DALLAS -- Running back Herschel Walker will play at least one quarter in the team's final exhibition game this weekend against the Houston Oilers, Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry said Tuesday.
Landry also said he was not concerned about Tony Dorsett's continual grumblings about his salary as long as those complaints did not affect his play on the field.
Landry's comments came as the roster was trimmed to the league-mandated limit of 50. Among those being cut was veteran defensive back Dennis Thurman.
'It is a very hard thing to do,' said Landry. 'You have to become callous after a while and try not to let your emotions show. It is the hardest thing to do in this business.'
Thurman had played eight seasons with the Cowboys and last year was relegated to playing only in passing situations.
'We were only going to keep seven defensive backs,' said Landry, 'and we need depth at cornerback and safety. Dennis couldn't provide that since he was limited to one role.'
In addition, the Cowboys cut veteran tight end Fred Cornwell, offensive guard Broderick Thompson and offensive tackle Chris Schultz. Rookie tight end Jeff Spek, wide receiver Perry Kemp, linebacker Russ Swan and defensive back Manuel Hendrix were also cut. Defensive back Tommy Haynes and defensive lineman Mark Walen were placed on injured reserve.
The Cowboys will take an 0-4 preseason record into Saturday night's game with the Oilers, trying to avoid their first winless exhibition campaign in 24 years.
Walker, who was signed quickly by the Cowboys after the United States Football League suspended operations, has yet to play a down in the NFL.
'Mentally, Herschel will be ready,' said Landry. 'He picks up our stuff real fast.
'He is always in shape. But he is not in the kind of physical shape you need to be in to get hit. You have to get hit a lot before you get used to it and that is what he needs right now.'
Since Walker signed with the club, Dorsett -- the team's other star running back -- has expressed general displeasure and has said he would welcome a trade.
'That is a distraction only if it affects the quality of play on the field, and I don't think that has been the case,' said Landry. 'Tony has a right to react. But I think he will play like he always plays, and that is what is important.
'Salary disputes are not a new thing. Salaries are a problem all the time in this business. This is not a unique thing with our football team.'