McCarthy’s chances in a follow-up press conference, he made it clear he expects the Dallas ball coach to be there.
“You think that tough Irishman is gonna miss this game? We certainly expect him to be rocking by game day,” Quinn said, per ESPN’s Ed Werder.
It’s rare for a coach to miss a game, but it’s possible for the Cowboys on Sunday. But as things stand, McCarthy ought to be back for a huge NFC East clash.