McClain joins Bryant on offseason missing list for Cowboys
IRVING, Texas (AP) The Cowboys figured they would be without receiver Dez Bryant most of the offseason because of the star receiver's contract situation.
Now Dallas is adding linebacker Rolando McClain to the missing list for spring workouts after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Throw in defensive end Greg Hardy skipping Thursday's practice to attend the appeal of his 10-game suspension over a domestic violence case, and the story for the Cowboys at the moment is as much about who isn't on the field as who is.
And that's with linebacker Sean Lee returning after missing a year with a knee injury and quarterback Tony Romo getting his first real offseason work since 2012.
''You want every guy here working,'' defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. ''We're so selfish as coaches. We want every rep. But we adjust.''
Coach Jason Garrett said McClain was in his home state of Alabama doing rehab work and taking care of personal business. Garrett said the team was in contact with McClain, but suggested the former top 10 pick who walked away from football in 2013 might not return until training camp after surgery within the past two weeks.
Dallas re-signed McClain after he revived his career with a solid season following a trade before camp last year. He was an emergency replacement when Lee tore a knee ligament in the first offseason practice a year ago.
''Last time we got him right before the season started,'' Marinelli said of the trade with Baltimore after McClain twice told the Ravens he was finished with football. ''And he'd been on the couch for a year. He made unbelievable progress during that time.''
The Cowboys don't doubt that Bryant is working even though the 2014 All-Pro hasn't signed his one-year offer of $12.8 million under the franchise tag. He's been trying to get a long-term deal for a year.
Bryant missed all the less formal workout sessions before this week's start of voluntary practices, and he's now three weeks away from a mandatory minicamp.
''I know for a fact that Dez is working harder than anybody else right now,'' said running back Joseph Randle, who was getting first-team work Wednesday after NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray signed with Philadelphia in free agency. ''When he comes back, he'll be ready to roll.''
Terrance Williams, a third-round pick out of Baylor in 2013, is the de facto No. 1 receiver with Bryant missing. And Devin Street, a fifth-rounder with just two catches as a rookie last year, had one of the highlights Wednesday by catching a long pass down the sideline from Romo.
''Perfect world, you want to have everybody here,'' offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. ''But that's the business that we're in. There's so many positives coming out of it in my mind with other players getting opportunities this time of year that normally wouldn't get it.''
Linehan was saying that last year about his extra quarterbacks, with Romo largely sidelined by back surgery for the second consecutive spring. The flip side is that Romo is missing a chance for extra work with Bryant, the most productive receiver through five seasons in the storied franchise's history.
''It hurts us just by the passion that he brings to the table and the competitive spirit of practice,'' receiver Cole Beasley said. ''But since he's gone, a lot of guys are getting more time to show what they can do. It both hurts and helps.''
NOTES: OL Chaz Green, a third-round draft pick, has signed his rookie contract. The remaining unsigned picks are first-rounder Byron Jones (CB, Connecticut), and LB Damien Wilson, a fourth-round pick out of Minnesota. Jones and Wilson are practicing. ... RB Ryan Williams missed practice Tuesday with knee soreness but was on the field Wednesday.
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