July 23, 2012

Cowboys RB Felix Jones aims to be injury free this season

Entering his fifth season, the Dallas Cowboys running back has only had one year he's played all 16 games.

Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones said he finds a different motivation every year.

This year, it is to prove he can stay healthy.

The fifth-year veteran heads to training camp ready to practice after missing much of the off-season work recovering from shoulder surgery.

It is an important year for him, because he is in the last year of his rookie contract and the Cowboys saw DeMarco Murray emerge as their No. 1 back last season.

"Just to show my fans I'm the best, show them I can go out there and do this and play this game with the best of them," Jones said Monday, when asked to describe his motivation for this year. "You know, just to prove a point. I've been injured each and every year of my career in the NFL. I just want to show my fans I'm durable and can handle it."

Does that include showing it to the Cowboys?

"Just prove it to everyone," he said. "That I can do it, and I can hold up."

Jones spoke to reporters at The Salvation Army's Mabee Social Services Center, where he helped dedicate a Dallas Cowboys Play60 Fitness Zone for children.

"I was outside every day. My mom couldn't keep me indoors," he said. "Sometimes I wouldn't come home until it got dark outside. But it's a different generation now. A lot of youth are inside playing video games, and you know, I guess we've just got to adjust as a society now and try to make it easy for them and make it active for them indoors as well."

Jones said his body feels good and he is ready for practices. He was able to run and walk through plays during the organized team activities (OTAs) at Valley Ranch in the spring, but he was restricted from catching passes because he couldn't lift his arm.

Jones has missed 16 games since being a first-round pick in 2008 out of Arkansas. He played in only six games as a rookie, 14 his second year and 12 last year. He played all 16 games in 2010 and rushed for a career-best 800 yards.

"Body's feeling great," he said. "I can't wait to get into camp to show my coaches that I'm feeling good. And can't wait to get the season going."

Last year, Jones carried only 127 times. But he caught 33 passes in the limited action and anticipates being a large part of the offense this year in tandem with Murray.

"The coaches are in there plotting each and every day," he said. "We'll see how things turn out this year. I'm excited about this upcoming season. DeMarco Murray is a great football player. Just can't wait to see what we're going to do."

Jones said he has high hopes for the offense, which ranked 15th in the NFL last year in points scored.

"I see bright things," he said. "The sky is the limit for us. We've just got to go out there, and we'll make it happen. We can only beat ourselves. As long as we can keep those mistakes away, we can go a long way."

Jones, asked about receiver Dez Bryant's arrest last week after a domestic violence call, encouraged his teammate.

"I know Dez. He's going to keep his head up," Jones said. "I'm praying for him. I know he'll pull through."

Asked if it will affect Bryant's preparation, Jones said, "Not at all. He's going to use that as a motivation, and he's going to keep on ticking and being the best player."

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @calexmendez

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