Mid-Day Report: McFadden Expects Quick Return; McClain On Suspension

OXNARD, Calif. – With all eyes on the running back position during the first walk-through practice Thursday at the first day of training camp, the competition took a minor hit with the news of Darren McFadden's latest injury.

The Cowboys put McFadden on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) because of a hamstring tweak that occurred last week, while he was running sprints in preparation for camp.

"I think I'll be fine," McFadden said. "I'm still as fast as I've been. It's just a small setback."

Those sentiments were also expressed by head coach Jason Garrett, who said McFadden will probably be out about a week.

"We don't think it's a serious thing," Garrett said while answering the first question of his daily press conference. "We anticipate him being back some time in the next week or so. You always want to be deliberate in how you handle these guys. We don't think it's that serious."

McFadden has been injury-prone during his career, which began in 2008 as a first-round pick (4th overall) of the Raiders. He's battled through a different hamstring injury this offseason, which has been healed before suffering a different setback last week.

His injury opens the door even wider for Joseph Randle, who took first-team carries and is expected to be the early leader to win the starting job.

  • With Thursday's announcement that veteran linebacker Keith Rivers has been moved to the Reserved/Retired list, the need for linebackers is even greater, coupled with Rolando McClain out on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform). Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said the team will probably sign "a couple" of linebackers.
  • McClain talked to reporters for more than 10 minutes after practice, which was even more surprising events so far in camp. But in his discussion, he talked for the first time about his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. "It's life, and I ain't perfect and nobody else is. I'm working on perfecting my flaws and getting back and being healthy and do my best to put it behind me. And when I do come back, try to improve the defense and build on the success that they're having."
  • With McClain out of practice, the Cowboys moved Anthony Hitchens to the first-team defense at MIKE, along with Sean Lee at the WILL and Kyle Wilber at the SAM. Jasper Brinkley worked in the middle with the second-team unit.
  • Jeremy Mincey missed the first day of camp as expected because of a contract holdout. "He needs to be here for himself and our football team," Garrett said of Mincey.
  • Morris Claiborne missed most of the summer with a torn patella injury, but was not placed on PUP, and worked with the first-team nickel defense when Orlando Scandrick moves into the slot. For now, Claiborne was out there before first-round pick Byron Jones.
  • Doug Free was at right tackle working with the first-team offense after missing all of the offseason with a foot injury.
  • Tony Romo met with the media for several minutes Thursday after the opening walk-through. He said his first line to Dez Bryant after he signed his contract was, "it's about time."
  • Rookie lineman Shane McDermott and linebacker Mark Nzeocha are on NFI (Non-Football Injury).

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