Dallas Cowboys

Minicamp Notes: A David Irving sighting; Dak, Witten impressive; terrible day for...

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones says now is the time to extend QB Dak Prescott

Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones says it makes sense to extend quarterback Dak Prescott now because "he deserves it," while speaking to media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.
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Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones says it makes sense to extend quarterback Dak Prescott now because "he deserves it," while speaking to media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley was right about one thing: There is always something other than football going on around the team’s headquarters.

So on the first day of minicamp, guess who showed up?

Former defensive tackle David Irving, who infamously announced his retirement from the Cowboys and football while smoking marijuana on Instagram a couple of months ago.

Irving didn’t come to The Star to play football or try to resume his career. He is still indefinitely suspended by the NFL for violating the substance abuse policy.

Instead, Irving was there to visit one of his lawyers who is helping with his ongoing child custody case.

He made it clear that he was happy, healthy and had no regrets about his decision.

Irving said he smokes less weed than he did when he was playing because he no longer has the stress of the Cowboys and the NFL to worry about.

He says he is an executive producer and acting for Impact Television Network and also deals with marijuana companies.

Irving has had thoughts about the XFL because of its less-restrictive playing rules, but his focus now is acting and getting full custody of his daughter. He has a hearing Wednesday in Frisco and hopefully a final one Aug. 5, he said.

Irving said he didn’t miss the Cowboys but he missed owner Jerry Jones because of all the help and support he provided him.

Now on to the sights and thoughts from the first day of minicamp:

Quarterback Dak Prescott is still sizzling in two-minute situations and tight end Jason Witten still knows how to get a first down and come up big. Randall Cobb will be a weapon in the scramble drill.

The Cowboys opened the two-minute drill with some adversity thanks to a hands-to-the-face penalty on right tackle Cam Fleming. Prescott got them out of trouble with two passes to Witten. He then hit Cobb for a first down, followed by an incomplete deep ball to Amari Cooper. Jourdan Lewis was flagged for interference against Cooper, giving the Cowboys a first-and-goal at the 9.

A pass to running back Ezekiel Elliott for 4 yards was followed by an incomplete pass. On third-and-goal, Prescott did the Tony Romo-spin left to buy time after getting pressured and found Cobb in the front corner of the end zone for the touchdown against tight coverage from Anthony Brown.

Cooper Rush had a disaster-filled day and the backup quarterback position has never been more wide open. During one three-play stretch, Rush threw a pick-six to cornerback Donovan Olumba, had a deep ball to Jon’Vea Johnson broken up by George Iloka and then threw into double coverage for tight end Blake Jarwin and was picked off by Joe Thomas. Practiced ended on a Rush interception by rookie safety Donovan Wilson.

Wilson made a nice play on the interception of Rush. He ran from the numbers to make a diving interception on the sidelines. Not to be outdone, rookie cornerback Mike Jackson also had an interception. He picked off third-string quarterback Mike White and took it to the house with quickness. Jackson performed well in the organized team activites (OTAs) and had a nice start to minicamp. It has been noticed. He even got a few snaps with the first team defense.

Again, the backup quarterback position is wide open. Quarterbacks coach Jon Kitna said they will see how things play out in training camp. But White has had the better performances during the media portions of practice in OTAs and now the first day of minicamp. Although White threw the interception to Jackson, he also had a nice throw in coverage to Cedrick Wilson and a deep ball to Johnson.

* It wasn’t Johnson’s best day as he had a couple of drops. But the undrafted rookie keeps showing up and keeps getting opportunities. The Cowboys are trying to find a way to use his blazing speed. He noticeably got some work with the first- and second-team offense. And he catches a lot of passes from Prescott in individual drills.

Guard/center Connor McGovern is being held out of minicamp with a pectoral injury. He missed the last week of OTAs with the same injury. The Cowboys are going with rest and rehab right now, according to coach Jason Garrett. Surgery is not an option at this time for the third-round pick from Penn State. The Cowboys are hopeful that he will be ready to go for training camp.

Receivers Allen Hurns and Tavon Austin and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who all missed OTAs with injuries and rehab, participated in individual drills on Tuesday. They will sit out Wednesday and do drills again on Thursday. Center Travis Frederick and right tackle La’el Collins participated in individual drills as they have been. Defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence, Taco Charlton and Tyrone Crawford, defensive tackle Antwuan Woods, cornerback Byron Jones and safety Kavon Frazier remain sidelined until at least the start of training camp as they continue rehab from off-season surgeries.

Byron Jones gave an update on his situation following hip surgery due to a bone edema. Jones is still not running full speed. He hopes to be ready at some point in training camp and is expected to make a full recovery. The good news is that he finally has a good diagnosis of the situation, which he thought was simply a groin injury during the season. Jones played through the injury because he lost no speed or quickness and didn’t think much of it, but it kept bothering him. He didn’t do anything from the Pro Bowl in late January until March before an MRI discovered the hip issue.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.