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IRVING, Texas - When kicker Billy Cundiff originally suffered the quadriceps tear back in training camp, the Cowboys knew there would be an opportunity to re-sign him at some point, but it would be well down the road.

In fact, they were hoping they could get by without him.

And for the most part they have. But when the opportunity finally arrived to re-sign the fourth-year kicker, the Cowboys have jumped at the chance.

After an impressive workout on Friday here at Valley Ranch, the Cowboys signed Cundiff Saturday afternoon and promptly released rookie kicker Shaun Suisham, who has handled the kicking duties for the Cowboys for the last two games.

Cundiff now takes over and will be ready for Sunday's game with the Lions (Noon, CST) at Texas Stadium.

Cundiff re-signed to a one-year deal worth the fourth-year minimum $455,000, although the kicker will receive less than half of that total since only seven games remain in the regular season.

When Cundiff tore his right quad the final practice of training camp, Cowboys head coach Parcells decided the club could not qualify keeping him on the 53-man roster until he healed. The Cowboys released Cundiff injured, having to pay him a six-week injury settlement - the projected time he would need to heal and pass a physical. NFL rules prevent teams from re-signing players paid an injury settlement for a mandatory six weeks, plus the number of weeks of salary paid in the settlement. That amounted to 12.

Because the Cowboys released Cundiff almost immediately during preseason, they were eligible to re-sign Cundiff after 10 weeks of the regular season. The 10th week expired Monday night following the Philadelphia game.

The Cowboys hope Cundiff can bring a little more consistency to a position that has seen some ups and downs already this season.

After Cundiff suffered the injury, the Cowboys were left with veteran Jose Cortez, who had been signed in the middle of August, mostly just to give Cundiff a break from kicking every day in training camp.

But when Cundiff suffered the injury and was waived/injured on Aug. 24, the Cowboys were left with Cortez, who had been erratic during his career with the 49ers.

Cortez made 12-of-16 field goals in his seven games with the Cowboys, but missed an extra point in San Francisco, and later missed a 29-yard field goal in Seattle, in what turned out to be a 13-10 loss.

The Cowboys released Cortez the following Monday after the Seahawks defeat, and signed Suisham, who had spent time earlier in the season on the practice squad.

Suisham, a rookie from Bowling Green, made two short field goals against the Cardinals (Oct. 30) in his NFL debut, and connected on all seven extra-point attempts in the last two games.

But his kickoffs have been rather short, and the Cowboys are hoping a rested and rehabilitated Cundiff can not only provide more distance in that department, but more consistency in field goals as well.

In three years with the Cowboys, Cundiff made 55-of-74 field-goal attempts and all but one of his 87 extra-point tries. Cundiff has also hit a few game-winners and other clutch kicks during his career with the Cowboys. His 52-yard field goal against the Giants in 2003 was not only his sixth field goal of the game, but forced overtime. He then hit a 25-yard kick to give the Cowboys a 35-32 win that included a club-tying record seven field goals.

Cundiff also hit game-winning field goals in St. Louis (48 yards) in 2002 and then to beat the Eagles at home in 2003 with a 28-yard field goal.
I hope he continues to play the way he did before he got hurt!
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