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Cowboys Release Pro Bowl Center Andre Gurode

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IRVING (AP/CBSDFW.COM) - The agent for Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode said that he has been released by the team. Agent Kennard McGuire confirmed the move in an email on Monday.

The Cowboys forced Gurode to sit out Saturday night’s game in Minnesota while they decided whether to trade, cut or release him. Dallas will save $5.5 million against the cap by dropping Gurode, who has made the Pro Bowl the last five years. Gurode is 33 and going into his 10th season. He has been durable, starting every game the last three seasons and all but two over the last five years. He had knee surgery in June.

Jones and coach Jason Garrett have consistently took a “better late than never” approach toward Gurode’s operation, which landed him on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp. Once he was ready, he stepped right in with the first team, albeit with Phil Costa still getting some snaps. Gurode started the second preseason game against San Diego and flew with the team to Minnesota.

“There’s certainly no discipline involved here. It’s just a cap thing,” Jones said Saturday night in Minnesota. “We need to look at it from the standpoint of where he is, what we pay him, what we’re going to be doing in the future.”

Now that the Cowboys have decided to release Gurode, they have to consider how to replace him. They have several options already on the roster, from right guard Kyle Kosier to injured backup guard Montrae Holland to several rookies, including Kevin Kowalski, who did just fine in a surprise start in place of Gurode on Saturday night.

The best option is Costa, who’s strong performance this preseason is a big part of the reason Gurode’s roster spot was in jeopardy at all. However, Costa is dealing with a sprained knee ligament suffered last week. He’s expected to be out two to four weeks, although team owner Jerry Jones believes Costa will be ready for the season opener on September 11 against the New York Jets.

Jones said, “He got pushed,” referring to Costa. “So, that’s a positive for the team.”

Dallas already has two rookies on the first-team line, so adding Costa or another rookie would be a huge youth movement. It also would mean only two returning starters — Kosier and Doug Free — with Free, the left tackle, the only lineman returning in his same spot. The Cowboys started this overhaul by drafting Tyron Smith in the first round and spending two more picks on linemen. Then, when the lockout was lifted, they cut Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis.

Jones also suggested Saturday that he’s thinking more strongly about getting rid of players a year too early, rather than too late. “If I looked back in the 22 years that we’ve been involved and looked at where I like to have them [decisions] back it has been staying too long and remembering the way it was in a player’s career rather than the way it is,” he said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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