Shoulder keeps Dan Connor out, too

IRVING, Texas -- Inside linebacker Bruce Carter has been able to get all of the first-team snaps with the Cowboys’ defense during the organized team activities in part because free-agent pickup Dan Connor is not cleared to practice because of offseason shoulder surgery.

Connor, who signed a two-year deal with the Cowboys in March, had surgery after last season ended in Carolina. He will be ready to go when training camp begins on July 30 in Oxnard, Calif.

Connor is one of five players coming off shoulder surgeries, a group which includes cornerback Mike Jenkins, running back Felix Jones, safety Barry Church and linebacker Alex Albright.

Church is the only one cleared to take part in the OTAs and split the first-team strong safety duties with Brodney Pool. Jenkins, Jones and Albright are all expected to be ready for training camp.

Connor’s absence will give Carter more practice time. Last summer Carter, a second-round pick in 2011, missed training camp and the first six regular-season games while coming back from knee surgery. He played mostly a special teams role for the final 10 games. He had eight special teams stops and one on defense to go with a pass deflection.

Nose tackle Jay Ratliff is not taking part in the OTAs yet because of a foot injury, while guard/center Kevin Kowalski and offensive tackle Jermey Parnell are slowed by ankle and hamstring injuries, respectively.