By Brent Shirley, McClatchy Newspapers –
IRVING, Texas — Dez Bryant said he’s trying to establish good work habits not only to help him be a better receiver, but also because he is an example to the younger receivers.
“I feel like I’m leading by doing my work, playing hard, trying to take every rep, doing every rep at full speed 100 percent of the time,” he said. “I feel like by me doing that, the younger guys are seeing it.”
Bryant, sitting on the ground at his locker looking relaxed, chatted with reporters for 17 minutes after the team’s off-season practice session Wednesday.
“I just feel like I’m stepping up, doing my job, being accountable, making sure that I’m doing the right things so the people that are under me can do the right things,” he said. “So you can say, somewhat of a leader.”
Bryant, who never was 100 percent after injuring his thigh in the 2011 season opener, made 63 catches for 928 yards and nine touchdowns. He heard owner Jerry Jones’ comments last week questioning what kind of shape Bryant was in last season.
Bryant is benefitting from an off-season with strength coach Mike Woicik. He said he has dropped his body fat to 3.1 percent.
“I feel like now, I’m still not at my best, but it’s way better than last year and I feel like I’m still progressing,” Bryant said.
While No. 21 was still missing at Wednesday’s voluntary practice, the Cowboys expect cornerback Mike Jenkins to report next week for the mandatory minicamp.
“He will be here,” cornerback Orlando Scandrick said.
Jenkins, who has been in Florida rehabbing from shoulder surgery, requested a trade after the Cowboys signed free agent Brandon Carr and drafted Morris Claiborne in the first round.
“We anticipate seeing him back here next week,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s not missing any on-the-field work by being in Florida. He’s getting his rehab done down there. 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; we think that’s a missed opportunity for him.”
Jenkins, who is in the final year of his contract, is not expected to be healthy enough to practice until training camp.
ANTS IN VICKERS’ PANTS
Fullback Lawrence Vickers ran off the field during Wednesday’s practice with a serious problem — ants in his pants.
“I was blocking someone,” he said. “Then, I walk off, and I’m like, ‘Oh snap.’ And I pulled my pants down to see, and I saw ants.”
Vickers, who is allergic to ant bites, washed off and took Benadryl before returning. Vickers carries a medicated epi-pen for emergencies but didn’t want to use it because it makes him drowsy.
Safety Gerald Sensabaugh missed practice with a sore knee.
Rookie wide receiver Danny Coale, who is recovering from foot surgery, said he expects to be out of his walking boot in seven to 10 days.