156145358 Scrap Heap LBs Could Prove Vital For Dallas

Ernie Sims of the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter in a game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 11, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (credit: Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

IRVING (AP) – Ernie Sims and Brady Poppinga joined the Dallas Cowboys from the NFL scrap heap. They could end up playing important parts in trying to salvage a season.

Both times the Cowboys lost the play-calling linebacker in the middle of their defense to a season-ending injury, they turned to a veteran to fill the roster spot.

First it was Sims after Sean Lee badly damaged a toe Oct. 21 against Carolina. This week it was Poppinga after Bruce Carter dislocated his left elbow in the Thanksgiving loss to Washington.

Now Sims is a starter heading into Sunday’s game against Philadelphia (3-8). Poppinga is the only backup listed at both inside linebacker spots for the Cowboys (5-6).

Dan Connor, a free agent pickup in the offseason, is the other starter.

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