Dez Absent From Minicamp Start; Rolando McClain Limited In Return

IRVING, Texas -- As expected, All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant is not present for Tuesday's opening minicamp practice amid his unresolved contract status.

Conversely, starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain has returned to Valley Ranch after choosing to rehab from knee surgery in his home state of Alabama during voluntary OTAs. Head coach Jason Garrett said McClain would participate in the walkthrough portion of practice but won't have a rigorous workload.

Although the three-day minicamp is technically mandatory, Bryant is not obligated to show up because he's not under contract, having yet to sign his one-year, $12.8 million franchise tag tender.

Last Friday, Bryant confirmed an ESPN report by telling NFL Network's Michael Silver there's a "legit" chance he could sit out Week 1 of the regular season if he and the Cowboys can't agree to a long-term extension by the July 15 negotiating deadline. In that scenario, he would have to play the 2015 season under the one-year guaranteed franchise tag and wait until after the season to resume extension talks.

Bryant's agent, Tom Condon, also confirmed Friday's reports in an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday.

A Week 1 holdout would cost Bryant approximately $752,941, or 1/17th of the $12.8 million franchise tag salary. By comparison, his base salary for the 2014 season was $1.78 million.

Garrett said he wasn't concerned about Bryant's continued absence.

"We all just focus on what we can control," he said. "Dez is getting himself ready. He's in a situation where the business of the NFL is kind of taking precedence right now but he's working hard on his own away from our building. It's not a unique situation when you're a franchise player for guys to do that.

"But Dez loves football. Dez wants to be great. He wants our team to be great. He's working hard on his own."

'Mandatory' would apply to McClain at minicamp because he's under contract. The Cowboys re-signed him to a one-year deal in April after a breakout season in which he had the second-most team-credited tackles (108) starting in place of an injured Sean Lee. Bothered by a sore knee for stretches of the season, McClain opted for a scope about a month ago.

"He and Justin Durant did an excellent job taking some of those leadership roles that Sean has been so good at over the course of his career," Garrett said. "He's just a really good player, I think he's a good system fit, he plays with a tenacity and a relentlessness that is really, really good for your football team."

Now healthy, Lee is expected to move to weak-side linebacker in the 4-3 defense. Jasper Brinkley took McClain's first-team reps at middle linebacker during voluntary OTAs.

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