Notes: Lee’s Switch, Frederick’s Health; More

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FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys’ annual Reliant Home Run Derby almost feels like an assembly line, at least from the media perspective.

One by one, as they finish their at-bats, the Cowboys’ players head over for a brief interview session with local reporters. In most cases, it’s the first time they’ve spoken publicly since the end of football season.

Naturally, there were a lot of topics to cover.

Here are some of the highlights from Dr Pepper Ballpark.

Strong Help

It’s been an often discussed storyline this offseason that the Cowboys will try Sean Lee at strong side linebacker. Lee acknowledged that Wednesday night, noting that he’s been working on learning the responsibilities of the strong side position.

It makes sense why the Cowboys would try this. Lee missed nine games due to injury last year, and he has missed 14 in the last two seasons. Then, there was the obvious emergence of Leighton Vander Esch as a Pro Bowler on the weak side.

It remains to be seen how exactly the Cowboys will deploy that trio of Lee, Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith, but it’s a fun problem to have. As for Lee, his rationale for the role change was simple.

“I just want to help in any way I can,” he said. “I love this team, I love this organization, I think we’ve got a great football team. So any way I can help, at any time, I’m ready for it.”

-David Helman

Next Step For Frederick

Travis Frederick has made significant strides in his return from Guillain-Barre syndrome, participating in the Cowboys’ voluntary offseason program this spring.

He knows the biggest gauge will be in training camp when the pads come on.

“I feel solid,” he said. “I’m very cautious and realistic along the way, so I wouldn’t say it’s an awesome feeling to be back playing because I don’t know where I am and I won’t know until August. But I do feel confident in my ability to be at the point where I am. I’m excited that I get to go and do all the regular things that everybody else is doing.”

Frederick is currently on a modified workout plan coming off hernia surgery and a shoulder cleanup unrelated to his recovery from GBS.

The veteran center said his Blocking Out Hunger foundation raised nearly $100,000 at Tuesday’s golf challenge event down the road from The Star in Frisco. The donations will support children who are struggling with hunger in the Dallas area.

-Rob Phillips

All Laughs

Dak Prescott isn’t the only guy whose contract situation has been in the news recently. Plenty has been said about Amari Cooper’s upcoming extension – including by Cooper himself.

Last month, Cooper said he was more focused on his play than his contract, and that he figured the situation would take care of itself.

"I feel like they're active about it and they want to get it done,” he said.

Of course, questions are still bound to come when you’re in line for a massive contract extension. As Cooper was answering his final interview question, one reporter tried to squeeze in one more about the negotiations.

“Sorry,” Cooper said with a smile. “That was the last one.”

-David Helman

Zeke’s Main Focus

Ezekiel Elliott is yet another Cowboys Pro Bowler up for a potential contract extension, but the third-year running back is “not concerned” about the timing of a deal.

“Just go out there and play football,” he said regarding his mindset.

Elliott now has two years left on his rookie contract after the Cowboys picked up his fifth-year option last month.

Elliott’s focus last week was a generous deed for a family in need. He paid for the funeral of Jaylon McKenzie, a standout eighth-grade football player who was fatally shot in St. Louis.

“I can only imagine what his family’s going through, just a kid with such a bright future,” he said.

-Rob Phillips

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