IRVING, Texas– The Cowboys are back to work Wednesday for another day of OTA practices – the second of three this week and the fifth of nine scheduled practices before a three-day mini-camp later this month.
And once again, the Cowboys are on the field without star receiver Dez Bryant, who continues to miss the voluntary practices while he tries to work out his contract situation. Now, Bryant hasn't exactly been a stranger to the offseason program, as he joined his teammates on the field last Thursday, although he didn't participate in team drills.
Head coach Jason Garrett said he wasn't sure when Bryant would be returning to practices but is always happy to have No. 88.
"Dez has great energy, has great passion. It's infectious," Garrett said Wednesday morning before practice. "He was out on the practice field a little bit on Thursday and did some of the stuff in individual. He's a special player, a special guy. We love having him around. He's working through his business part right now but it was good to have him out here."
While Garrett will always prefer to have a full roster on the field, especially when it includes star players such as Bryant, the coach did say there are some benefits for other players, including Terrance Williams, who gets all of the No. 1 receiver reps.
"It's really good for everybody when the lead dog isn't there," Garrett said. "It's good for us to evaluate the guys who are behind them in a different role and they step up, if they are a two, they become a one, if they are a three, they become a two, that kind of a thing. It's good to see that from an evaluation standpoint and see how players respond."
- Along with Bryant, linebacker Rolando McClain continues to miss offseason practices as he is reportedly rehabbing his knee in Alabama. The middle linebacker had arthroscopic surgery last month and has not attended any of the OTA practices.
- Defensive end Greg Hardy was not practicing on Wednesday due to an illness. He has practiced most of the sessions, aside from Thursday when he went to Chicago for his appeal to the NFL's 10-game suspension.
- Running back Ryan Williams is sitting out with a knee injury.
- Rookie offensive tackle Laurence Gibson (hand) is not practicing after suffering an injury last week in practice.
- Linebacker Anthony Hitchens missed some time last with hamstring issues but is on the field.