Forced to be away from the team throughout this summer's three weeks of Organized Team Activities and the two minicamp practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, fourth-round pick Matt Johnson finally became eligible to practice with his teammates on Thursday.
Practicing for the first time since the May rookie minicamp, he became the highest draft pick on the field. First-rounder Morris Claiborne, third-rounder Tyrone Crawford and fellow fourth-rounder Kyle Wilber have been out of the summer practices with injuries.
"It's been really hard," Johnson said of his ineligibility due to Eastern Washington's quarters system. "I've kind of felt left out, like I'm not even part of the team, so it's great to be here . . . I got the playbook and I've got some films of the meetings, but it's different seeing it on the field. It's nice to get at least one practice at the speed of the game. I think I moved good, but I've just been studying, and that's really all I could do.
Johnson also said he had agreed to the terms of a contract with the Cowboys and was expecting to sign on Thursday afternoon.
While the Cowboys eased Johnson into the workout, he did participate in some drills as a member of the second-team secondary.
"It was good to see him," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He had a good rookie minicamp with us and then he hasn't been with us the rest of the offseason. He's one of those guys - one of the things we were attracted to him about when we drafted him is he just seems like a heady football player, an instinctive football player. And just the short exposure we've had of him on the practice field, you can see that.
"You could see it today. Sometimes it can be intimidating for a guy. Not only is he a rookie, but everybody else has been practicing for three weeks, and now you come in on the last day and you try to fit yourself in. But he seems to have some savvy and some instincts about him, so again, we're excited to see more of him in camp."