IRVING, Texas (March 1, 2005) -- The Dallas Cowboys released three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Dexter Coakley.
Coakley, one of the smallest linebackers in the league at 5-foot-10, 236 pounds, would have been due a $500,000 roster bonus if he was still on the team on March 2.
Coach Bill Parcells also prefers bigger linebackers, especially if the Cowboys make the expected switch to a primary three-man front.
The 32-year-old Coakley started all 16 games last season, but shared significant time with Bradie James, selected in the second round of the 2003 draft by Parcells.
It was unclear whether the Cowboys tried to restructure the six-year contract that Coakley signed after the 2000 season. Coakley's agent, Pat Dye, didn't return phone messages.
The Cowboys took Coakley from Appalachian State with a third-round pick in 1997 and he started all 127 of his games. He missed only one game, midway through 2001 with a sprained knee, and was a Pro Bowl selection in 1999, 2001 and '03.
Coakley is fourth on the Cowboys' career tackles list with 1,046. He has 10 career interceptions, four returned for touchdowns, and six recovered fumbles.