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Terence Newman returns from groin injury

ARLINGTON -- Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman made his 2011 debut on Monday night against the Washington Redskins, after missing the first two games with a groin injury.

Newman did leave the game briefly, he was being checked for a concussion, but did return.

"I'm alive," Newman said when asked about his health.

On the field, Newman had one pass breakup that was a near interception. He almost picked off a low Rex Grossman pass near the Cowboys' sideline, but the referees said the ball hit the ground. It appeared Newman grabbed the ball but the bottom of the ball grazed the turf.

"I left the field [because] I thought it was a pick," said Newman, who is one of the longest tenured Cowboys on the roster. "It was one of those things that was bang-bang. I thought I caught it, [but] what DB wouldn't say they caught it? Obviously they ruled it incomplete."

With Newman out for two weeks, it allowed the Cowboys to start Orlando Scandrick in his place. When Scandrick went down with a high ankle sprain in the Week 1 loss to the New York Jets, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had to mix and match. He started Alan Ball in place of Scandrick in the Week 2 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. But when Newman returned this week, he moved right into the starting lineup.

In training camp, Newman was getting a comfort level with the new defensive scheme, yet he hadn't played any games due to the injury. He had to take mental reps and hoped, when he returned to the field, everything would be OK.

"I love this defense," Newman said. "It helps put us in position to make checks on what the offense is doing. If they're in a certain formation, we're obviously going to check our defense to what they're going to do. It's complicated, but once you get it down, skies the limit."

Newman said this is one of the more complex defensive schemes he's dealt with since coming into the league in 2003.

"It's not super complicated," he said. "It's just by formations and motions there's something going on. Every time it happens, it makes it different. You see the ins and and outs when you play it right."