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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