All the fuss regarding Mike Jenkins’ absence from the Dallas Cowboys’ OTAs is just getting started. Jenkins’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said last Wednesday Jenkins will be at the Cowboys’ mandatory mini-camp that begins next week. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Jenkins’ absence hasn’t been a problem thus far.
“We anticipate seeing him back here next week,” Garrett said. “He’s not missing any on-the-field work by being in Florida. He’s getting his rehab done down there.”
Jenkins is rehabbing his surgically-repaired shoulder in his native Florida, which is somethingthat a lot of NFL players do in the off-season. However, Garrett went on to say Jenkins’ absence definitely hasn’t been a good thing for Dallas, either.
“Certainly we want our players around in meetings, understanding the new things we’re putting in, going over some of the old things from last year,” Garrett said. “We think that’s a missed opportunity for him. He’s not missing any of the on-field work. He’ll be back when he’s back and we’ll get back to work with him.”
Failing to rehab with team trainers can have a negative impact on players coming off surgery, much like the NFL lockout prevented then-Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning from properly healing from off-season neck surgeries. Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan mentioned hinted at that after OTAs on Wednesday.
“He’s coming off an injury,” Ryan said. “It’s always best to be around the team so our training staff is up to speed with him [and] we’re up to speed to him.”
As far as Jenkins’ commitment and his place on the team, Ryan isn’t concerned, but it’s natural for a coach to feel that way.
“I called Mike. I like Mike, a hard working kid, he’s got great talent,” Ryan said. “But everybody is working here. That’s the way it is. He’s going to be a part of us. I know he loves his teammates. He’ll do a great job once he’s here. It’s disappointing, sure, but I think everybody’s situation is different. I’m not going to farm his land and I don’t do all that crap. Would we like to see him out here? Hell yeah.”
All this talk is getting old. Jenkins is only hurting himself by skipping OTAs and being away from the Cowboys’ training staff. He’s also hurting his trade value, his potential free agent value (he’s in the final year of his rookie contract) and the camaraderie with his teammates. Garrett and Ryan aren’t concerned now, but this is far from over.