Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys kept Ron Leary as insurance policy now paying off

Ron Leary finally got some game action on Sunday night.
Ron Leary finally got some game action on Sunday night. kbouaphanh@star-telegram.com

Ron Leary asked for a trade in the offseason, but the Dallas Cowboys didn’t grant his wish. They weren’t going to part ways with a dependable backup guard if the return didn’t justify it.

They knew how important having depth along the team’s biggest strength would be should something happen to a starter.

Well, something happened to left guard La’el Collins when the Cowboys kicked a field goal with 1:59 left in the first quarter, as his right big toe got caught in the turf.Collins tried to play through it, but the team eventually pulled him in favor of Leary in the second half. X-rays were negative on Collins’ toe afterward, but he will undergo an MRI on Monday morning.

Collins said he couldn’t put any weight on his toe, and that is part of the reason he got pushed badly off the line on a play against Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski.

“I couldn’t really put any weight on it at all, so just went out there and tried to do my best,” Collins said. “I didn’t want to come out at the half, but they thought it was the best. Didn’t want to mess it up even worse.

“I just kept fighting through it. That [Kwiatkoski play] wouldn’t have happened if I was all good. But, you know, it’s football.”

Leary, who was inactive the first two games, stepped in and played well. Leary admitted it’s been difficult to stay engaged after losing his starting job midway through last season, and not having his trade request fulfilled.

“It’s been hard, I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s been easy,” Leary said. “It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve been through. But, I mean, sometimes you just got to be a pro about things and just be ready. It can happen at anytime.

“It’s a physical game and everybody is just a snap away.”

That, precisely, is why the Cowboys held on to Leary even if he’s been somewhat disgruntled with the decision.

“We had a lot of interest in Leary and tonight is why you don’t do that,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said.