IRVING, Texas – There was trepidation and a sense of uncertainty in Jason Garrett's voice when Matt Johnson's name came up as the head coach began listing players he expected to return to practice next week before the regular-season opener.
Nothing Garrett said Thursday suggested a quick return for Johnson next week, which could be troublesome for the bubble player as roster cuts approach. Johnson missed the remainder of the preseason after leaving the Hall of Fame Game with a foot injury.
"Anticipate him being out a little longer than that," Garrett said. "Again, that was an injury that we thought he might come back quickly or it might take a little bit of time. It turns out, it's taken a little bit of time."
That same story has existed for Johnson throughout his NFL career thus far since being drafted in the fourth round in 2012. His talent has never been a question. He's just never been on the field long enough to demonstrate what he can bring.
Jones tried to return quickly from a hamstring injury last year and ended up hurting himself worse, failing to take the field during the regular season. A healthy offseason didn't reap any benefits, either, as he failed to finish a preseason game this year.
Needless to say, it's a tough position for the safety to find himself in right now, without the ability to control his destiny. [embedded_ad]
"I have no idea what's going to happen," Johnson said. "I couldn't really control it. I couldn't really make myself better in their eyes, or worse. I guess it was worse by not playing. That's just kind of the frustrating part."
Johnson never would have imagined he'd still be out after aggravating his foot on a sideline tackle.
"Technically, I hurt it before the game," Johnson said. "I thought it was just a sore ankle and then in the game it got a little bit worse. I thought I'd be playing in the Oakland game."
Among the players Garrett said he's hopeful will return to practice next week are guard Ron Leary, defensive end Anthony Spencer, defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and guard Mackenzy Bernadeau.
Safety might be the toughest position for the Cowboys' staff to dwindle down, as the team needs to make its cuts to 53 by Saturday.