IRVING, Texas -- Before he was surrounded by at least 20 reporters (seriously) following an organized team activities session at Valley Ranch, Cowboys inside linebacker Keith Brooking spoke at length with the NFC East blog on Monday. Brooking is four weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery to clean out some cartilage in his left knee, so the Cowboys have kept him on the sideline.
BrookingHe vowed to participate in next month's mandatory minicamp (June 11-13) even if his coaches try to talk him out of it, but he's not stressing about missing OTAs.
"If this surgery had happened during the season, I would've been on the field two weeks ago," Brooking told me. "But I've had my fair share of OTAs. The most important thing is for me to be ready in September."
Brooking is a 13-year veteran, so it didn't really bother him that the Cowboys drafted his eventual replacement, Sean Lee, in the second round of last month's draft. In fact, he's spent a lot of time tutoring Lee during and after practice sessions. He said that Lee reminds him of himself when he first came out of Georgia Tech.
"To play linebacker, you have to go from slow to fast a lot of the time," said Brooking. "[Lee] wants to go fast all the time. He just needs to slow down a little bit. But I was just like that. I wanted to get everywhere in a split second."
About that time, center Andre Gurode walked past and told Brooking that the offensive line had made it a point to target Lee in practice. Apparently he's a little too high-strung for this time of the year, although I didn't see any coaches telling him to back off.
Last year's third-round pick, Jason Williams, was working at Brooking's spot Monday, but there's a thought that Lee will quickly surpass him. According to scouts I've spoken with, Williams made too many mental errors in training camp last season to warrant serious playing time. He's looked a lot better so far in OTAs, but you can't really tell anything until the players put on pads.
In other news, I had a good conversation with part-time kicking consultant Chris Boniol. I'll get back to you later this afternoon with his thoughts on David Buehler.