IRVING, Texas –It had been nine months and 11 days, but Mike Jenkins was ready to hit and be hit during practice on Wednesday, a sign he's ready to make his 2012 debut on Sunday's game at Seattle.
The session was the only full-contact work of the week in preparation for the Seahawks. A migraine headache kept Jenkins from participating in the only full-pads practice the week of the Giants game, the cornerback said. While the team didn't exactly line of Jenkins in the middle of a "bull in the ring" drill, he still got a chance to test his shoulder against pain.
"I had a little contact in the beginning of the practice, but there was nothing," Jenkins said. "I feel like I'm ready physically to go out there and make the tackles I need to make."
Jenkins confirmed he will be active this week. The largest question remaining is just where Jenkins will play, and how much.
"I'll be back on the field – I'll definitely be back on the field," Jenkins said. "How? When? Honestly, I don't have any communication with the coaches to know what they want to do. I'm just here. I don't want to be no distraction or anything like that, so I don't want to make it seem like I'm that way. So whatever they come to me and tell me they want me to do, that's what I'm going to do."
It appears unlikely he will slide inside to the slot, a position manned by Orlando Scandrick, but Jenkins could play outside on either the left or right side of the defense. This offseason, team owner Jerry Jones suggested the Cowboys could utilize a rotation in the secondary, similar to the commonplace shuttling of defensive linemen.
"I haven't really taken as much reps in the slot, so I don't know," Jenkins said. "I don't know what the game plan is on what they really want. I think they're just trying to give me a feel of how it looks, see how I do, before they make a decision on anything, so I don't know."
Jenkins was among the hottest offseason topics surrounding the Cowboys this year. Reports had him interesting in negotiating a long-term deal following the club's signing of Brandon Carr, then requesting a trade after the team drafted Morris Claiborne in the first round. He stayed away from team headquarters for all non-mandatory offseason events, not rehabbing his shoulder with team medical personnel, and opened training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
But Jenkins said the toughest part of the spring and summer has been preparing himself to play physically following the surgery. The cornerback said he is not worrying himself with his long-term future or contract status with the Cowboys front office at this point. He is currently in the last year of his rookie deal.
"Being concerned about anything won't help me do nothing," Jenkins said. "My job is to come out here every day, do what I've got to do, and continue doing that, no matter what. They have their plans, no matter what it is. Concern is not going to do nothing for me or them … There's no bitterness. There's no nothing. It is what it is. The only thing I can try to do right now and do for myself and the team is try to help out. So however that role is and whatever they have planned, that's where it's going to have to go.
"If it's anything else, both sides are going to have to bite the bullets, because that feuding ain't going to do nothing for none of us."
Jenkins said he believes he has fulfilled every obligation to his teammates and coaches this offseason and since the beginning of training camp.
"I do everything I need to do, on time, no arguing, no fussing, no sad face," Jenkins said. "I smile. I'm active with the players. I'm happy. Literally, I'm happy. The other situation, that doesn't have nothing to do with this."