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Mailbag: Concerns About Rushing Steele Back?


Are you concerned at all that Terence Steele will be rushed back? With Tyron Smith slated to be at left tackle and Tyler Smith at left guard, it just seems like they're assuming Steele will be ready even though he tore his ACL last December. Michael Gallup tore his ACL late in the 2021 regular season and never seemed quite right last year. Would it be better to let Steele really rest and have him ready to go later in the season? – Mark Williams/Atlanta, GA

Nick Eatman: Just look at the guys up in the picture. Those are the best in the business and regardless what you might think, players don't get "rushed back" ... ever. There's no point in getting a guy back on the field if he's not ready, especially coming off an ACL injury. Now, since you mentioned Gallup, he wasn't rushed back into action. In fact, the Cowboys kept him back a few more weeks than he even wanted to return. But just because a player doesn't look his normal self, it doesn't mean they came back too early. Most of that is rust from being out of the action for so long. If they kept Steele out an another month, he's still going to deal with the same type of issue. I think the athletic trainers know what they're doing and they'll get Steele back when he's ready, which I think will be before the start of the season.

Patrik Walker: I'm not concerned about that at all. I've now seen Steele walking around the facility for weeks without a brace on his knee, and he's been very upbeat any time I've asked him directly about his progress — mentioning on at least one occasion that he feels he's ahead of schedule. Does that mean he'll avoid the PUP list to start camp? I highly doubt it, which also goes to my point in that the Cowboys are going to be cautious and deliberate with how they bring him along, and that's especially true when considering the team feels Tyron Smith is a viable option at RT1 to begin the season, if they need to make that call. The only question I have is will Steele be ready for Week 1 or, like Gallup in 2022, if he'll miss the first few games before he's allowed to take the field.

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