Ron Leary seemed taken aback by the question of whether he could start in the NFL.
“You said, ‘Do I feel like I can be a starter in this league?’ Yeah, I feel I can be a starter in this league,” Leary said on Tuesday as the Cowboys began their three-day minicamp.
That is a question at this point, though, as no team has offered the Cowboys enough to acquire Leary in a trade.
Leary, 27, sat out voluntary organized team activities last month in hopes of forcing the Cowboys’ hand, but the team isn’t willing to give away Leary in a deal.
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No deal has come to fruition yet, and Leary is now with the team for the mandatory minicamp. He said his teammates along the offensive line understand the business side of the game, and there will be no issues about his status going forward.
“Football. Strictly football,” Leary said of his mindset. “I don’t think about the business side. I let them handle the business side. I just think about football.
“I’m not the type that let things like [a trade] really alter me mentally. I’m a strong guy mentally. That’s how I was raised and the way I was brought up.”
Leary started 31 of 32 games at left guard in 2013-14, and opened the season as a starter last year. But he lost the starting job to La’el Collins in the sixth game.
Leary is now fighting for playing time as a reserve, but is viewed as a likely inactive candidate most game days. The Cowboys signed Joe Looney to backup the three interior offensive line positions on game day because Looney has experience playing center.
Leary is set to make $2.553 million after signing his restricted free agent tender before the draft. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017.
“I’m here now, so I’m just going to move forward from here,” Leary said.
Leary spent most of Tuesday’s practice working on the side, as he is getting re-acclimated after missing OTAs.
“We want to make sure we acclimate them slowly and deliberately back into what we’re doing,” coach Jason Garrett said.