OXNARD, Calif. – It's been a long wait, but Sean Lee is finally back in the fold.
On the 19th day of training camp, after a gradual increase in his workload, Sean Lee got in on the contact during the Cowboys' Saturday practice. The All-Pro linebacker mixed into full-team drills for the first time this year after a lengthy wait to be part of the action.
"It's just good to be out with the guys," Lee said. "They have a process for me and I feel great. I think it's working. So we're going to stick to it. But man it's nice being out with your teammates and being able to hit a little bit and be physical."
Lee hadn't been part of practice to this point, but he has been a steady presence throughout training camp. He has led the first-team defense during walkthroughs and practices, calling plays from the sideline and coaching up younger players.
Given Lee's lengthy injury history, though, there has long been a game plan for limiting the wear-and-tear on his body. Lee didn't take part in the full-team portions of OTAs or minicamp, and it makes sense that the Cowboys would wait until after the preseason opener to mix him into the action.
The plan is still gradual. Lee took reps in the early going of practice, but he was held out of seven-on-seven and the tail end of practice. Again, according to Lee, that's all part of the plan.
"I just think there's a process of introducing me to each thing," he said. "And like I said, the trainers have an unbelievable plan of slowly introducing me, and I think it's worked. We'll just stay on that path."
There's still a ton of time remaining in the preseason, so it'll be interesting to see how the Cowboys continue to ramp up Lee's involvement. With roughly 10 more practices and three preseason games before the start of the regular season, there's plenty of opportunity to get ready.
Quick Hits From Practice
· As expected, Randy Gregory made his practice debut in individual drills only, working on pass rush moves with the rest of the defensive linemen.
· Dan Bailey made five field goal attempts from roughly 33, 38, 40, 45 and 49 yards. His lone miss was from 46 and sailed just right of the goal post from the left hash, probably the result of a wind gust. Bailey struck the ball well overall.
· First-round pick Leighton Vander Esch intercepted an errant pass from Cooper Rush after an offensive lineman appeared to get pushed back into Rush. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis added a pick from the slot near the end of practice.
· Backup offensive tackle Cameron Fleming successfully blocked Dorance Armstrong during the "Compete" pass rush period in front of the team, but moments earlier Armstrong made a power move to get past Fleming in one-on-ones. The fourth-round defensive end continues to impress.
· Wide receivers Deonte Thompson (Achilles tightness) and Noah Brown (hamstring) were back in pads working with associate athletic trainer/director of rehabilitation Britt Brown. Safety Kavon Frazier (sore knee) only went through the early warmup portion of practice.
· Wide receiver Cole Beasley (groin) did not practice. Beasley stayed back in Oxnard for treatment during Thursday's preseason opener against San Francisco. Head coach Jason Garrett has said the injury isn't considered serious.
· With Marcus Martin (toe) injured, first-year guard Dustin Stanton got reps at guard with the second team.
· Safety Marqueston Huff (groin) did rehab work on the side. Wide receiver Marchie Murdock (ankle), also injured against the 49ers, wore a walking boot at practice.