Tues. Practice Recap: Rico Gathers Leaves Early; Dez Dominates

OXNARD, Calif. – Scary moment Tuesday as the Cowboys continued through their final week of training camp in Oxnard: Tight end Rico Gathers lying on his back, examined by the team's medical staff after an accidental helmet-to-helmet collision with safety Kavon Frazier in seven-on-seven drills.

Gathers eventually stood and walked off the field under his own power just as the team brought out a medical cart as a precaution. He didn't return to practice.

"We were looking at a possible . . . something with his jaw that might have some type of concussion aspects to it," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said immediately after practice. "But I haven't gotten a report on it. We'll take a look at it."

The first-year tight end has been one of the bright spots of preseason, catching a touchdown pass in each of the team's first two games against the Arizona Cardinals and L.A. Rams.

-Rob Phillips

Quick Hits

  • A good sign for the offensive line: All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith practiced for the second straight day after sitting out a few days last week with a tight back. The team has rested select veterans on the third day of a four-day set.
  • The offense won all nine reps against the defense in the Compete Period, including an outstanding wheel route by running back Ezekiel Elliott for a touchdown against linebacker Damien Wilson.
  • Wide receiver Brice Butler looks fully recovered from the foot issue that sidelined him against the Rams. He caught a back-shoulder fade from Kellen Moore for a five-yard touchdown in team drills, then posed for an end zone picture with Dez Bryant as the faux-photographer.
  • Before practice, the Cowboys waived/injured tight end Connor Hamlett; waived offensive lineman Ruben Carter, wide receiver Javontee Herndon and linebacker Lucas Wacha; and signed cornerback Dejaun Butler, cornerback John Green, tight end M.J. McFarland and wide receiver Corey Washington.
  • Former Los Angeles Dodgers player and manager Tommy Lasorda, current Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry, former Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson and former Cowboys running back Beau Morgan were all at practice today.

Notable Standouts

Dez Bryant –Tuesday might have been the best practice of Bryant's entire camp. He was active, he made every catch and he was involved in every play. In the Compete Period, he beat Orlando Scandrick inside for an easy touchdown on a post route. In the full-team portions of practice, he was constantly open for Dak Prescott. He was clearly feeling himself, too, given that he dunked not once but two touchdowns over the goal post for the fans in attendance.

Lewis Neal –The undrafted rookie has had a startlingly good training camp, and it certainly looked like the coaching staff wanted to see if he could handle a challenge. In the Compete Period, the coaches put Neal – who stands at 6-0 – up against his 6-4 LSU teammate, La'el Collins. Strictly speaking, Collins won the matchup, but it was no easy victory. Neal has an impressive amount of power, and he handles himself well against much larger players. It was just another piece of what has been an impressive performance for Neal this month.

Nolan Carroll –That's two straight days of nice work from the veteran cornerback. Carroll drove on a comeback route and broke up a pass intended for Terrance Williams during the full-team drills. If he had reacted one tick quicker, he might have had a third interception in just two practices. It seems as though Carroll has been coming along better and better from the time the Cowboys got to camp.

Play of the Day

It's hard to say for sure that Dez Bryant would have scored – but credit to him for effort. In the Cowboys' full-team period, he took a short slant across the middle of the field from Dak Prescott and proceeded to take over. Bryant shook off his coverage in the middle of the field, then proceeded to race around Kavon Frazier and Nolan Carroll. All told, he sprinted to the end zone from roughly 25 yards out. If that wasn't emphasis enough, he dunked the ball over the crossbar to the delight of the crowd attending practice.

Unofficial Injury Report:

Missed Practice:

WR Ryan Switzer (hamstring)
CB Chidobe Awuzie (ankle, hamstring)
QB Luke McCown (shoulder)
DT Cedric Thornton (hamstring)
DE Tyrone Crawford (ankle)
CB Marquez White (hamstring)
CB Jourdan Lewis (hamstring)
CB Anthony Brown (hamstring)
OG Joe Looney (toe)
CB Sammy Seamster
LB Sean Lee (hamstring)

Left Practice:

TE Rico Gathers (head/neck)

Returned to Practice:

Upcoming Schedule

Wednesday, Aug. 16

3:45 p.m. (PDT) – Practice

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