OXNARD, Calif. – So far, the Cowboys seem to be hitting on the other two former first-round picks they’ve added this summer.
Now, the Cowboys appear to be close to seeing what defensive tackle
Team owner Jerry Jones announced Thursday during the team’s final practice of training camp that Okoye has been cleared to practice after missing all of the offseason with an illness. He is currently on the Cowboys’ Non-Football Injury list. Before he returns to practice the Cowboys must clear a spot to put Okoye on the 90-man roster.
“Okoye has been cleared. He’ll be meeting us in Dallas,” Jones said Thursday. “He’s been in Boston and got cleared on his illness and can have contact. He’s been working to get in shape. We were hoping the timing would fit to give us some reps in there.”
While Okoye is medically cleared from his unique condition that is offically called NMDA receptor encephalitis, he hasn’t been cleared by the Cowboys for his conditioning. But Jones said he believed the defensive tackle is close.
“I don’t anticipate (Okoye practicing Monday) but I know we have a three-stage conditioning (process),” Jones said. “He has been in the second stage and working toward the third stage. I don’t think he’s reached the third, but he’ll be in there real close. He could potentially see him do some of the same kind stuff you’re seeing (Rolando McClain) do. Get out there do some and run around. It’s been over a year in a half since he’s done stuff.”
Okoye, the 10th overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Texans, has played two seasons with the Bears under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. While he hasn’t lived up to the high expectations of a top pick, Okoye is still just 27 years of age.
He was out of football for all of 2013 but Okoye has registered at least one sack in each of his previous six seasons, including 5.5 as a rookie with the Texans in 2007. In his two years with the Bears, Okoye had 36 total tackles and five sacks in 25 games.