Lett Returns To Depleted 'Boys

This image provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows USFWS bird biologist Brian McCaffery conducting shore bird research inside the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska.
AP (file)

While the Dallas Cowboys are facing the absence of several top offensive players this week, the defense got some good news Tuesday with the return of lineman Leon Lett.

Lett's eight-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy ended Monday night following Dallas' 27-17 loss to Minnesota. In that game, the Cowboys had Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith go down with injuries.

The two-time Pro Bowl lineman returned to the team's Valley Ranch training facility Tuesday and met with coaches. He'll practice Wednesday and could play 20-25 snaps Sunday against Green Bay as a backup to starting tackles Alonzo Spellman and Chad Hennings.

"Any time you can get a player like that back it helps your football team," coach Chan Gailey said. "Now he's got to get into playing shape and he's got to be able to go out there and help us a certain number of plays."

"But a guy that talented will obviously be able to help us somewhere down the road. Hopefully it's this week, but we'll have to wait and see."

Lett has missed 28 of the last 60 games because of three suspensions since 1995. Commissioner Paul Taglibue has said another violation would cost him a year.

The 6-foot-6, 295-pound lineman is known as The Big Cat for his quickness. He has been an excellent run stopper and a good enough pass rusher to help free the ends.

"He can make a big impact," Gailey said. "How quickly and how much, I don't know. But when he steps on the field, I think he will have an impact."

The Cowboys waived reserve Nathan Davis to make room for Lett on the active roster. Davis, best known for his multiple body piercings and tattoos, was inactive for four of the last six games.

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