IRVING — Mike Jenkins has finally rejoined his Dallas Cowboys teammates. The disgruntled and injured cornerback still hasn’t practiced.
After skipping voluntary workouts while rehabilitating from shoulder surgery, and after the Cowboys added two prominent cornerbacks this offseason, Jenkins was at Valley Ranch on Tuesday for the start of a mandatory veteran minicamp. He ran a few sprints and watched a few plays but remained sidelined because of his shoulder.
“It is good to have him out here, and our guys got a chance to check out how he has been rehabbing,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “So all of that was good.”
Jenkins, who is going into the final year of his contract, reportedly asked to be traded after the Cowboys signed free agent Brandon Carr to a $50 million, five-year deal and then used the sixth overall draft pick to get LSU All-American cornerback Morris Claiborne.
Jones has repeatedly said, and did so again Tuesday, that the Cowboys have no plans to trade Jenkins. The fifth-year cornerback, drafted 25th overall in 2008, started 12 games last season and missed four with a hamstring injury.
The Cowboys owner said he had a “very cordial” conversation with Jenkins.
“I talked a lot about our coming year and how we’ve really bolstered up our secondary and how being a part of that can be something special,” Jones said. “We’ve got a great situation here and we’re going to be really able to maximize the use of the talent we got here at cornerback. … I asked him how he was feeling, what he weighed and that type of thing.”
Jenkins came into the locker room twice when it was open to reporters after the team’s two-hour practice. He declined to talk with reporters.
“I think Mike understands that’s there’s a time for business and there’s a time to play,” said quarterback Tony Romo, who spoke to Jenkins in the training room. “He’s got to do what he thinks is right, but at the same token he understands that he’s part of the team. I expect Mike to have a great season. He’s been a great player for us and I’m excited about having him back.”
Coach Jason Garrett said spoke with Jenkins several times this offseason, and like other team officials had encouraged the cornerback to take part in the voluntary offseason session. Garrett said they had a good visit Tuesday.
“Now that he is back, he is here, we don’t see that as a big deal,” Garrett said. “We will try to coach him as best we can in the rehab phase. … He has a role on our football team. He is part of our team. He had done good things for team the past few years. We anticipate him getting back and be part of what we are doing this year.”
Garrett said Jenkins is making progress, though it was still too early to know if the cornerback would be ready when the Cowboys report to training camp in California at the end of July.
Jones anticipates Jenkins having the right attitude and being a key contributor for the Cowboys.
“I’ve never seen Mike Jenkins not compete. . He’s a guy that’s a competitor,” Jones said. “All the incentives are here for him to come in and have a big year. There is no rationale to have at all not to have a big year. He needs to get well and rehab, but he’s aligned right with everything that I’m aligned with and the Cowboys are aligned with: get in here, have a big year, play with a great bunch, this secondary, his corners, distinguish themselves.”
Backup QB Kyle Orton was held out as a precaution because of what Garrett described as a tweaked hamstring. … LB Bruce Carter came out of practice because of an apparent hamstring issue. … TE Jason Witten missed morning meetings while serving jury duty but was on the field for practice after the case was settled. “It went longer than we thought, but it was a good experience,” said Witten, who has earned a new nickname from teammates — “The Judge.” … Jones will appear in an upcoming episode of “Dallas,” the resurrected TV show that debuts this week. The scene was shot in a suite at Cowboys Stadium. “I’ve always been a big fan and was a big fan, when I first got to Dallas, of J.R., so all of that fit well. I think it’s a good thing for Dallas,” said Jones, who was then asked about his similarities with the J.R. Ewing character. “I think that’s a loaded question. We both have a cowboy hat on. I know that.”