IRVING, Texas – This weekend has been all about the Cowboys' rookies, but one of their most notable veterans took center stage on Saturday.
Dez Bryant stopped by the Cowboys' facility during the second day of rookie minicamp. The All-Pro receiver spent 10 minutes introducing himself to newcomers as they prepped for practice in the Cowboys locker room.
With full-team OTAs looming in just two weeks, it was bound to raise some questions about Bryant's progress during his offseason rehab from surgery. To hear it from Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, it's all been forward progress.
"He's done a really good job with his rehab and he's made progress," Garrett said. "Like with all those guys, it's a day-by-day, week-by-week thing. But he's had no setbacks, but he really continues to get better and better."
Bryant underwent surgery on his ankle and foot immediately after the 2015 seasons, as he missed nine games as a result of complications from various injuries. Saturday afternoon, he visited briefly with team owner/general manager Jerry Jones, Garrett and wide receivers coach Derek Dooley.
Dooley echoed Garrett that Bryant is doing well in his rehab, though he has not been medically cleared as of yet.
"He's not 100 percent, like, full-speed – what do you call it? Released, cleared to go," Dooley said. "That doesn't mean he can't, but I think June 1."
Garrett didn't say if Bryant would be cleared for the Cowboys' mandatory team minicamp in mid-June, but he reiterated his stance that he's encouraged by the receiver's progress in recent months.
"He's doing everything we're asking him to do with his rehab and he's making progress," Garrett said. "We'll do that with him and hopefully over the course of the offseason and into training camp, he'll start playing some football with us. But he's made a lot of good progress. We don't want to take any backward steps."
The fact that Bryant is at Valley Ranch working out and visiting with team officials is a positive step from last year. Bryant was seldom seen at the facility during last offseason, as he was in the midst of a high-profile contract dispute. As a result, he didn't take part in offseason workouts or OTAs.
When he did return for training camp, he injured his hamstring after just one week and was sidelined until the season opener – when he broke a bone in his foot, thereby beginning his injury-plagued campaign.
"He came into training camp without the offseason, so he wasn't as polished his first six practices and then he pulls a hamstring – that's not coincidental," Dooley said. "When your body is not used to those kind of football moves, I don't care how many things you can do in a weight room and by yourself – it's not the same."
Given what he means to their offense, the Cowboys won't be in a hurry to rush Bryant back. But with nearly three months until the start of training camp, there's plenty of cause for optimism.
"Just taking it day by day and week by week," Garrett said. "He's made a lot of good progress though over the course of the offseason."