Canadian kicker Lirim Hajrullahu will make his NFL debut on Sunday with the Dallas Cowboys after being elevated from the practice roster to replace Greg Zuerlein, who remains in COVID-19 protocol.
Dallas (6-2) is set to host the Atlanta Falcons (4-4) at 1:00 p.m. ET as they look to continue expanding their lead in the NFC East.
Hajrullahu originally signed with the Dallas Cowboys in August, but he was waived prior to final training camp cuts. During Week 3 of the pre-season he made both of his extra point attempts and averaged 73.3 yards on kick-offs with two touchbacks.
In Week 2 of the regular season, Dallas brought him back on the practice squad for a week after Greg Zuerlein had a poor performance going 3-for-5 on field goals and 2-for-3 on extra points in the Cowboys season-opening loss to Tampa Bay. Injuries at other positions meant there wasn’t enough space to keep Hajrullahu any longer.
Hajrullahu recently had a workout with the Washington Football Team and prior to that played in The Spring League, setting a record by hitting a 59-yard field goal for The Generals. He was playing in TSL in hopes of earning another NFL opportunity.
The Western University product played in all 18 regular season games with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2019, converting 47-of-55 field goal attempts (85.5 percent) and 26-of-28 single convert attempts (92.8 percent), while averaging 43.1 yards per punt on 106 attempts.
The five-foot-eleven, 205-pounder tied for first in the CFL in field goals made (47), third in scoring (162 points) and sixth in field goal percentage. Hajrullahu earned division all-star honours for the first time in Hamilton and second time in his career (2016 and 2019).
Born in Kosovo, Hajrullahu and his family fled the region when he was a nine-year-old as Serbian forces attacked their town. More than a million ethnic Albanians were displaced and 11,000 were killed in a war that lasted 18 months in the late 1990s.