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Cowboys Mini-Camp: Will Rolando McClain and Ronald Leary Report?

Plenty of players haven’t been practicing with the Cowboys over the last few weeks.  Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dez Bryant, and others have been nursing lingering injuries and recovering from offseason procedures. However, two players have been away for other reasons; linebacker Rolando McClain and guard Ronald Leary. Starting today, the Cowboys’ practices go from voluntary to mandatory. Per Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk, players who miss this three-day mini-camp are subject to a total fine of $76,580 if they miss the entire camp.

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys Mini-Camp: Will Rolando McClain and Ronald Leary Report?

Plenty of players haven't been practicing with the Cowboys over the last few weeks.  Sean Lee, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dez Bryant, and others have been nursing lingering injuries and recovering from offseason procedures. However, two players have been away for other reasons; linebacker Rolando McClain and guard Ronald Leary.

Starting today, the Cowboys' practices go from voluntary to mandatory. Per Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk, players who miss this three-day mini-camp are subject to a total fine of $76,580 if they miss the entire camp. The first day fine $12,765, Day Two is $25,525, and Day Three is a $38,290 fine.

What will the threat of lost earnings and other factors mean for McClain and Leary? Will they report to practice tomorrow or at all this week? Let's briefly look at each plyer.

Cowboys Blog - Rolando McClain Sets Cowboys Defense Back With SuspensionRolando McClain

Last year McClain missed all of the voluntary work but showed up for mini-camps. At that time he was recovering from knee surgery but still could've been with the team to do his rehab and watch and participate in some of the coaching. The word was that he was dealing with "personal problems."

This year it's been more of the same; personal problems and "family issues." Given McClain's own demons it's no surprise that he'd have some chronic family issues to deal with. Hopefully they don't prevent him from rejoining the team and asserting himself as the starting middle linebacker and a key figure on this year's defensive squad.

Over the last two years it's been rare for McClain and Sean Lee to get on the field together thanks to their mutual health issues. It would be wonderful for them to finally get in the practice time together to develop their chemistry and be better than ever next season. McClain's talent level is far closer to Lee's than any other linebacker. Their combined presence for the majority of the season could do wonders for the 2016 defense.

If McClain doesn't show, Andrew Gachkar has been serving as the middle linebacker in his absence and would be expected to retain that role during mini-camp.


ron-learyRonald Leary

In a radio interview in Monday, Leary told 105.3 The Fan that he would report to camp today. It will mark the end of a holdout that began when Dallas stuck Leary with a Restricted Free Agent tender and curtailed his chances of finding a long-term deal or a starting job elsewhere.

I do see Leary as sympathetic figure. He was a starter for the 2014 offense line that helped DeMarco Murray set a team record in yardage. He would likely still have that job if not for the extraordinary circumstance that allowed Dallas to acquire La'el Collins last year.

Granted, Leary isn't making the veteran minimum. His second-round RFA tender is paying $2.5 million in 2016. However, there is zero guaranteed money in that deal. If a young guy like Chaz Green has a big summer then Dallas could think about saving that money, leaving Leary in an even worse spot.

Guaranteed money is true commodity in the NFL. Players have turned down huge annual salaries because of a lack of guarantees in the deal. For a guy with degenerative knee issues with Leary, that is even more of an issue. He knows every year could be his last with even more fear than the average player.

Even if Leary shows up for these practices, as he says he will, that does not mean he won't still be trying to find a way out of Dallas. For now perhaps it's just an olive branch from his side to the Cowboys.

** UPDATE (10:05 CST) **

Per the following Tweets form Bryan Broaddus, both McClain and Leary showed up for camp today.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Been told that Rolando McClain has reported for the mandatory 3 Day Mini Camp which begins today at Valley Ranch.

Bryan Broaddus on Twitter

Also include Ronald Leary to that list as well so all players accounted for here for practice.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason

Matthew Lenix

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Report: Amari Cooper Likely out Until Week 1

Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.

The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.

"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."


The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.

However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.


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Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith

Kevin Brady

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Jaylon Smith, Eagles

The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.

ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...

Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.


Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.

And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.


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Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List

John Williams

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Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.

"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."

Todd Archer - ESPN.com

This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.

It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.


The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.

While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.

With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.

With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.


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