OXNARD, Calif. –The Cowboys' center troubles are far from over.
Before departing for Oakland on Sunday, the team had hoped to finalize a one-year deal with veteran center Jamaal Jackson, helping to ease the strain caused by a slew of injuries at the position. However, Jackson's workout was apparently so poor that the Cowboys chose not to sign him after all. The 32-year-old had been released by Philadelphia in March after eight seasons, then signed by the New York Giants. But he left the team after one practice in New York, with head coach Tom Coughlin believing he had intended to retire.
If Jackson does have anymore football in him, it won't be in Dallas.
The club still has about five free agent centers in mind, according to a source, but the clock is ticking. After a signing, three work days must pass before the player can join the team in practice. Without getting to see the center in pads, the team might be reluctant to dress him against San Diego, in the second preseason game on Saturday.
To make room for Jackson, the team had planned to waive/injured one of the centers who had been hurt, last year's seventh-round pick, Bill Nagy. Under that designation, Nagy will be exposed to a waiver claim for 24 hours. If no team picks him up, the Cowboys will retain his rights and place him on the Injured Reserve, ending his season.
Nagy, who was not a starter at the end of his career at Wisconsin, impressed the Cowboys during training camp last year, earning a starting nod on opening night. He started four games near the beginning of 2011, but was lost for the year when he broke his left ankle at New England.
Nagy had opened training camp this year in a competition with Phil Costa for the first-team center job, but suffered a high left ankle sprain after just a couple days of practice. He is visiting foot and ankle specialist Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, and is expected to require serious surgery.
If a deal is struck later on Sunday, the earliest a new center would be eligible to practice with the club would be Thursday. If nothing happens until Monday, the player couldn't practice until Friday, when only a walkthrough is scheduled before the team departs for San Diego.