IRVING, Texas –
The seventh-round pick went to school at Oregon, which uses the quarter system. League rules forced Mitchell and all other players in the same university system to wait until school’s out to rejoin their respective teams.
Mitchell was forced to miss practices during Organized Team Activities, but he said he used his time wisely and he’s glad to be back in the swing of things after Tuesday’s first minicamp practice.
“I was at home watching NFL Network, seeing other teams in OTAs,” Mitchell said. “I was a little anxious (to return), but at the same time, I knew the time was going to come. I just had to be ready when my time’s called. Sure enough it came quick and I’m here right now.”
Mitchell credited the veterans for bringing him up to speed and helping him out so he’d be ready more quickly. He said he’s having fun just getting his feet wet right now and his focus is on staying in good shape and getting his technique down.
The corner, who plans to continue his education next offseason, tried his best not to let the time off affect his psyche.
“Only thing at home, my father told me once before, you can only control what you can, and right now that was just my game and working on my craft so when I came out here I’d be ready,” Mitchell said.
Head coach Jason Garrett noted that the Cowboys only had nine practices without him, but it’s hard for young players not to feel like they’re behind. He hopes in the future the NFL can adjust the system to allow all players to be available at the same time.
“Somehow, some way we need to rectify that situation where those guys have an opportunity to be here,” Garrett said. “But he did some good things in that rookie minicamp. Our exposure to him initially was really positive. He’s one of those guys who has a little confidence and cockiness about him. That’s what we saw on tape in college and he’s demonstrated that.
The temperature in the mid-to-high 90s was hotter than the former Oregon Duck expected and Mitchell admitted the humidity made it hard to breathe, but he also said those are elements he needs to get accustomed to.
Despite the conditions and the time off, he didn’t look out of place at all as he took the field Tuesday.
“He’s a little bit behind because of the time he’s missed, but he jumps right back in there and competes,” Garrett said. “He’s done some good things.”