Davis installed as Cowboys' starting right guard

Updated: June 8, 2007, 5:45 PM ET
Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Leonard Davis believes he's finally back where he belongs.

Not just in his native Texas -- where he returned this offseason after signing a seven-year, $49 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys -- but also at the guard position.

Davis played guard and tackle while starting all 91 of his games in Arizona, but where the 6-foot-6, 366-pound lineman would play in Dallas wasn't clear until guard Marco Rivera was cut Thursday. The minicamp practices Friday were Davis' first with as the undisputed starter there.

"I feel like I'm better at guard," said Davis, who played both guard and tackle in six seasons with Arizona. "At tackle in the pass set you might have a guy three to five yards outside you, but at guard you've still got to be quick because the guys right there in front of me. I'm really using my size and strength at either position."

Davis' versatility was part of the attraction for the Cowboys, who gave him a team-record $16 million signing bonus. They also liked his strength, coach Wade Phillips said, referencing Davis' rescue of a horse last month in Arizona.

"He's a strong man," he said. "I don't know that he needed that tractor to pull the horse out of the mud."

Davis said he's ready for a fresh start back in his home state. He grew up in Wortham, about 80 miles south of Dallas, and was an All-American at the University of Texas. Arizona drafted him with the second pick of the 2001 draft, but he never did develop into the dominating Pro Bowl-level player so many envisioned.

"I feel good about being back here with my family," he said. "Instead of coming out to one or two games a year, they can come to every home game."

He said his parents, a sister, two uncles and a cousin can drive to Texas Stadium in an hour and 10 minutes.

Davis is also ready to be back with a winning organization. The Cowboys made the playoff last season and have a rich postseason history. The Cardinals have had one winning season since 1985.

"It really wasn't the history and tradition that was frustrating there," Davis said. "I played at Texas where we expected to win. When we walked out on the field in Arizona, not everybody was thinking, 'I'm going to beat this guy.' "

He said he already has seen a difference in attitude with the Cowboys.

"Everybody here knows what they can do, and we're working real hard towards that," he said.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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