IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant isn't the only Cowboys veteran taking a step forward in his recovery from injury.
Head coach Jason Garrett said Bryant, cornerback Orlando Scandrick and tight end Gavin Escobar went through individual drills during Tuesday's OTA workout. Scandrick is working his way back from a season-ending knee injury suffered in training camp last year, and Escobar had surgery last December for a torn Achilles.
Garrett was asked if he anticipated that all three would be ready for training camp.
"Yes," Garrett said. "But again, the way we talk about these injuries is we try not to be too predictive about when guys are coming back. We take it day by day. We have a plan for them and then we adjust as they go.
"Each of those guys at every step, every threshold we've had for them, they've crossed those thresholds really in a very favorable manner. They're making progress, they're doing things the right way, they're all working hard. We'll just continue day by day, week by week."
McClain, Leary At Minicamp?
For the third straight week, linebacker Rolando McClain did not attend the voluntary OTAs due to a family matter. Neither did guard Ronald Leary, who has not participated in any of the voluntary offseason program apparently in hopes of landing a trade elsewhere.
Next week's minicamp is a mandatory offseason team activity. Garrett said the team has been in touch with both players.
"We want our players here," Garrett said. "Rolando is dealing with a family situation. Ron is not here because of a business situation. And that's it. Again, we're focused on the guys that are here."
Cowboys Work Out Boykin
As expected, the Cowboys held a scheduled workout with free agent cornerback Brandon Boykin after Wednesday's OTA.
Boykin has not signed with the team, but the Cowboys clearly continue to be on the lookout for possible help on their 90-man roster.
"I think you're always trying to improve your team," Garrett said. "Trying to make your team better is a 365-day-out-of-the-year proposition. So we're always looking at who's available to us, how we can help improve our football team by bringing players in. Working guys out is a big part of that process."
Boykin has played four NFL seasons with the Eagles and Steelers, posting 128 tackles, 37 pass breakups and eight interceptions, including six in 2013 with Philadelphia.
Admiration For Ali
Muhammad Ali, who passed away this past weekend at age 74, left a lasting impression as one of sports' greatest icons. Dez Bryant certainly believes Ali's famous nickname, "The Greatest," was an accurate description of the former heavyweight champion boxer.
"Whenever I see him floating around that ring, just looking at some of those old-school fights that he had, it just gives you chills because you know that he worked to be that way," Bryant said.
Garrett spoke to his team about the impact Ali had on the world.
"He hasn't been in the ring in 35 years, and his impact has been significant. He's clearly a really, really special athlete, arguably the greatest boxer of all time. But it goes well beyond that. It's a long discussion as we've seen on the different tributes; everybody has their own take on it. But I tried to just share some of my thoughts with our team.
"It's amazing – so many of these guys weren't even alive when he was in his prime. But they all know about him," Garrett said. "They all know about the impact that he's had both in and out of the ring. So I just tried to share a little perspective with them."
Larry Brown Visits
Coaches draw inspiration from peers in their profession, even if they don't coach the same sport. Wednesday's visitor at Valley Ranch, SMU basketball coach Larry Brown, has been a sounding board for Garrett.
"There's just a real high level of coaching that is on display every time you're around him," Garrett said. "There's always such great wisdom about life and about how you can coach your team better. When I'm around him, I try to ask him questions and I try to listen to him. And he's been very generous to me, to our staff and to our football team. It's great to have him here."
Brown, a NCAA and NBA champion, enjoys Garrett's coaching style, too.
"Watching them and the attention to detail and how direct and honest he is with them, it made me feel good because I try to be direct and honest and hope the kids (at SMU) take it the right way," Brown said. "It was neat hearing him coach them and the way they accepted it, that made me feel pretty good."