FRISCO, Texas – When he's on the field this preseason, DeMarcus Lawrence isn't thinking about his upcoming four-game NFL regular-season suspension.
He's focused on helping the Cowboys' younger defensive linemen and keeping his fundamentals sharp so he can make a "big impact" when he's eligible to return in Week 5.
"I still try to keep a positive mindset, try to do whatever the team needs me to do to help out," said Lawrence, who led the defense last year with eight sacks.
Although he won't be allowed to practice when his suspension takes effect at the end of preseason, Lawrence said he'll be permitted to take part in meetings, which will help him stay in tune with the defense.
"It's huge," he said. "I can still go to meetings, talk to my teammates, let them know what they need to do and whatever I can do to help and then I can get to understanding what they need me to do when I get back."
And when his four-game suspension ends?
"I'm going to have a big impact," he said. "It's just all about me working on what I've got to work on. I just feel like I've just got to do my job and make sure everybody's ready to do their job, and it'll be a great group."
Candidates to start at defensive end when the season opens include David Irving, who is currently sidelined with a groin injury; Benson Mayowa, who recently returned to practice following an offseason knee scope; and Jack Crawford, who started at defensive end opposite Lawrence last Friday against the Miami Dolphins.