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August 30, 2012

Cowboys will determine Jenkins' role after they see what he can do

The Cowboys don't know what Mike Jenkins can or can't do. They haven't seen him since do anything, football-wise, since the 2011 season ended. So whether he plays in the season opener and what his role will be this season is to be determined.

For now, the Cowboys are just glad to have their cornerback back.

Jenkins passed his physical Wednesday night, and Dr. James Andrews cleared Jenkins without Jenkins going to Florida. Team doctors sent Andrews the reports electronically. Jenkins is cleared to practice Saturday.

"We just need to see him practice, and he’s been cleared to practice, so we just want to make sure he goes out there and practices the way that he’s capable of practicing," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Thursday. "He hasn’t practiced a whole lot of football in a while, so conditioning is certainly a factor, getting himself re-acclimated to just playing football is a factor, so we’ll evaluate him day by day. It’s good to see that he is cleared. It's going to be good to have him out on the practice field on Saturday."

The question is what role Jenkins will play with the Cowboys. Dallas signed free agent Brandon Carr and drafted Morris Claiborne to be its starting corners. Orlando Scandrick, who signed a five-year extension last August, has been the team's nickel corner since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2008. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan believes Jenkins can play the slot, but Jenkins has never done it.

"All we want to do with Mike Jenkins is get him back on the practice field, see how he’s moving around," Garrett said. "We’re not overly focused on any particular role that he has. He hasn’t practiced in a long, long time, so we just want to get him playing football again. He’s worked very hard on the side to get himself back into condition, but football condition is different. So hopefully he’ll have a good few days of practice starting on Saturday morning, and we’ll just see where he is day by day in preparation for this ball game."

Jenkins, a one-time Pro Bowler, made 22 tackles, with 10 pass breakups and one interception last season while battling through injuries. In the final year of his contract, Jenkins can up his free agency value by showing he is capable of playing the slot as well as outside.

-- Charean Williams


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