IRVING — Miles Austin joined the Cowboys’ long list of players not practicing at organized team activities.But owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys are being extra careful with injuries this year.“We are obviously this much closer to training camp and, for one thing, we want to make sure they can get back as healthy as they can and not have any unnecessary soft-tissue pulls,” Jones said Tuesday at Valley Ranch. “You can even notice that our practices are shorter as we get down to the end of this thing. The reason is, we just want to make sure we give our guys every chance to spend more time strengthening and conditioning and getting ready for training camp.”The Cowboys’ commitment to guarding against injury may also be evident in their training camp schedule.This summer, they will practice an hour and a half later than they did last year in Oxnard, Calif. Coach Jason Garrett said one reason was to give the players more time between the morning walk-through and the afternoon work.Also among the players working on the side or not practicing Tuesday were Tony Romo, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Jay Ratliff, Will Allen and Jermey Parnell.But running back DeMarco Murray, who missed some of the first two weeks of OTAs, practiced.“I’d say they might have a pull or something tightening up, but you’ve got a very conservative approach as to the players that are here and who’s doing the work,” Jones said. “The ones that don’t have any issues are the ones we don’t feel there’s any risk, risk being an awareness, a tightness.”Jones said it was “probably unlikely” that Romo would work next week in the mandatory minicamp.Free happyDoug Free took a pay cut to stay with the Cowboys, but he said, “I think both sides got what they wanted out of it.”The veteran lineman accepted a two-year deal worth half his former salary when he re-signed with the Cowboys last month.“I’m happy, yeah,” he said. “Got to be. Got to stay positive and keep working hard. ... I don’t want to look at the business part and the money part. I just like playing football, and that’s what I like to do.”Draft boardJerry Jones said he is not sensitive about the Cowboys’ draft board being revealed last week because the draft is over.“We don’t put anything up there that’s particularly sensitive,” he said Tuesday, when asked about the work of the website Bloggingtheboys.com, which examined photos from the draft room to compile the list. “Those are the opinions and the work of our scouts. The fact that there might have been a player up there a round earlier or a round later than it is on a lot of other people’s boards or opinions doesn’t impact us.”Jason Garrett said he “did not follow that story.”Special teamsThe Cowboys are going to build in more special teams work into the regular practice at training camp, and they could look to starters more, Jason Garrett said. It’s part of the influence of new special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.“He talks to 70, 80, 90 percent of the guys almost every day, so it’s a really important job,” Garrett said. “The more guys you have involved in it, the more they’re invested in it.”Last week, the Cowboys used linebacker Sean Lee at upback for punts.“That’s a good role for him to have,” Garrett said. “A guy like that being out there emphasizes the importance of it.”Briefly• Safety Eric Frampton will rejoin the Cowboys, Jason Garrett said.• Running backs coach Gary Brown left the team last week to attend to a family illness. He is expected back this week.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez