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May 29, 2013

Jerome Henderson: S Matt Johnson is no different than rookie because of the missed time last year

There was a time last year when Dallas Cowboys safety Matt Johnson didn’t even to answer his phone for fear of the endless questions from concerned friends and family about his practice status, let alone whether he was ever going to play in a game.

“They would call and ask if I was playing week,” said Johnson about a frustrating rookie year in which he participated in only a handful of practices and played in no games because of a nagging hamstring injury

“It’s kind of got to the point where I didn’t want to look at the phone. It’s fun now to say I practiced again. I practiced again. I have put a couple of practices together. Hopefully, they will stop asking if I practiced.”

So put Johnson's participation in offseason workouts the past two weeks in the category of small victories for him and the Cowboys.

But slow down on any talk of Johnson being a favorite to help solve the Cowboys questions at safety opposite Barry Church.

Remember Johnson missed OTAs last year after being drafted in the fourth round out of Eastern Washington because of school.He then injured his hamstring in minicamp, which forced him to miss most of training camp _ outside of a few practices leading up to the team’s third preseason game against the St. Louis Rams.

Johnson played 12 snaps against the Rams but re-injured the hamstring the process.

He was placed on injured reserve to start the season before returning to practice in mid-October. Two days before he set to play in his first NFL game against Carolina on Oct. 21 he re-aggravated the hamstring injury.

Secondary coach Jerome Henderson is just happy to see Johnson on the field and considers him no different than a rookie

“Absolutely by a long shot, this is the longest stretch we have seen Matt,” Henderson said. “Yes it is. So he is a rookie. He is not just like a rookie, he is a rookie. In my book he is rookie just like all the other rookies.”

Henderson said Johnson is progressing well but he didn’t see enough of him last year to have a good opinion about his potential.

“He was only out here a day or two and he would have some medical setbacks,” Henderson said. “So it wasn’t enough to make an opinion.”

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