NFL Wire News

Minicamp report: Dez a no-show, Cowboys hold firm


The Sports Xchange

IRVING, Tex. — To nobody’s surprise, wide receiver Dez Bryant is a minicamp no-show for the Dallas Cowboys.

Bryant boycotted the team’s offseason program during a contract dispute. He has yet to sign his franchise tender of $12.8 million and is making threats about sitting out games if they don’t get a deal done before the July 15 deadline.

Bryant’s agent, Tom Condon, reiterated Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Bryant “is willing to miss regular-season games” if the sides can’t come to a long-term agreement.

The two sides have not had any real contract talks since Bryant switched from Eugene Parker in November to Jay Z’s new sports agency, with Condon handling the negotiations.

Vice president Stephen Jones said the situation is pretty much out of the Cowboys control. He said on Sirius radio that the two sides are too far apart to get a deal done before July 15.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he is not concerned about the situation because he knows Bryant is working hard and will be ready to go whenever he gets here.

“We all just focus on what we can control,” Garrett said. “Dez is getting himself ready. He’s in a situation where the business of the NFL is taking precedence right now. But he’s working hard on his own, away from our building. It’s not a unique situation when you’re a franchise player, for guys to do that.

But Dez loves football. Dez wants to be great. He wants our team to be great. So he’s working hard on his own. Our team, everyone who’s here, we’re working on what we can control. So there’s a lot of speculation about a lot of things with our team. We really don’t focus on that stuff very much. We focus on coming to work every day and trying to be our best.”

Garrett said he is not concerned one bit about Bryant missing games to start the regular season.

“That’s being floated by other people,” Garrett said. “We’re not really focused on that. Dez is getting ready to come to work, and he’s going to work hard every day, whether he’s in this building or outside of this building, and the guys who are here every day are going to work to get better. Dez loves football. He’s got a great passion for the game, a great passion for our team. He’ll take care of his business. We’ll take care of our business. And hopefully all that stuff can get worked out sooner rather than later.”

–Linebacker Rolando McClain showed up for the mandatory minicamp after missing the OTAs while he was in Alabama rehabbing from offseason knee surgery. McClain would have been fined if he had not reported for minicamp.

The Cowboys are still being cautious with his knee. He did some light walk-through stuff, but did not do any team or individual drills. Garrett also expressed optimism that McClain will be a full-go when training camp starts late next month in Oxnard, Calif.

“I don’t want to make any projections,” Garrett said, “but certainly he’s made a lot of progress and we feel good about where he is.”

Garrett believes McClain will build on last season’s campaign when he returned to the game after sitting out the 2013 season.

McClain played in 13 regular-season games for the Cowboys, racking up 108 tackles with nine tackles for loss, five quarterback pressures and five passes defensed.

“We tried to create an environment for him to come be his best,” Garrett said. “And I think he just embraced the opportunity. He was at the right place in his life to focus on football again.”

–Tackle Doug Free remains sidelined after undergoing offseason foot surgery. He should be ready for the start of training camp after missing all of OTAs and minicamp.

“I’ve done the mental preparation the best I can and also the physical stuff, what I can do, I’ve been keeping up with,” Free said. “Just planning on getting into training camp a little fresher maybe than some other people and working extra hard.”

–Linebacker Sean Lee continued to progress in his return from a torn ACL that sidelined him all last season. He took part in team drills for the first time Tuesday, one week after doing 7-on-7 work for the first time. The Cowboys have been bringing him along slowly. Said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, “So far, so good.”

–Free safety J.J. Wilcox missed practice Tuesday, and will be limited the rest of minicamp as he’s dealing with plantar fasciitis. He is expected to be ready by training camp.

–The Cowboys will have joint practices against the St. Louis Rams on Aug. 17 and 18 during training camp at Oxnard, Calif.

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