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Stephen Jones Updates Melton Status, Dez Contract
ARLINGTON, Texas – Executive vice president Stephen Jones isn’t letting Dez Bryant’s contract talks worry him.
Jones said from AT&T Stadium on Thursday that the team is working hard on getting it done, and he’s optimistic a long-term deal will get worked out eventually, but the two sides haven’t reached an agreement yet.
“You know how I am about contracts,” Jones said. “They’re either done or they’re not done, and it’s not done.”
Jones said the team thinks the world of Bryant, and the two sides do want to work a deal out. Bryant has indicated if a deal’s not reached before the regular season begins, he may table the talks until after the season.
“You’ve got to respect it,” Jones said. “He’s half of the deal. You’ve got to have him to have a deal. Obviously, we respect that. He wants to concentrate on the season. If we don’t get it done before the season starts, we’ll get it done after the season, if that’s what he wants to do it. We’re not going to be worried about it one way or the other.”
In addition to the Bryant contract, Jones also discussed the status of some players who were questionable to get some action in the final preseason game.
It appears Henry Melton will get his first game action of 2014 in the preseason finale this week.
“Melton, I expect he’ll get some action,” Jones said. “I think he wants some, and we don’t have a problem with that.”
Melton was working back from ACL surgery when he injured his groin in practice at camp in Oxnard. He’s feeling healthy after that injury and wants to get some work before suiting up when the games start to matter against the 49ers.
“Of course, he’s coming off that knee, and the knee’s fine,” Jones said. “The groin’s fully healed now. He’s ready to go, and I think he just wants to have the peace of mind he’s going to feel good when he starts against the 49ers.”
Unlike Melton, it doesn’t appear Morris Claiborne or Gavin Escobar will play this week with their shoulder injuries, but he expects both of those players to be ready for Week 1. Jones said the decision not to play them in the preseason finale isn’t final yet, but it’s not worth the risk to go backward with Claiborne.
“Those shoulder injuries get sore on you quickly, and after really going over it with our trainers and doctors, probably the better decision there is let him get fully healed and put him out there rather than risk it,” Jones said.
No decision has been made about whether or not the first-team offensive line will get work in the game, according to Jones. One player who could get some action is Phillip Tanner, although his signing wasn’t official by Wednesday afternoon.
The Cowboys don’t have a lot of other options at running back, with Joseph Randle out with an oblique injury and Ryan Williams’ status yet to be determined after dealing with some groin pain. DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar aren’t playing, and that left only running back D.J. Adams to get carries.
Jones said if Williams doesn’t play, it doesn’t necessarily make it tougher for him to make the 53-man roster.
“He’s done an admirable job,” Jones said. “He’s done nothing but get better since he’s been here. If you look at his full body of work, it’s good. I don’t necessarily think we have to see him tomorrow night.”