FRISCO, Texas – DeMarcus Lawrence is ready for contact football again.
The veteran pass rusher recently returned to practice on a limited basis following a clean-up procedure on his back during the spring. He's not expected to play in Sunday's preseason finale against the Jaguars, but all signs point to him being ready for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Super Bowl champion Bucs.
"It feels good just getting out there with the team and getting my feet underneath me," Lawrence said after Tuesday's practice. "The only thing left now is to make contact, so just waiting on that day.
That day could come "sometime this week."
"Get the hitting in and see how it feels from there," he said.
Just as the Cowboys have been smart with quarterback Dak Prescott's shoulder strain this preseason, the club is being cautious with Lawrence's workload as he enters his eighth season with previous back surgeries earlier in his career.
No preseason action does present challenges in terms of rhythm, even for a player with Lawrence's experience.
"Trusting your instincts, going 100 miles per hour because once you get off the field, you lose it. It's just one day you take off, you lose it all," he said. "So being able to just get back out here, run through my fundamentals, my keys and stuff, I feel like I'll be in a good spot."
Lawrence said he's been studying film of Tampa Bay since OTAs in the spring, getting an early start on the Cowboys' first opponent. He's anxious to get back to full-go practice with his teammates but understands the big picture.
"I'm at the point in my career where I'm trying to win a Super Bowl," he said. "If that means me going out there and playing in the preseason, so be it. But I think the team don't think that's necessary, so they told me to be ready by Week 1. And I'll be ready."