Ron Leary has fought, scratched and clawed his way into the starting lineup. The Cowboys offensive lineman plans to continue with that mentality to retain the job.
“Competition is always a good thing,” Leary said. “When you get into the NFL, you know it’s going to always be competition. None of us shy away from competition at this level.”
Outsiders penciled in La’el Collins as the starting left guard the day he signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. Collins has practiced at both right tackle and left guard.
With starting right tackle Doug Free having signed a three-year, $15 million contract in the offseason, it seems more likely the Cowboys will let Collins compete at left guard.
“Collins has played more guard than tackle, but again, he’s played both spots,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
Leary will have a big say in who plays with the starters for the season opener. An undrafted rookie free agent out of Memphis, Leary went from being released to making the practice squad to making the roster to the starting lineup.
“I’m going to compete with whoever they put over there. If it’s Collins or whoever, that’s what I’m going to do…,” Leary said.
Leary has made 31 starts the past two seasons, and Pro Football Focus rated him the 17th best guard among 78 guards who played last season. Leary was penalized three times for holding and allowed three sacks, with two quarterback hits and 22 hurries, according to PFF.
After getting stronger and improving his “movement skills,” Leary will enter training camp confident in his present and his future. He signed a one-year, $585,000 as an exclusive-rights free agent, making him a free agent after this season.
“I guess I am a vet,” Leary said. “I’m only 26, but I’ve been here four years. I’ve been in the league four years. So I know my way around. Now I feel a lot more comfortable.”
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760