Pro Big Red: Former Husker Brett Maher gets another NFL opportunity with Dallas Cowboys

Pro Big Red: Former Husker Brett Maher gets another NFL opportunity with Dallas Cowboys
Brett Maher was All-Big Ten as both a kicker and punter during his Nebraska career. (World-Herald News Service)

Former Nebraska kicker and punter Brett Maher signed with Dallas on Wednesday, though his chances of making the Cowboys’ roster for next season appear slim.

According to ESPN, Maher’s signing is primarily to add depth as the Cowboys already have veterans at both positions. Kicker Dan Bailey and punter Chris Jones have been with Dallas since 2011 and are both signed to long-term contracts.

But it is an opportunity for Maher, who has spent the bulk of his professional career in the Canadian Football League. He’s made 78.1 percent of his CFL field goal attempts during the last four seasons and averaged 45.8 yards per punt. He played last season for the Ottawa Redblacks.

Maher did spend time last offseason with the Cleveland Browns before ultimately returning to the CFL. He also joined the Dallas Cowboys during training camp in 2013.

At Nebraska, Maher was the Big Ten co-kicker of the year in 2012 and second-team All-Big Ten at both kicker and punter, according to the league coaches. He made 78 percent of his field goals as a Husker and averaged 43.2 yards per punt.

Former Husker Nick Gates expects to be selected between third and fifth rounds of NFL draft

Former Husker lineman Nick Gates said Wednesday during an appearance on “The Bottom Line” he expects to get selected between the third and fifth rounds of the NFL draft.

Gates started all 25 games for Nebraska the last two seasons at left tackle — plus 10 starts at right tackle in 2015 — before declaring early for the draft. He said most NFL teams have projected him to guard at the next level, though some have mentioned center or right tackle.

Gates had been training in California prior to the NFL combine. He returned to Lincoln after that and worked out at the Husker pro day last month.

Next is the draft, which takes place April 26-28, and Gates said he’ll be at home with family in Las Vegas for the big day.

“Definitely excited,” Gates said. “I get to play football for at least a couple more years of my life, and that’ll be awesome. Who thought growing up as a kid you’d be able to play professional football? They’re going to pay you for it. You get to do what you love. That’s crazy to think about.”

Cleveland Cavaliers coach, former Husker Tyronn Lue expected to resume duties Thursday

CLEVELAND (AP) — A person familiar with the decision says Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is expected to resume his duties on Thursday against Washington.

Lue, who has been away from the team since March 19 because of health issues, will be back on the bench when the Cavs host the Wizards, said the person, who spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Lue announced he was taking medical leave on March 19 after experiencing chest pains and other symptoms this season. The 40-year-old recently returned to the team in an advisory role but stayed behind the scenes during games at Quicken Loans Arena. He has recently attended the team’s shootarounds.

While Lue was away, the Cavs went 8-1 under associate coach Larry Drew.

Lue is in his third season with Cleveland. He replaced David Blatt midway through the 2016 season and guided the Cavs to an NBA title.

Another member of the Cavaliers also made his return this week. Former Creighton Bluejay Kyle Korver played for the first time Tuesday night following his brother’s death last month.

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