Jason Garrett: Andre Gurode on short list of available centers

OXNARD, Calif. – With the Cowboys’ top three centers sidelined by injuries, head coach Jason Garrett said former Pro Bowler Andre Gurode is among the available options at that position the Cowboys might consider signing.

“He’s on the short list,” Garrett said. “A big thing for all these guys who haven’t been playing is, what have they been doing? You’re always trying to do your due diligence on that to make sure that you’ve got a guy who comes in (ready to play).”

The team has not decided whether to bring in any centers for a workout, much less sign a player at that position. That decision could be influenced by the results of Saturday’s MRI on starter Phil Costa’s sore back.

Garrett said the Cowboys are optimistic that Costa, who replaced Gurode when the Cowboys released the five-time Pro Bowler before last season, will be able to return to practice next week.

Gurode spent last season with the Baltimore Ravens, primarily as a reserve, after the Cowboys released him at the end of preseason. Gurode, who started 122 games in nine seasons with the Cowboys, surprised the Cowboys by undergoing summer knee surgery during the lockout, making it difficult for him to prepare for training camp.

Even if Costa’s injury is not serious, depth at center is a significant concern for the Cowboys. Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski, the two centers who could have potentially challenged Costa during training camp, are out indefinitely with ankle injuries. Garrett said Nagy will visit a foot and ankle specialist next week and will probably have to undergo surgery.

David Arkin, a fourth-round draft pick as a guard last year, is expected to start at center in Monday night’s preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. Arkin, who had no center experience before last week, has struggled with the quarterback-center exchange, especially on shotgun snaps.

“This is a really important thing,” Garrett said. “We get it. We preach the ball (security) thing to our team on a daily basis. Typically, you don’t have (three) centers on your team go down in a span of a couple of weeks, so we’re just trying to make the next best decision.”