IRVING, Texas – The next time we see Joseph Randle, he won't stick out like a sore thumb – so to speak.
It was easy to spot Randle at Cowboys' practices throughout OTAs and minicamp, because the rookie running back's offseason thumb surgery left his entire right wrist in a cast.
The cast came off last week, however, and Randle said he'll be ready to show his stuff when the Cowboys get to training camp in Oxnard, Calif.
"Don't get me wrong, I've been putting in some good work," he said. "There's a lot of other things I can be doing, and I can't be concerned with what I can't do right now. I'm getting a lot of great conditioning in."
Randle says he's focused on that positive mentality as the slow part of the NFL offseason reaches its end. While he wasn't able to do extensive running back work with the likes of DeMarco Murray, Phillp Tanner and Lance Dunbar this spring, Randle said the solitary work could benefit him in ways he hasn't seen before.
"I think I'll be coming into the year in the best shape I've ever been in – physically, and all of that," Randle said. "Learning the playbook, too – we've been grinding on the plays. Because you won't be on the field anyway if you don't know the plays."
Conditioning will be important for the rookie if he is to play the roles Cowboys have in mind for him – which is the secondary workhorse back behind starter DeMarco Murray. Randle is no stranger to a large workload, having averaged 16 carries per game in 2011 and an impressive 21 carries per game during his 2012 season at Oklahoma State.
But the rigors of the professional game are a different matter.
"You've got to be able to go all game, hard, strong, all season," he said. "That's the plan for a running back, and everybody knows running back is that type of season. You've got to have your body in great shape so that you can go all year – you can't just be in regular shape and think you can go all 16 games." [embedded_ad]
That's an interesting point to bring up, as Randle was drafted primarily as an insurance plan for Murray, who has had issues lasting a 16-game schedule. After spending the spring on the sidelines, Randle's hope is that it's the last time he'll be unavailable this year, and he's ready to play.
"I didn't come out of college to sit on somebody's bench and do nothing," he said. "I would have went back for my senior year if I didn't feel ready to come out and contribute for whatever team I'm on. I feel like I'm in the best position, and once I get out there and get accustomed to things, I'll be able to help."