The Cowboys activated linebacker Keanu Neal from the COVID-19 reserve list Wednesday as he returned to practice. It came less than 24 hours after the team announced it is cutting linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Neal, who is unvaccinated, initially went on the COVID-19 reserve list as a close contact. He tested positive Sept. 25 and has missed two games.
Neal signed with the Cowboys as a free agent in April, following defensive coordinator Dan Quinn from Atlanta. He played 74 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in the first two weeks, totaling nine total tackles and one tackle for loss.
Neal, 26, was a first-round choice of the Falcons in 2016. He played free safety in Atlanta for five seasons, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2017.
The Cowboys also activated defensive end Bradlee Anae from the COVID-19 reserve list. He went on the list at the same time Neal did.
“They both will practice today,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said before practice. “The amount remains to be seen, coming off their extended time away. They are slated for 50 percent, but [we] will see how that goes.”