Five-time Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode returned to practice last week after missing the first three weeks of training camp rehabbing from off-season knee surgery.
Gurode, however, has not completely been given his old job back.
According to coach Jason Garrett, backup Phil Costa is competing with Gurode for the starting job at center. They have both split time with the first-team offense since Gurode's return.
Garrett said Costa was impressive with the starters during Gurode's absence and remains in the mix.
"We like him a lot," Garrett said Costa. "He's done a very good job, a very good job for us since he's been here. He made a very strong impression on us right at the outset last year as a free agent. We call him a little bit of a bulldog. He'll fight every down from the snap to the whistle and sometimes afterward. When you have guys on your football team like that, that's a real good thing. He's developed in the offseason. He came back in great shape. He's really had a good start to training camp. We want to create competitive situations throughout our football team. It's really why we don't talk about starters. It's more about working with the ones, and he's worked with the ones just like Andre has worked with the ones. I think it was benefical for Costa to get some work when Andre was out early on in camp, because that established him a little bit more and he was getting rep after rep after rep, and if you approach it like he does, you're going to get better. We've been pleased with his progress. We like to have him in the mix certainly."
Costa is in his second year after signing with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2010.
Gurode is a former second-round pick of the Cowboys in 2002. He has twice been named All-Pro, and he was No. 57 in the NFL Network's list of top 100 players in the NFL in 2011.
-- Clarence E. Hill Jr.