IRVING, Texas – Anthony Spencer's recovery from knee surgery is more of a marathon than a sprint, but at least he's able to do that running on a football field now.
The latest step back from Spencer's microfracture knee surgery is his return to the field for running – something he said he wasn't able to do as recently as three weeks ago.
"I almost shed a tear when I was out there running," Spencer said Monday.
That doesn't necessarily mean you should expect to see the veteran defensive end in a helmet when the Cowboys report for mandatory minicamp next week. True to what the Cowboys have been projecting, Spencer said he still doesn't have a definitive return date in mind.
"Still no timetable, really. It's feeling really good, though," he said. "I'm able to do a little bit more weight and moving on the field a little bit more. It's coming along slowly."
It's the latest step in what is undoubtedly a long road back for Spencer. Since he earned a Pro Bowl nod for his double-digit sack season in 2012, he's played in one NFL game – meaning he's basically been out of the game for a year and a half. His approach hasn't changed much, however, as he said the mental approach is the same despite his injury.
"Listening to my body – knowing the things that got me to where I am, and doing those things over and over. It's just a daily grind," he said. "The coaches help a lot, the players that have been around here. Really, it's like riding a bike. You don't lose that grind aspect of it when you get into it."
Familiarity with the Cowboys played a huge role in why Spencer is undergoing his recovery in Dallas, rather than another NFL city. As was reported back in March, Spencer talked to several other teams when free agency opened. Despite that, Spencer said the Cowboys helped alleviate the uncertainty of free agency.
"It wasn't too bad. I'm a guy that usually just rolls with the punches. We had a couple of deals on the table, but this was the best one for the family," he said. "The coaches here know me, I feel really comfortable here. It made the decision really easy."