Cedric Thornton looks to make a strong first impression

IRVING, Texas -- Cedric Thornton has wanted to make a strong first impression on his new Dallas Cowboys teammates.

After signing his four-year, $17 million deal as a free agent, Thornton has been an almost daily visitor to the Valley Ranch weight room and practice fields.

“All work and no kind of play time,” Thornton said. “But I’m pretty much enjoying it, getting to know the guys and working out with the guys.”

The Cowboys knew of Thornton and he knew of the Cowboys from having played against them for four years with the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s interesting that the players he works out with most in the 7:30 a.m. group are the offensive linemen that he has gone against the most: Doug Free, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and La'el Collins.

“Just to get here and know the routine the guys got going on, just to get a feel, being around the players, it lets the other players know that you’re all in,” Thornton said. “I’ve been here like three weeks now, going on four, so I’m definitely getting in shape. I like the Dallas weather besides the allergies and the humid climate. It’s pretty good.”

Thornton will make a position switch of sorts moving from an end in the Eagles’ 3-4 scheme to a tackle in the Cowboys’ 4-3 look. He played the spot as a rookie and does not expect a lot of time to learn on the job.

In fact, he has a philosophy that meshes with what defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli likes best. What’s the best part of his game?

“I would say it’s defeating the man in front of me, that’s the best part of my game,” Thornton said. “It’s a mentality. And being physically and being aggressive. I’ve got a nice get off, a first step. Leverage. Very strong at the point of attack. Just being a football player. They’re going to allow me to be that here in Dallas and I’m excited to see what happens.”

A smile came across Thornton’s face when Marinelli’s name was mentioned last week.

“You can’t tell too much about him off the field,” he said. “I’m just ready to see him in action on the field. Very energetic coach. Leon Lett (is) a very energetic coach too. The potential says a whole lot. It says I can be great. I’m just trying to put the work in to be a better and better player.”