IRVING, Texas– Guard Ronald Leary did not participate in the voluntary portion of the Cowboys' offseason program due to what head coach Jason Garrett has called "a contract situation."
Now that this week's mandatory minicamp is underway, Leary is back with his teammates and focused on football.
"Strictly football," he said. "I don't think about the business side. I let them handle the business side. I just think about football."
The business side has kept Leary away from Valley Ranch for the majority of the spring. The fifth-year veteran has started 35 games since 2012, but La'el Collins took over at left guard in the middle of last season and Leary was subsequently inactive for 10 of the final 11 games.
He signed his one-year restricted free agent tender in April but didn't take part in the offseason program, leading to reports that he would like to be traded.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said last month that the Cowboys received trade calls about Leary but did not make a move – apparently not inclined to trade him unless perhaps the right deal came along.
"Obviously, he'd like to start somewhere, and I don't blame him for that," Jones said last month. "I think he's a starting-caliber offensive guard in this league.
"We think the world of Ron. If we got what we thought was fair, and Ron thought he was getting a chance to be a starter – which, I think he is a starting-caliber guard. If it worked out for both of us, we'd like to help him out – and help us out."
Asked about his decision to skip voluntary workouts, Leary said, "A lot of things go into it. It was a decision made that was what was best for me at the time."
Did it benefit him?
"We'll see," he said. "I'm not going to really go into too much detail because that's between me and the team. We've talked about it a lot over the last couple months so we're kind of on the same page. We've got a lot of respect for each other."[embeddedad0]
Leary remains a Cowboy and a valuable interior line reserve behind Collins and right guard Zack Martin. Having missed the team's previous voluntary work, Garrett said Leary would be "acclimated back to playing football in a more deliberate fashion than the rest of the group." He didn't participate in team drills Tuesday but said he has worked to stay in shape while being away from Valley Ranch.
"I've been working because I know you've got to stay ready in this league," he said. "I'm not the type that will sit around and pout and just not be doing anything. I've been working this whole time."