Danny Coale arrived here a year ago ready to compete for the team's third receiver job behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. That excitement quickly turned to disappointment for the former Virginia Tech star.
The rookie minicamp was the last time he was healthy. He broke his left foot in the Cowboys' first organized team activity. Then, he pulled his hamstring and strained his quad after making the practice squad. He went on injured reserve in late November after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Dr. Dan Cooper performed reconstructive surgery on Coale on Dec. 11.
"It was a learning year," Coale said. "I didn't have any injuries at Virginia Tech. I think the most frustrating part is you've never been that guy who's been hurt constantly. I've never been that person, so to have year like this, it was tough. It teaches a lot about yourself and slows you down a little bit and causes you to appreciate things a little bit more. But it's part of the game. If you play the game a long enough time, at some point you're going to have some injuries."
Coale was eligible to participate in the team's rookie minicamp this weekend, but he hasn't been medically cleared. Though he is running routes in the voluntary practices, he will have limited participation in the team's OTAs. He expects to be fully cleared for the start of training camp.
Coale now is the forgotten receiver in the battle to make the roster. The Cowboys drafted Terrance Williams in the third round; rookie free agent Cole Beasley made the 53-player roster last season and caught 15 passes for 128 yards in getting a jump on Coale; and Dwayne Harris came on late in the season and finished with 17 receptions for 222 yards and a touchdown. So Coale has some catching up to do if he is to stick with the Cowboys for 2013.
"That happens every year," Coale said of the addition of Williams. "I think right now, the thing I've been focusing on is what I can control and that's my rehab. Does that get better every day? Does it get better every week? It has to this point. I'm going to focus on that, and we'll worry about the receiver stuff at a later point. The first thing I've got to focus on is getting this right."
-- Charean Williams