The long-awaited training camp debut of running back Darren McFadden came on Saturday, 19 days since the Dallas Cowboys started camp.
McFadden had been on the physically unable to perform list because of a hamstring injury. He will be brought along slowly with individual drills.
But he’s just happy to finally be practicing with his teammates.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been out there, so definitely just looking forward to getting out there and being out there hustling and grinding with my teammates,” McFadden said.
“Just showing them the type of back that Darren McFadden is. You’re going to get a hard worker, a guy that knows how to pick up pass protection and break big runs for this offense.”
McFadden has a lot to prove to the Cowboys and himself after seven tough years in Oakland, where was bogged down by injuries.
He signed with the Cowboys in March, hoping for a fresh start and a chance to compete with Joseph Randle for the starting spot vacated in free agency by the NFL’s leading rusher, DeMarco Murray.
But McFadden was slowed by a right hamstring injury in minicamp before injuring the left hamstring before training camp.
“It was really difficult and frustrating,” running backs coach Gary Brown said. “He has a chip on his shoulder. He wants to prove he was worth the pick he was. I know he had some problems in Oakland with his health and things of that nature. But he’s here now. He is excited. It seems like he is reinvigorated. He’s ready to go.”
Also returning to practice on Saturday was running back Lance Dunbar, who has been sidelined since last week with a sprained ankle. He also will sit out team drills while being worked back to practice.
Both are welcomed back to a running back position that was forced to start undrafted rookie Gus Johnson in the preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers, only to lose him to a separated shoulder.
The Cowboys held Randle (strained oblique) out for precautionary reasons. Johnson is expected to be out a few days. Dunbar, McFadden and Randle will probably be limited.
The Cowboys signed two running backs Saturday, former Texas A&M star Ben Malena, who was with Dallas during training camp last summer, and former Missouri Western player Michael Hill to help get them through practice the over the next week.