Cowboys sign veteran Rossum in effort to boost return game

The Dallas Cowboys signed return specialist Allen Rossum on Tuesday, a league source told NFL Network's Jason La Canfora.

Terms of the deal with Rossum, who was born and raised in Dallas, weren't known.

Rossum was released by the 49ers on Monday and immediately drew interest from three teams, according to the source.

Rossum, a 12-year veteran who ranks second in NFL history with 14,987 return yards, should help the Cowboys' special-teams units. Miles Austin has returned kickoffs, but he broke out with a 250-yard, two-touchdown performance Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs and is needed to play a prominent receiver role with Roy Williams injured. Felix Jones also has returned kickoffs, but he's hurt, and Patrick Crayton and Terence Newman both have misplayed punts this season.

Rossum had one of his best seasons in 2008, setting career highs of 26.8 yards per kickoff return and 14.9 per punt return. However, he was inactive in the 49ers' last two games and was cut to make roster room for rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who ended his prolonged contract holdout.

"I think teams have to approach our return game differently when I'm on the field," Rossum said Monday. "These last two weeks before every game, they've been shocked that I'm not up. I know I'm doing something good when those teams approach me and say, 'Hey, man, we've been preparing for you all week.' I'm not worried about it."

The Cowboys also released cornerback Cletis Gordon and re-signed running back Chauncey Washington to their practice squad. Rossum, who also plays cornerback, could take Gordon's place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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