Cowboys’ Mincey back at practice after brief holdout

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) – Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jeremy Mincey didn’t stay away from training camp long in his effort to get a reworked contract.

The team’s sack leader last season ended a brief holdout and worked on the side Sunday at practice after missing the first three days of camp, including the first padded practice. Mincey showed up Saturday night.

The 31-year-old Mincey reached an agreement that boosts his contract this year to $2 million, a $500,000 increase that essentially replaces a playing-time bonus he barely missed out on last season.

While Mincey also wanted to add years to his deal, that’s unlikely to happen until after the season. He could have been fined $30,000 for each day he missed, but the Cowboys agreed to waive it.

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“Everything worked out,” said Mincey, who only ran a few sprints but said he planned to be in pads Tuesday when the Cowboys return to practice. “I don’t want much out of life. I don’t ask much out of life. All I ask is for my respect as a man, enough to take care of my family. That’s all it was.”

Mincey, who had six sacks in the regular season and two more in the playoffs, brought stability and leadership to an improving Dallas defense. The Cowboys made room on the 90-man camp roster by waiving linebacker Justin Jackson a day after he tore a knee ligament. Mincey was activated from the reserve/did not report list.

“It’s good to have him here,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We’ll ease him in to practice. But we’re excited to have him here at training camp.”

Mincey came to Dallas after spending the last few weeks of the 2013 season and playing in the Super Bowl with Denver. But he ended up with the Broncos only after Jacksonville decided to get rid of Mincey in the middle of a four-year, $20 million contract. He was forced to miss a game at Houston in 2013 after being late for a team meeting.

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“Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get the results,” Mincey said. “I was willing to take the backlash and ridicule. I was willing to take it all for my family. I’m glad it all worked out.”

Mincey’s career started in 2006 on the practice squad in San Francisco, and he spent a year away from football early in his career with the Jaguars. But two years later, in 2011, he had his best season as a pro, earning his big contract with career highs in tackles (101) and sacks (eight).

Last season, Mincey had 28 tackles and also led Dallas in quarterback pressures with 39.

“He’s physically tough and plays hard,” Garrett said. “We played hard, we played tough, we ran to the ball. I think Mince was a big part of that, establishing that identity, that toughness, that relentlessness.”

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Mincey’s role is more of a question this season because the Cowboys picked defensive ends in the second round of the past two drafts and signed an established pass rusher in Greg Hardy in free agency. Hardy faces a four-game suspension to start the season for his role in a domestic violence case.

Hardy and DeMarcus Lawrence, the second-round pick in 2014, have been running with the first team in early camp practices. Randy Gregory, this year’s second-round pick, is running with the second team.

“It’s always great to have a lot of talent around you,” Mincey said. “I’m only one man. And I’m glad we’ve got many men now.”