Akwasi Owusu-Ansah finally practices

SAN ANTONIO – Fourth-round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah put on a pair of shoulder pads for the first time as a pro.

Owusu-Ansah practiced for the first time Wednesday, coming off the physically unable to perform list five months after he had surgery on his shoulder.

“I finally feel like a Cowboy now,” said Owusu-Ansah, a free safety and kick return candidate who will not play in the Hall of Fame Game.

Owusu-Ansah impressed as a kick returner in the early portion of practice. He displayed the 4.32 speed and elusiveness that allowed him to return seven kicks and punts for touchdowns during his career at Division II Indiana (Pa.).

The 6-foot, 208-pound Owusu-Ansah didn’t make any plays during limited reps at free safety, but he didn’t make any mental mistakes, either.

“That shows he’s been paying attention and is a pretty smart guy,” said Wade Phillips, who added that Owusu-Ansah did make some minor technical errors such as not lining up wide enough on one play.

Owusu-Ansah is a project who isn’t expected to see playing time in the secondary as a rookie. Phillips has said that Owusu-Ansah will need time to make the dramatic jump in competition from Division II to the NFL. Owusu-Ansah thinks the most difficult part will be the mental adjustment to playing in a much more complicated scheme.

“Everybody is fast and physical and great athletes,” Owusu-Ansah said. “The smarter I am on the field, the better football player I’ll be.”