Matt Mosley: Cowboys put themselves in a corner 04:27 PM CDT on Thursday, May 20, 2004 Cowboys cornerback Pete Hunter was on the verge of being cut midway through the 2003 season. Now, he's penciled in as the starter. Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said Hunter has been one of the most improved players on the team this off-season. But most of his workouts don't include quarterbacks and receivers. Dallas remained on the sidelines as the top cornerbacks were snapped up two months ago. They also remained seated while the mediocre cornerbacks (see Mario Edwards and Bobby Taylor) were signed. Fourth-round pick Bruce Thornton may emerge as the leading challenger to Hunter. Coaches were surprised how far along he was during last month's rookie minicamp. The Cowboys haven't shown any interest in disgruntled cornerbacks Mike McKenzie (Green Bay) and Ty Law (New England). McKenzie, who received permission to visit other teams, is now on his fifth agent (Drew Rosenhaus) since entering the league in 1999. He's not happy with his contract or the shuffling of Packers defensive coaches. Green Bay responded by spending its first two draft picks on cornerbacks last month. The Patriots will let Law finish barking and then welcome him back to the fold. Larry Wansley, released by Tampa Bay last month, is another option. Wansley, a seventh-round pick in 2002, started six games last season and had two interceptions in a loss to Charlotte. But he's mainly remembered for getting torched by Peyton Manning during the Colt's 38-35 comeback victory over the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. Miami's Terrell Buckley, an unrestricted free agent, would probably sign for less than $1 million. The downside to Buckley is that he's been in the league for 13 seasons and he's primarily become a nickel cornerback. The Cowboys already have a starting nickel in Donald Mitchell, who spent the 2003 season on injured reserve. The Cowboys will mostly likely depend on Hunter and Thornton to get them through the season. Just wait until Donovan McNabb feasts his eyes on that side of the field. Vinny's not a given: For the past couple of months, everyone has speculated that Parcells would bring in his former Jets quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, to play behind Quincy Carter. But remember, Parcells isn't the only head coach who has Testaverde's ear. Patriots coach Bill Belichick revived Testaverde's career when he was the head coach at Cleveland. Belichick dumped the wildly popular Bernie Kosar to make room for Testaverde. Berlin Thunder star Rohan Davey is tearing up NFL Europe, but Belichick may not be ready to make him the backup. And Damon Huard, an unrestricted free agent, probably won't be back. Testaverde would be a great tutor for Davey, and he would provide insurance for Tom Brady, who has 46 consecutive starts. Allen's on the run: According to his teammates, left guard Larry Allen has strictly worked on a running program at Valley Ranch since meeting with Parcells last week. Allen showed up to training camp last season out of condition, prompting Parcells to refer to him as "Secretariat." Even though that was a remarkable horse, Parcells didn't mean it as a compliment. Punter gets cut: Josh Boies, a 6-4, 225-pound free-agent punter out of Temple, has been released. That leaves Ryan Flinn and Mat McBriar as the only punters on the roster. Offensive tackle Jacob Rogers averaged over 40 yards per punt in high school and would likely be the emergency punter. If Rogers had been on the team last season, a fed-up Parcells may have given him an opportunity.