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Alfred Morris’ future remains murky with Cowboys

Returning punts has a different kind of risk that the Dallas Cowboys shouldn't take with Dez Bryant.

Alfred Morris has become forgotten, mainly because he never complains. One of the NFL’s nice guys, Morris has gotten more publicity for his 1991 Mazda he bought for $2 than about anything regarding his role with the Cowboys.

But Morris’ future remains uncertain, even as he shows up to The Star every day with a smile on his face. The Cowboys have shopped Morris all offseason, and there’s a good chance his future is elsewhere.

“Straight pro,” Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown told PFT. “Doesn’t talk about it. Doesn’t mention it. Comes out has fun with it. Enjoys being around his teammates. That’s the kind of guys you need.”

Morris signed with the Cowboys last season before they drafted Ezekiel Elliott in the first round. Morris played only 112 snaps in 13 games, getting 61 carries.

The Cowboys believe Morris needs carries to be successful, which makes him an ill fit in their offense with Elliott expected to play an even bigger role this season, and Darren McFadden having re-signed for one year with a $695,000 cap hit.

Morris is scheduled to make $1.2 million, counting $2.14 million against the cap. That likely makes him expendable unless the Cowboys have an injury to Elliott or McFadden before the start of the season.

That’s exactly what happened last year when McFadden fractured his right elbow during the offseason and missed most of last season.

“You just don’t know from year to year what’s going to happen, so you try to keep as many great players around as you can and then the business takes over after that,” Brown said. “Obviously, we would like everybody to stay, but that’s not realistic. We’ve got to make sure we’re training everybody, and we’re covering all our bases, and let whatever happens happen.”

Executive vice president Stephen Jones admitted last month that the Cowboys would prefer their third running back to contribute on special teams. Morris does not play special teams. That might open up a roster spot for Temple running back Jahad Thomas, whom the Cowboys signed as an undrafted rookie free agent.

But the Cowboys, who coveted San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey in the fourth round before the Eagles beat them to him, plan to use rookie Ryan Switzer in the running game in place of free-agent departure Lance Dunbar.

Morris, though, could help a running back-needy team. He is a three-time 1,000-yard rusher whose positive locker room presence make him a good fit somewhere.