FRISCO, Texas – Defensive end Robert Quinn is preparing to make his season debut this Sunday.
The opponent just happens to be the Miami Dolphins, the team that traded him to the Cowboys in late March.
If the past is on Quinn's mind, he's not showing it.
"I don't want overwork myself, overhype myself. It's a football game," he said after Wednesday's practice. "As a team, we want to do one thing and that's win. As a player and individual we've got individual game goals, but at the end of the day it just comes down to winning as a team."
The Cowboys released former first-round draft pick Taco Charlton on Wednesday afternoon to make room for Quinn on the 53-man roster. Quinn spent the first two games on the Reserve/Suspended list for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, which he strongly denied once the suspension came down in early August.
Now, the 2-0 Cowboys are adding a proven pass rusher to their defensive line. Quinn made two Pro Bowls with the Rams before joining the Dolphins in 2018.
"Definitely gives us a better rush," Cowboys starting defensive tackle Antwaun Woods said. "He's a veteran. His resume speaks for itself. It's good to have him back, most definitely."
Woods (knee) and starting right defensive end Tyrone Crawford (hip) did not practice Wednesday. Quinn's return would be even more significant if one or both are unable to play Sunday.
Quinn himself has been recovering from injury, having undergone surgery in August to repair a fracture in his left hand. Before he got suspended, the Cowboys were optimistic he'd be available in
Quinn could not be at Cowboys headquarters or have contact with the team during his suspension. He said he trained on his own daily from about 7 a.m. to lunchtime, then cheered on his new team from home the first two games.
"I guess in a sense frustrated because I couldn't be out there, but I was excited for all the guys who were out there making plays," he said.
Quinn said after practice that his surgically-repaired hand is feeling fine. Garrett said Quinn would wear a protective brace during Wednesday's practice and see how he handles the work.
"We just want to see him practice well and get himself ready to go play in the ballgame," Garrett said.
"He's a really good player. He's a very good pass rusher. He's demonstrated that throughout his career and he's a really willing run defender. He's been really active doing that again throughout his career. Sometimes those guys are viewed as, 'Hey, I just get the quarterback and let the other guys do the dirty work,' but he's demonstrated that he's willing to defend blocks, do a good job defending his gaps and going and making plays on the ball in the running game. So we're excited to get him back in here."
The Dolphins gave Quinn permission to speak with interested teams this past spring, and the Cowboys traded a 2020 sixth-round pick for him. Their style of 4-3 scheme is where he's most comfortable.
He's made peace from his departure from Miami. Since then, the Dolphins have remade their roster under first-year head coach Brian Flores.
"I kind of broke it down like this: I think Coach Flores is doing the same thing (Jon) Gruden is doing (in Oakland). He's putting his team together," Quinn said. "He's the head coach. He can do what he wants. At the end of the day, if you see one coach do it, don't knock another coach for doing the same thing. That's what it is."
And Quinn's approach this week?
"Just get a dub (win) for the team," he said. "I realize don't try to make things more than what it is. Me just coming back, the team is doing well. So I'm coming back just trying to contribute as best as I could and not try to let this team in any way, shape or form."