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Cowboys fill need by signing DB Henry

IRVING, Texas (March 2, 2005) -- The Dallas Cowboys didn't pass on a defensive back this time, filling one of their pressing needs when they signed cornerback Anthony Henry on the first day of free agency.

Henry, who started 14 of 15 games for Cleveland last season, is likely to be the starting right cornerback in Dallas opposite Terence Newman.

Last offseason, the Cowboys didn't pursue another cornerback in free agency after Mario Edwards left for Tampa Bay. They ended up starting four players at the position during a 6-10 season.

Terms of Henry's contract weren't immediately available. His agent, Jerrold Colton, didn't return phone messages.

The Cowboys, who went into free agency with more than $15 million of salary cap space available, hoped they were just getting started.

Defensive tackle Jason Ferguson, one of the team's top offseason targets, was in Dallas talking to Cowboys officials. Ferguson has spent all eight of his NFL seasons with the New York Jets since he was a seventh-round draft pick in 1997 by Bill Parcells, who was then coaching the Jets.

A true run stopper, the 6-foot-3, 305-pounder Ferguson had 11 sacks and 196 tackles the past three seasons. He would also be a good fit if the Cowboys switch to a primary three-man defensive front, as expected.

Dallas is also interested in offensive guard Marco Rivera, who hasn't missed any of Green Bay's games the past six season and has made three straight Pro Bowls.

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe, the No. 1 overall pick by the New England Patriots 12 years ago when Parcells was there, signed a three-year contract to be Dallas' starting quarterback.

Henry led Cleveland with four interceptions last season and had a career-high 85 tackles.

After being a fourth-round pick in 2001, Henry set a Browns team record with 10 interceptions as a rookie. The last Dallas player with at least 10 interceptions was Everson Walls with 11 as a rookie in 1981.

Henry, who had just seven interceptions the past three seasons, will be reunited with defensive backs coach Todd Bowles. Parcells last month hired Bowles, who spent the last four seasons in Cleveland.

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