Mid-Day Report: McClain Back; Eager For Yet Another Chance

OXNARD, Calif. – On Friday, Rolando McClain admitted he was in a rather uncomfortable setting, as he sat in a courtroom to await word from the judges of a pending case.

And even though he didn't get the news he wanted there – a sentence that includes an 18-day jail term that he is appealing, McClain was in a much more familiar setting Saturday: on the football field once again.

McClain, who said he was "very" surprised with the news he received Friday, took part in a light walk through practice Saturday morning, his first on-field appearance with his new team.

While he's not exactly sure about his role, or the defensive formations, McClain is happy to be playing football again.

"It's my first day here. Really just this will be my first practice with the guys, this will be my first time seeing the guys run around," McClain said. "I'm just taking it for my first day, enjoy my mistakes, enjoy when I do something well. Yesterday I was sitting in a court room not knowing what was going to happen. Today I'm here with the Dallas Cowboys with an opportunity to make a football team and fight for a position. You can't argue with that."

McClain, who accompanied the team to Oxnard on Tuesday, left for Alabama to be in court Friday in Decatur, Ala. That's where he was found guilty of two misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident in April of 2013.

He is appealing the process, which clouds his availability. Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said he doesn't expect McClain will miss any time because of Friday's news.

But even that doesn't seem to be McClain's main focus as he tries to resurrect a football career that seemed rather promising when he was drafted No. 8 overall by the Raiders in the 2010 draft.

"It's a great opportunity. You don't get that many chances in the NFL," McClain said. "The best I can do is work my butt off to try and make this team."

Here are some other highlights from Garrett's press conference: [embedded_ad]

  • The pads will come on for the first time Saturday afternoon. Garrett said it will finally start to look and feel like camp again. "It's going to look like stuff we've done before. It'll be competitive. It's going to be a physical practice. We'll do a pass-rush drill. We'll see things where they strike each other, because that's the nature of the game. But we want to keep guys off the ground. But we'll be ready to go and practice football like we've used to." 
  • The head coach talks about why the Cowboys have been so patient with injury-prone safety Matt Johnson. "We like what he's doing. It's very easy with a guy like that to say we're moving on. But we think he has a chance. He's a serious-minded kid who wants to be good. If he can stay healthy, he can get himself in the mix."
  • Dez Bryant has been working in the slot at times in practice, a relatively new spot for him in his career. Garrett said it's a way to get Bryant more opportunities to find mismatches on the field. "The more chances we give Dez in there, you'll see he has a comfort level in there. Typically he'll be an outside guy but he's shown the ability be moved around."
  • Garrett said Ron Leary (hamstring) will be held out until at least Tuesday and it could be more. Until then, Mackenzy Bernadeau will continue to take first-team reps at left guard.
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