By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Irving _ Disgruntled cornerback Mike Jenkins returned to the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday for the start of the team’s three-day minicamp.
Jenkins, who boycotted the voluntary offseason program and onfield team activities after demanding a trade, was subject to be fined up $60,000 if he didn’t show for the mandatory minicamp.
Jenkins, who was unable to workout because of offseason shoulder surgery, declined to comment, even apologizing for his silence to the Star-Telegram by saying “it was nothing personal.”
Clearly Jenkins’ beef is not with the media but with the Cowboys.
He demanded a trade through his agent Drew Rosenhaus after the team signed free agent Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million deal and then drafted LSU standout with the sixth overall pick turning Jenkins from a starter to the third cornerback at best.
Cornerback Orlando Scandrick said he was glad to see his friend and teammate back. He said Jenkins was making a business decision but he is a professional and will act accordingly going forward.
From the Cowboys point of view, their moves in the offseason were not personal but business as well. They saw an opportunity to upgrade their football team and did so with Jenkins still a huge part of the equation.
Owner Jerry Jones said he was happy to see Jenkins back and reiterated his offseason long stance that the Cowboys view the former 2008 first round pick as a valuable part of the cornerback situation and have no interest in trading him.
“We’re not going to trade Jenkins,” Jones said. “I’m excited about the fact that we’ve got this kind of corner situation. We’ll maximize it for our team and it gives us all the things we want at a position that’s critical for us.”
Coach Jason Garrett was of a similar mindset, saying he was happy to Jenkins back on the field.
And while Garrett was clearly disappointed the Jenkins chose not to participate in the voluntary off season program he is ready to move forward with him.
“It was good to see him,” Garrett said. “Good to have him back here. The offseason program in NFL is voluntary. We had 90 guys on our roster and 89 of them attended
Mike Jenkins decided to not be here for voluntary part. He is here for the mandatory part.
He is rehabbing his shoulder. It’s good to have him back in the building with our football team. Hopefully he will be ready to play football for us.”
The big question now is when Jenkins will be ready to play.
His rehab from shoulder surgery is slower than some of his other teammates, including running Felix Jones, linebacker Dan Conner and linebacker Alex Albright.
Garrett doesn’t know if he will be ready when training camp starts.
“I can’t make that judgment,” Garrett said. “He has a long way to go. He has a serious injury. It’s hard to compare to compare those (other) guys. They had shoulder injuries but they had different shoulder surgeries. He is certainly behind them. But he had a complicated surgery that was done after the season. Hopefully he will be ready by camp.”
The Cowboys believe he will be there ready to go after an offseason of discontent. His teammates plan to be behind him.
"There's always a business side to the game," quarterback Tony Romo said. "Personally, you just want to play football. I think Mike understands there's a time for business and there's a time to play. I think that stuff he's going through is for everybody. I think for him, he's got to do what he thinks is right. But at the same token, he understands that he's part of the team.
"I expect Mike to have a great season. He's been a great player for us and I'm excited about having him back."