IRVING, Texas -- Phil Costa just can't get a break.
The Cowboys center was the projected starter last season, but back problems slowed his progress in training camp. He somehow got healthy enough to get ready for the regular season, but lasted just one series in the opener before his back gave out.
Then once he returned, Costa suffered a severe ankle injury that eventually led to surgery to repair ligament damage, ending his season.
And, of course, the Cowboys drafted center Travis Frederick in the first round, moving Costa to the second team.
But Costa is still around, fighting for his roster spot, which at this stage of the offseason seems secure.
"I think it's a team game, whatever is best for the team," Costa said. "It's about winning games. I always have a competitive mindset, what's best for the team and the o-line and us winning games around here."
Costa praised Frederick's offseason work, saying he's picked up the offense and has good technique, and coach Jason Garrett said he's got no plans to move the rookie off the center spot. Garrett did say Frederick is getting some work at guard off to the side, but it's clear where the Cowboys want to go with this.
Costa is finally healthy and hopes if he continues to play well once training camp starts, then maybe he'll get a shot to start again.
"I'm healthy right now. It's nice to go through OTAs," Costa said. "We weren't sure when I originally had the surgery if I would be able to go through OTAs and minicamp. But rehab went well and I was 100 percent for everything when I started OTAs."