The Dallas Cowboys added much need reinforcements to their suspect defense when end Benson Mayowa, rookie tackle Maliek Collins and linebacker Damien Wilson returned to practice for the first time since the start of training camp.
Mayowa was sidelined because of knee surgery in June. Collins, the rookie third-round pick from Nebraska, suffered a fractured foot on organized team activities in May. Wilson injured his eye as a result an accident playing paint ball in June.
Coach Jason Garrett said all three players would be eased back into practice and didn’t know if they would be ready for Friday’s preseason game against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium.
Mayowa came to the Cowboys as a restricted free agent from the Oakland Raiders in hopes of jump starting his career and the team’s woeful pass rush. He is ready to make the most of his opportunity after notching two sacks in three previous seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders.
"I have just been working hard," Mayowa said. "If you follow me you know where I came from. You know my story. I just been sticking with it. Opportunity finds hard workers. It starts today for me, getting back with my boys and doing what I’m supposed to do."
Mayowa is projected to start at right defensive end while Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence open the season on the suspended list. Lawrence will miss the first four games. Gregory is slated to miss 10 but could be out all season.
Collins is expected be part of the rotation at 3-tech tackle spot with Tyrone Crawford, while Wilson could inject himself into the mix at middle linebacker with starter Rolando McClain suspended for the first 10 games and not expected to play at all.