OXNARD, Calif. – We might not see DeMarcus Lawrence on the field for a while, but he expects to be there when the good stuff starts.
"I have a date in mind when I'm going to be ready, and that's the season opener," Lawrence said on Saturday.
The All-Pro defensive end is one of just four guys opening training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, alongside Byron Jones, Tyrone Crawford and Noah Brown. That isn't exactly surprising for the Cowboys, though, as they've been working toward Lawrence's recovery since he underwent shoulder surgery in April.
"Just day-to-day, working my lower body and my upper body strength and getting after it," Lawrence said. "It's my sixth year, so I kind of have a feel for what I need to do to be prepared for the season, and I'm going with it."
Lawrence's veteran status is the key to remember in this entire process. It's obvious that the Cowboys have a particular plan for their star pass rusher, and with six weeks until the regular season starts, they're not going to rush him back to the practice field just for the sake of it.
To quote Lawrence himself: "It ain't no rush, what you rushing for?"
Obviously, there's some room for interpretation here. The Cowboys would love to have Lawrence back practicing before the regular season starts. Lawrence himself noted that his position is one that requires plenty of repetition, even for a Pro Bowl player.
"It's really hard to play D-Line when you're not in the trenches putting your head in between a double-team or those type of things," he said. "It's just getting my feet back underneath me and playing football."
That will come in time. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said all of the status updates on Lawrence have been good to this point, as he continues to work his way back. Lawrence said the primary thing he needs to work on is regaining his strength.
In the meantime, the trick is staying patient – which Lawrence said should be no problem at all.
"I've had my injuries throughout my career, and you have to learn patience over time. That's what I had to learn with kids, also," he said. "So it's easier to be patient when you're still in it. It'd be different if I had to stay home or not be around the guys – that's totally different. But I'm here, and I can focus up in the classroom and sit down and study with them."