The Dallas Cowboys believe guard Ronald Leary's knee will hold up, but if he has a problem with it, a team source said it could mean microfracture surgery, a type of arthroscopic surgery that could be career-ending.
The negative long-term prognosis is why the Memphis player went from a possible third-round prospect to undrafted. The Cowboys signed him Saturday night after the draft.
"It's about how long he can play," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in announcing the signing. "It's not about now. That's why he fell the way he fell."
The Cowboys have been high on the 6-foot-3, 315-pound senior since taking him through a private work out at the school.
They believe they not only signed an undrafted free agent who could make the team but also could compete for a starting job.
Despite the chronic knee problem, Leary was reliable and versatile at Memphis. He started 36 straight games to end his career. As a senior in 2011, he started the first six games at left tackle and then the final six at right guard. He was recognized as the co-MVP of the team.
The Cowboys announced the dates and times for their preseason games.
The preseason opens at 7 p.m. Aug. 13 at Oakland on ESPN.
The second game is an 8 p.m. kickoff on Aug. 18 at San Diego. The Cowboys are considering staying in San Diego for practices with the Chargers the following week.
The Cowboys are expected to break camp and come home for a 7 p.m. game on Aug. 25 against St. Louis. Then the preseason closes at home against Miami. That game is set for 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29.
Former SMU receiver Cole Beasley has good reason to believe the No. 3 receiving job is open for competition.
The Cowboys told him that when they signed him as an undrafted free agent.
"They told me that the third spot was open and only two of their guys were really proven guys," Beasley said. "I feel good about the opportunity, and I can do some more stuff like special teams."
Beasley is one of four undrafted receivers signed by the Cowboys.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760