Parcells sticking with Hambrick in Dallas

Tuesday, October 21, 2003 at 1:00am

The Cowboys now enter a brutal stretch of their schedule that has five of their next seven games against Tampa Bay, Buffalo, New England, Carolina, Miami and Philadelphia.

Despite the team's attempt to make a deal for running back before the expiration of the trading period Oct. 14, coach Bill Parcells said he is still steadfastly in Troy Hambrick's corner.

"I'm going to stick up for him because he's as good at blocking the blitz as probably anybody I've ever had except Mo (Maurice Carthon)," Parcells said. "He's a pretty good inside runner. He's powerful. He hasn't fumbled the ball. Would I like to see a little more out of some things? Yeah, obviously, I would. But I can't make him into something he is not."

Parcells is working with Hambrick, trying to make him more patient.

"That is not inherent in every runner," Parcells said. "I think when Troy sees it, he will go through it. Sometimes sorting it out is a little more difficult for him right now. Sometimes we're not helping him as much as we could. ... Does he have the same advantages right now that Emmitt (Smith) had in his prime with this team? No, he doesn't have the same."

Dyson progressing

When Carolina Panthers and former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson tore his Achilles tendon before training camp, it was not expected that he would be able to play this season. But there was always hope.

Now, that hope is being realized because Dyson is ahead of schedule in his recovery and could return to practice in a week or two. He was placed on reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list, making a comeback this season possible.

Starting Oct. 14, a three-week window began in the NFL for players placed on PUP or reserve/non-football injury that failed their training camp physicals. Once the player starts practicing, another 21-day period starts in which the player can practice. By the end of the 21 days, the team must either activate the player, release him or keep him on reserve.

"Kevin feels like he's close," general manager Marty Hurney said. "We're just going to see how he feels day by day. We thought it was a long shot (to return) at the time (he was hurt). But Kevin told us that he's a fast healer. And, he's doing real well right now in rehab."

Seeing Rex

Bears quarterback Chris Chandler made it through Sunday's game against Seattle with his health intact, but it makes sense for the Bears to get rookie Rex Grossman some playing time. Even if Kordell Stewart is healthy enough to return this week, the Bears should still consider getting Grossman some experience.

Said Grossman, "I would never go into a game thinking that a quarterback's going to get hurt, but if that were to happen, I'm ready to go and I'm excited about the opportunity. It's not like I don't do anything. I'm just bored because I don't get to play. I get to watch and learn and do all the drills, but I don't really get the rewards for all that

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