FRISCO - Tyron Smith and La'el Collins have been involved in limited participation in this week's Dallas Cowboys OTA practice at The Star. But their health and rehab updates are so promising that the guy they're paid to protect is projecting all-time highs for the two starting offensive tackles.
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"I've been rehabbing with those guys all offseason long, (so I) know the hard work they put in to get to where they are,'' QB Dak Prescott says. "(We) feel confident about their health, and just to know that they're in the best shape they've ever been in, in their career, both of them.''
Smith (coming off neck surgery) and Collins (coming off hip surgery) both surely consider the 2020 NFL season to have been a washout. Much has understandably been made of Prescott's season-ending Week 5 ankle injury. But the tackle combo played in just 30 of the 32 games - two for Tyron, none for La'el.
Add to that the fact that another blue-chip talent, Zack Martin, ended the season hurt with a calf injury that he is still rehabbing and ...
Yeah. A washout season.
"It's huge,'' Prescott said of Smith and Collins participating in some of the work, "and having Zack Martin (working on the side) out there as well. It's just a great feeling. I'm excited to get back out there as we take the huddle again and play with those guys.''
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Smith has worked on increased flexibility as the likely future Hall-of-Famer enters his 11th season. Collins allowed himself to get too heavy last offseason, clearly not a problem now.
As with Dak, who won't do every single drill until we get to Oxnard, coach Mike McCarthy said his rehabbing O-linemen will be managed with "a level of caution ... We'll see them in the full-go manner coming training camp."
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But the work has been put in. The comebacks are happening. Tyron Smith and La'el Collins, along with Zack Martin, will be back - giving Dallas another shot at top-notch O-line play that has become a Cowboys tradition.
"They both look in great shape," McCarthy said. "They both have been here the whole time through (offseason) Phases 1, 2 and 3. They're where they need to be.''