IRVING -- Disgruntled cornerback Mike Jenkins returned to the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday for the start of the team's three-day minicamp.
Jenkins, who boycotted the voluntary off-season program and on-field team activities after demanding a trade, was subject to be fined up to $60,000 if he didn't show for the mandatory minicamp.
Jenkins, who was unable to work out because of off-season shoulder surgery, politely declined to comment, even apologizing for his silence to the Star-Telegram by saying "it was nothing personal."
Clearly, Jenkins' beef is not with the media but with the Cowboys.
He demanded a trade through his agent Drew Rosenhaus after the team signed free-agent Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million deal and then drafted LSU standout Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick to turn Jenkins from a starter to the third cornerback at best. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick said he was glad to see his friend and teammate back. He said Jenkins was making a business decision, but he is a professional and will act accordingly going forward.
Jenkins is in the final year of his contract and will make $1.057 million in 2012.
From the Cowboys' point of view, their moves in the off-season were not personal but business as well. They saw an opportunity to upgrade their football team and did so with Jenkins still a huge part of the equation.
Owner Jerry Jones said he was happy to see Jenkins back and reiterated his off-season-long stance that the Cowboys view the 2008 first-round pick as a valuable part of the cornerback situation and have no interest in trading him.
"We're not going to trade Jenkins," Jones said. "I'm excited about the fact that we've got this kind of corner situation. We'll maximize it for our team and it gives us all the things we want at a position that's critical for us."
Coach Jason Garrett was of a similar mindset although he was disappointed that Jenkins chose not to participate in the voluntary off-season program.
"It was good to see him," Garrett said. "Good to have him back here. The off-season program in the NFL is voluntary. We had 90 guys on our roster and 89 of them attended.
"Mike Jenkins decided to not be here for the voluntary part. He is here for the mandatory part. He is rehabbing his shoulder. Hopefully, he will be ready to play football for us."
The big question is when will Jenkins be ready to play.
His rehab from shoulder surgery is slower than some of his other teammates, including running Felix Jones, linebacker Dan Connor and linebacker Alex Albright.
Garrett doesn't know if Jenkins will be ready when training camp starts in July.
"I can't make that judgment," Garrett said. "He has a long way to go. He has a serious injury. It's hard to compare to those [other] guys. They had shoulder injuries, but they had different shoulder surgeries. He is certainly behind them. He had a complicated surgery that was done after the season. Hopefully he will be ready by camp."
The Cowboys believe he will be ready to go after an off-season of discontent.
"There's always a business side to the game," quarterback Tony Romo said. "Personally, you just want to play football. I think Mike understands there's a time for business and there's a time to play.
"I expect Mike to have a great season. He's been a great player for us and I'm excited about having him back."
Clarence E. Hill Jr.