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Cowboys’ Leary taken off PUP

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

OXNARD, Calif. — Left guard Ronald Leary was taken off the physically unable to perform list Thursday morning and could be a full participant in practice as soon as Saturday.

Leary went through the morning walkthrough, working with the second-team offense, and will take part in individual drills during the Thursday afternoon practice. Head coach Jason Garrett said Leary, who strained his hamstring during the player-organized conditioning run before training camp, would then be evaluated to determine whether he is ready to do team drills after the off day.

After starting all 16 games last season, Leary will have to beat out Mackenzy Bernadeau to keep his starting job. They are competing for that spot after the Dallas Cowboys drafted Zack Martin in the first round and plugged him in at right guard, where Bernadeau started most of last season.

The fact that Leary has yet to practice during training camp doesn’t help his cause, but Garrett made it clear that he still expects a strong competition to unfold for the starting job at left guard.

“Ron’s played a lot of football for us,” Garrett said. “He’s still a young player who’s played a lot of snaps, so it’s disappointing that he hasn’t been able to get them this first week of camp, but he’ll be back out there. There’s a lot of football to be played before this preseason game and really throughout this preseason, so there’s plenty of opportunity for him to show up in this competition.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cowboys LT Smith inks $110M deal

By Todd Archer | ESPN.com

OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys have signed Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tyron Smith to an eight-year extension through 2023, making the total value of his contract worth nearly $110 million, according to multiple sources.

Smith, who the Cowboys view as a cornerstone of their future, is guaranteed $40 million and will receive a $10 million signing bonus, according to sources. He had two years remaining on his previous contract after the Cowboys picked up the fifth-year option of his rookie deal in the spring.

“Late last week, the Cowboys approached me with a deal I told my agents I wanted to sign,” Smith said in a statement released by his marketing firm. “My agents explained the pros and cons of this deal versus one that may be shorter term and/or higher guarantee. After careful consideration, I decided this long term deal was exactly what I wanted.

“Over the past three years, the Cowboys organization and Jones Family have helped me through trying times and I felt this was my opportunity to return the gratitude. I am beyond grateful for the Cowboys staff, my teammates, and the fans, and wanted to ensure I was locked in as a ‘Cowboy for Life.’ I want to thank everyone for their support and look forward to having a star on my helmet for the remainder of my career.” Read the rest of this entry »

Irvin, Newton to advise Brent on comeback

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

OXNARD, Calif. — A couple of high-profile former Dallas Cowboys with controversial pasts will serve as members of Josh Brent’s unofficial advisory committee as the defensive tackle attempts to make a comeback with the team.

Michael Irvin and Nate Newton, who are known for their starring roles on the Cowboys’ three Super Bowl title teams in the 1990s and various off-field incidents, offered to be part of Brent’s support system after his December 2012 arrest on intoxication manslaughter charges stemming from the crash that killed friend and teammate Jerry Brown Jr.

Brent, who retired before the 2013 season, will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell next week and hopes to resume his career with the Cowboys. He was released Tuesday from an addiction rehabilitation system, where he was allowed to serve the end of a jail sentence.

“All you can do is give him support and try to direct him in the right way,” said Newton, who served prison time on marijuana charges after his NFL career was over and now works in the Dallas media. “Let him know that what he’s doing is a great thing and can only benefit him and the Cowboys alike. I’m a realist, man. Don’t get caught up in, ‘We love you.’ Get caught up in, ‘I’ve got a second chance. Do I love myself?’ That’s who you’ve got to love.

“If you love and respect yourself, then the Cowboys are going to benefit. If you don’t love and respect yourself, the first person that’s going down is you. For the Cowboys, you’re just another story. Unfortunately, it can be a sad story. Or it can be a great story.” Read the rest of this entry »

Rangers listen to offers, stand pat at deadline

By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

The non-waiver trade deadline came and went Thursday afternoon without any late activity from the Texas Rangers.

The two most-mentioned players — right fielder Alex Rios and left-handed reliever Neal Cotts — were the subject of trade talks, but nothing of substance occurred to force a deal.

“We exchanged proposals with a couple of clubs, but it just didn’t line up,” GM Jon Daniels said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday afternoon. “Ultimately that’s Ok, we kinda come into it knowing a few things we were open to trying to do, especially where clubs are calling us. We had establish a level of value we wanted or we would just hold our guys. We didn’t reach that so we’re happy keeping the players we were asked about. We checked in on a few other things, controllable starting pitching primarily. The deal wasn’t there and that’s OK too.”

The only trades the Rangers made this month were sending reliever Jason Frasor (July 16) to Kansas City and Joakim Soria (July 23) to Detroit for some young pitchers who can make an impact down the line.

Boston left-hander Andrew Miller was considered the best reliever on the market, and he was traded to Baltimore. With Miller off the market, it probably affected any potential deals for Cotts, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesday’s victory over the Yankees. Read the rest of this entry »

Reimold powers Toronto past Houston 6-5

Nolan Reimold found out he was starting right before batting practice Thursday night. He made the most of the chance to play.

Reimold hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking solo shot in the ninth, and the streaking Toronto Blue Jays rallied for a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros.

Reimold was claimed off waivers on July 6 after he was designated for assignment by Baltimore. It was just his fifth start with Toronto.

Manager John Gibbons said the Blue Jays got Reimold and Danny Valencia for a reason. Valencia, who was acquired in a trade with Kansas City on Monday, had two hits.

“They’ve both played in the big leagues and had some success and they’re both going to help us out,” Gibbons said.

Reimold’s first homer came in the fifth and cut Houston’s lead to 4-3. His second homer of the season was off Chad Qualls (1-3) and sent Toronto to its ninth win in 10 games.

It was Reimold’s second career multihomer game and first since May 26, 2011.

“I was trying to be aggressive,” Qualls said. “I just wanted to be really aggressive with the fastball to get ahead. He ambushed it and hit it over the fence.” Read the rest of this entry »

Josh Brent aims to return to NFL

By Adam Schefter | ESPN

Former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent will meet with commissioner Roger Goodell by the end of next week, if not sooner, in an effort to gain re-entry to the NFL, according to his agent Peter Schaffer.

Brent was released from a Dallas addiction rehabilitation facility Tuesday.

Brent retired prior to the 2013 season and prior to the trial that convicted him of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash that killed his friend and Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown Jr.

“There are a lot of bridges that had to be crossed to get to this point and there still are bridges that have to be crossed now,” Schaffer said.

“But I do believe he is a much mature and aware individual. He’ll be a better player and person. He’ll be playing with a sense of purpose for Jerry’s family, and people will see he deserves a second chance.”

Schaffer said there were multiple requirements for Brent to get to this point. He had to spend close to 45 days at the Enter Health Facility in the Dallas area, where Brent built up a support system that still is helping rehabilitate him.

Brent also went to the Brown family to get their blessing on resuming his NFL career, and Schaffer said they happily extended it. Brent officially filed for reinstatement Tuesday.

Now Brent needs Goodell to be comfortable reinstating him, and the Cowboys must determine whether they want to bring him back to their roster. There is no timetable for when Goodell will make a decision.

Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who has been consistent in his support of Brent, said he did not want to “look presumptuous” by stating an intention to re-sign the defensive tackle before the commissioner makes a ruling.

However, Jones has made it clear the Cowboys would seriously consider giving Brent a chance to resume his football career, a stance Jones reiterated Wednesday.

“He has played at a level before that would help us, yes, and obviously we’re trying to build this defensive line,” Jones said. “I know that one thing for sure, he is contrite, and I know he feels one of the best ways to pay his debt to what he feels to the family is to do what he does the best and that is be a football player. He’s got it to do, but talking with him, there is a lot of resolve there.”

Jones has said he believes Brent deserves another chance to play in the NFL, whether it’s with the Cowboys or another team. Jones added Wednesday that a story of Brent’s redemption could serve as an example for others.

“I think that the pluses are that he’s had an experience and been through something that will make or break his life,” Jones said. “There’s a whole bunch of where he goes from here relative to what he’s been through. He can be a great example. There’s no place like the NFL to rehab your credibility or show that you are contrite.

“It’s a great opportunity for him under the circumstances to have made the mistake that he made to do some real good, help a lot of people and basically leave a better taste in people’s mouths about Josh Brent.”

Information from ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon was used in this report.

Holland strikes out four in rehab start

By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

ARLNGTON, Texas — Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland is moving closer to a return to the majors following microfracture surgery on his left knee after he pitched two innings for Double-A Frisco against Midland on Wednesday night.

Holland did not give up a run, struck out four and walked two in the 33-pitch outing.

It was Holland’s first appearance in a game since Sept. 28, 2013 when he earned a victory over the Los Angeles Angles. Holland finished the 2013 season on a two-game win streak and had a 10-9 mark with a 3.42 ERA overall.

He was projected as the No. 2 starter behind Yu Darvish coming into the 2014 season. But Holland suffered a freak accident in his home when he tripped over his dog on the stairs, which caused the injury.

Holland has done numerous bullpen sessions after the surgery yet his inability to field his position smoothly has given the Rangers pause from putting him in a live game.

Holland, who will wear a knee brace, is hopeful for a return to the Rangers’ rotation in the last two months of the season.

The next rehab appearance for Holland hasn’t been determined.

Update: Holland, who said his knee felt “great” could pitch again on Monday. Frisco is off that day but Triple-A Round Rock has a double-header Monday.

“I think it was just trying to get out there and get into the swing of things,” Holland said. “Very excited a lot of adrenalin flowing but the main thing is I want to execute my pitches. I felt like overall, a couple of bad walks but for the most part, I’m feeling really good about being out there.”

Stephen Jones: ‘Working hard’ on Dez deal

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

OXNARD, Calif. – Left tackle Tyron Smith’s $110 million contract extension has no impact on the Dallas Cowboys’ negotiations with Dez Bryant.

The Cowboys have long hoped to reach long-term extensions with their two premier young talents before their rookie deals for Smith and Bryant expire after this season. They are halfway there after Smith signed to become the highest-paid left tackle in the league.

The Cowboys consider it a matter of when, not if, they lock up Bryant to a long-term deal.

“It wouldn’t have surprised me if Dez would have gotten done first,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “We’re working hard to do something with Dez. We’re totally committed to make Dez a Cowboy for life as well. Certainly in our plans from Day 1 when we started figuring out our cap this year was to figure out a way to get Dez and Tyron extended.”

Sources told ESPNDallas.com that Bryant and the Cowboys were not close to a deal when the team reported to training camp last week. Jones declined to say Wednesday whether he thought the team could reach a deal with Bryant, who is due to make $1.78 million this season, before the beginning of the regular season.

“I don’t guess on when things get done. I’m positive about it, but I don’t guess when things might get done.”

Jones said it was “fair” for Smith to ask to be the league’s highest-paid left tackle. That’s what it took to sign Smith this summer.

Bryant believes he deserves to be ranked among the top five highest-paid receivers, putting him in the $12 million per year range, which would be the cost of using the franchise tag to keep him next season. Jones declined comment when asked if that was a fair request, citing a policy to not comment on negotiations until they’re done.

“It feels good to know that things are being talked about, but I’m going to let it take care of itself,” Bryant told ESPNDallas.com last week. “I feel like as long as I take care of business on that field, the rest will be taken care of.”

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