Cowboys' McCarthy sidelined for rookie camp by back procedure

FRISCO, Texas -- Mike McCarthy's in-person introduction to the Dallas Cowboys' rookie class has had to wait because of a back procedure performed last week.

McCarthy has been taking part in meetings virtually as the Cowboys opened the rookie camp on Thursday. The only on-field portion of the minicamp was Saturday and was for a little more than an hour. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones briefly talked to the players before the practice.

Special teams coordinator John Fassel brought the players together at the end of the session.

"It's easy because Mike is always so clear and, 'hey, this is what we're going to do,' so we had a real vision for what we wanted to get accomplished this weekend with these guys," defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. "It's mainly just taking those first steps and I think Mike would agree let's not miss one step of their development and see what we have and how we communicate and testing them and seeing where we are at. And then we'll begin with Mike and everybody else here this week of merging everybody together. So if there was a time to miss for him, there's never a time he would feel comfortable but we all know we got his back and we'll get him back soon."

The rookies and veterans will work together for the first time Monday in Phase 2 of the offseason program. Organized team activities start in two weeks.

The return of McCarthy, who has been dealing with back issues for some time, is not clear but he's not expected to have a long absence.

"He's been on Zoom calls with us, third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown said. "We know what he's going through and that he's going to be back soon. He's definitely been there, welcomed us like we were a vet."

Quinn served as the Cowboys' head coach in 2020, beating the New Orleans Saints, when McCarthy missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19.