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Okoye’s workouts will be slow and cautious

08/15/2014 8:43 PM

08/15/2014 8:44 PM

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Amobi Okoye is attempting to become the first player to return to the NFL after suffering anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a difficult to diagnose and potential deadly brain disease.

Okoye, who was in medically induced coma a little more than a year go, was cleared to begin practicing with the Cowboys.

He has been on the non football injury list since the start of camp and remains a long way from playing in a game again for first time since 2012.

According owner Jerry Jones and his agent Ian Greengross, the Cowboys will take their time and ease him back into full football activities.

Greengross said Okoye will "start with 10 percent contact drills and then if no adverse effects it will be increased to 15 percent" and on and on.

Greengross said he is "unbelievably amazed and overjoyed" that Okoye is at this point again after being officially diagnosed in March of 2013.

He estimated Okoye lost 90 pounds while dealing with the potentially lethal brain disease.

Greengross says Okoye weighs roughly 295 now after a long process to rebuild his mind and body back.

"It's exciting news for us. He's a good football player when he's healthy and playing in this league," coach Jason Garrett said. "He knows our scheme. It's the reason we got him and I think our patience has paid off up to this point, so it will be fun to see him out on the practice field, see what kind of progress he can make."

Okoye was a former first round pick of the Houston Texans in 2007. He last played with the Chicago Bears in 2011-2012.

Okoye signed with the Cowboys in May in a gamble by the team that he could get clearance to resume his career again and possibly help a defensive line lacking talent.

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Charean Williams has covered the NFL for 21 seasons. She's a Hall of Fame voter, a past president of the Pro Football Writers of America and a proud Aggie. Follow her on Twitter at @NFLCharean

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has been the Dallas Cowboys beat writer since 1997. He's battle tested with one playoff win, six coaches, countless scandals, controversies and unfullfilled expectations. Follow him on Twitter at @clarencehilljr

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Drew Davison joined the Star-Telegram as a correspondent in 2007, primarily covering high schools along with helping out with Rangers, Cowboys and colleges coverage. He became one of the Rangers beat writers in July 2011, and also assists with coverage of Texas Motor Speedway and the Cowboys during the offseason. Davison graduated from the University of Kansas and had internships at The Kansas City Star and MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @drewdavison

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Jimmy Burch is the college sports and golf writer/columnist for the Star-Telegram. He also covers the Dallas Cowboys and other Dallas-Fort Worth pro sports. Follow him on Twitter at @Jimmy_Burch

E-mail: jburch@star-telegram.com

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