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Cowboys’ Jones “understands” McFadden injury, history

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OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is naturally disappointed that free-agent running back signee Darren McFadden opened training camp on the PUP list because of a hamstring issue. But he said he is not overly concerned as his focus is getting McFadden ready for the season opener against the Giants.

“I am disappointed, but I understand,” Jones said. “I would rather him be working through that problem now than three or four weeks from now. With that group, we’ve got to keep the Giants in mind.”

McFadden has missed 29 games with 15 different injuries in his career, including several hamstring problems. He missed games in 2010 and 2013 with hamstring injuries.

“That’s natural that it could cause an inordinate concern, because that has plagued him,” Jones said. “But I’m not worried. Because it has happened, I’m thankful it’s happening right now. The plan for these guys is to be out there against the Giants. We know they have to get ready. There’s no trying to circumvent that. But everything I see, he should be ready.”

–Defensive end Jeremy Mincey is expected to practice on Tuesday for the first time after holding out the first week of training camp in a contract dispute.

Mincey didn’t get a contract extension but he did get a $500,000 raise on his 2015 salary to end his holdout and report to camp. He will earn $2 million this season.

Mincey, who led the Cowboys with six sacks last season, also got his fines for missing camp waived. He was fined $30,000 per day for missing the first three days of workouts.

Head coach Jason Garrett said the team is excited to have Mincey back.

“I think Jeremy has been a good player in this league for a number of years,” Garrett said. “He’s physically tough, and he plays hard. You want that on your football team. I think if you look at the identity of our defense last year, I think one of the things we can point to that was positive was the identity that we played with. We played hard. We played tough. We ran to the ball.

“I think that contributed to taking the ball away 31 times, second-most in the National Football League. That positively impacted the games that we played, and I think Mince was a big part of that, establishing that identity, that toughness, that relentlessness.”

–Wide receiver Dez Bryant and cornerback Tyler Patmon gave the team a little excitement on Sunday with the first fight of training camp. The two hugged it out after practice but it brought a little drama before then.

“He wasn’t going to back down; I wasn’t going to back down,” Bryant said. “At the end of the day, you’ve seen us. We shook hands; we hugged; we respect one another.

“You have to like it. You don’t want somebody weak on your team. That’s why Patmon is here. Patmon was undrafted, and you know he is fighting his way, and he is fighting for respect, and he’s got mine. You can go to war with a guy like that any day of the week.”

The Cowboys don’t want their players fighting but they like to the see passion. They know Bryant is emotional.

“(Bryant) is a fierce, fierce, fierce competitor who plays with a lot of emotion, and so is Patmon,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “That’s what you love about this team. You want this competition going on; you want a competitive atmosphere there, and we certainly have got some of it.”

–The Cowboys are again on the hunt for help at linebacker after rookie free agent Justin Jackson tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, a season-ending injury.

They now have nine linebackers on their active roster, even after signing Keith Smith and Will Smith since the start of training camp.

The Cowboys came into camp down in numbers because of events over the past two days. Keith Rivers, signed as a free agent in the offseason, unexpectedly retired, and the team placed Rolando McClain on the physically unable to perform list. The Cowboys continue to exercise caution with Sean Lee’s surgically repaired knee.


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