James Washington's long wait is over. The first-year Cowboys receiver, who has been out since suffering a broken foot during training camp, was activated off of injured reserve Saturday. Washington appears ready to make his season debut during Sunday's game against the Texans.
The Cowboys opened Washington's 21-day practice window Nov. 30. The addition of Washington gives the Cowboys offense another proven weapon alongside quarterback Dak Prescott; running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard; wideouts CeeDee Lamb, Noah Brown and Michael Gallup; and tight ends Dalton Schultz and Jake Ferguson.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout was carted off the field on Aug. 1. Washington was initially expected to miss 6-10 weeks and was placed on injured reserve Aug. 31.
"I feel great," Washington told the team's website this week. "From four weeks ago to now, I feel a lot stronger in my plants and catching the ball in general. It's kind of like riding a bike at this point. Once you start doing it, it all just feels natural."
The 60th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Washington was signed by the Cowboys this offseason to help fill the void after the team traded four-time Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns. While he showed flashes of his potential in Pittsburgh, Washington found targets within the Steelers' stacked receiving corps tough to come by. His career-high in targets in Pittsburgh (44) came during the 2019 season, a year when Mason Rudolph -- Washington's college quarterback at Oklahoma State -- started more than half of the Steelers' games following Ben Roethlisberger's season-ending injury.
Despite the lack of targets, Washington caught 114 passes and 11 touchdowns during his four years in Pittsburgh. He averaged an impressive 14.3 yards per catch that included a career-high 16.7 yards per reception during the '19 season. He caught a career-high five touchdowns in 2020 while helping the Steelers capture the AFC North division title.
A native of Stamford, Texas, Washington enjoyed a standout college career at Oklahoma State. During his four years with those Cowboys, the 6-foot Washington caught 226 passes for 4,472 yards and 39 touchdowns. He won the Biletnikoff Award (given annually to the best college receiver in Division I) in 2017 after catching 74 passes for 1,549 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Washington will now look to contribute to a Cowboys offense that is currently third in the NFL in scoring, third in red zone efficiency and seventh in third-down efficiency.