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September 02, 2012

Mike Jenkins will play wherever the coaches ask him to play; he just wants back on the field

Mike Jenkins will play the slot, a position he has never played previously, and he'll play special teams, too, if that's what the coaches want him to do. He'll do anything, he said. He just wants to play.

Jenkins was on the football field Sunday for the first time since the 2011 season finale against the New York Giants, 244 days ago. Dr. James Andrews preformed reconstructive surgery on Jenkins' right shoulder soon after the season ended, and Jenkins had been out since returning on a limited basis.

"It was good," Jenkins said after practice. "I got my feet up under me. I got a chance to get out there and work with the rest of the team."

Jenkins' return was delayed by a day, because of a migraine headache. Jenkins said he has had migraines since college.

"It was frustrating," Jenkins said. "At the same time, I had migraines, so I was hurting yesterday. It was another day. I came out today and I practiced. I felt pretty good."

Jenkins said he has complete faith in his rebuilt shoulder, but his conditioning is another matter entirely. Plus, even though defensive coordinator Rob Ryan believes Jenkins can play the slot, it is a position Jenkins has never played.

So Jenkins' status for Wednesday's season opener remains in doubt. It seems more likely he would return no earlier than the Week 2 game against the Seahawks.

Jenkins said there is no timetable for his return to game action.

"I feel everybody needs [work]," Jenkins said. "That’s why they have preseason to get back out there. It’s going to take a little while. I can’t put a timeframe on it. Whenever I feel comfortable, I guess, when I get my feet under me. At least a couple of days, a week, however long it takes me, I’m not sure."

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.

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.

"If that’s what I have to do, then that’s what I have to do," Jenkins said of playing the slot. "Like I said, it’s coach’s decision. I’m pretty sure whatever it is, they’re going to prepare everybody in the right way.

"...Whatever they need. I’m going to do my job. So whatever they’re calling, I’m going to answer."

-- Charean Williams


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