IRVING, Texas – It's been a long road back for Orlando Scandrick. Eight and a half months this Thursday, to be exact.
After missing the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL and MCL in his knee suffered last training camp, the veteran cornerback was motivated for Monday's start to the Cowboys' voluntary offseason program.
"I'm doing great, phenomenal," Scandrick said in a conference call with the local media. "We have a great plan in place and I expect to be ready for training camp.
"I'm excited. I'm more excited about this season probably than I've been any season at any stage of my career playing any organized sport. I'm eager to get back out there and prove to every one of my teammates, the organization, the fans, the media, that I'm going to be the same player, if not better."
Scandrick said his ultimate goal is to be ready for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Giants. He and the Cowboys don't want any setbacks in his recovery. That's why you can expect the team to be deliberate with Scandrick's activity in OTAs and minicamp in May and June, likely similar to the plan it had for Sean Lee and Morris Claiborne last year coming off their 2014 knee injuries.
"The plan in place the whole time has been to be ready for Week 1 and not suffer any setbacks and continue to get strong," Scandrick said. "This is one of those things that once you feel like you're ready, you've got to keep going at it a little bit more to know that you're really, really ready.
"I want to continue to get my knee stronger. I don't want to rush it. I knew all along when I got hurt this has been a 12-month process just with the type of injury I had. Just by the graces of God I've been able to be ahead of schedule on everything. You'd hate to just get so far and then get out there a little bit too early and suffer any kind of setbacks. That would be something that would linger on. This is something that when I get to the season I expect to be a full participant, I expect to play 16 games, I expect to practice every day."
In past years, Scandrick has spent some of the voluntary offseason program working out back home while spending time with his family. Coming off his injury, the eight-year veteran said he's looking forward to joining his teammates in the upcoming workouts. Phase One – these next two weeks – permits only strength, conditioning and rehab work with strength and conditioning coaches. Phase Two includes three weeks of on-field work with coaches, though live-contact offense against defense or kick team against return team reps are not permitted. Phase Three lasts four weeks and includes up to 10 days of non-live organized team activities (OTAs) and a three-day mandatory team minicamp.[embeddedad0]
The Cowboys' secondary missed Scandrick's presence on the field last season, particularly in the slot. His last active season, 2014, was arguably his best since joining the team as fifth-round pick in 2008: 54 tackles, 11 pass breakups, 2 interceptions and a sack in 14 starts.
Scandrick says he's grateful to the organization for the faith they've placed in him – the Cowboys gave him a one-year, $9.5 million contract extension last offseason – and he feels he owes it to the team to come back strong.
"I think the plan that we have in place is great," Scandrick said. "(Cowboys associate athletic trainer and director of rehabilitation) Britt Brown is as good as they get at rehabilitation around the league. I trust him.
"I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel, being able to run, cut, do things that I was able to do before."