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Voluntary practices over for Cowboys, but attendance is likely the same for mandatory minicamp

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The Cowboys will embark on a mandatory session of practices on Tuesday - the annual minicamp.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday will mark the beginning of the Dallas Cowboys mandatory schedule with the opening of a three-day minicamp. For the past month, the Cowboys have held three OTA sessions that were three days each. These sessions are important, especially with the Cowboys trying to install a new offensive approach under Kellen Moore. But these sessions were all voluntary. Still, the Cowboys had a very good record of attendance.

As noted by the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys had some absences for specific reasons, like Jaylon Smith working on graduating from Notre Dame, but otherwise the Cowboys had almost everybody there. Sean Lee sums up the Cowboys buy in.

“We understand you have to start building your team at this time of year, the shared sacrifice, the hard work,’’ linebacker Sean Lee said. “You build your bonds right now through the hard work and through that sacrifice.

”We have a lot of guys who love being around each other and feel if they weren’t here they’d be letting each other down. We love competing every day, we love coming in, and I think that group if someone is gone they kind of feel, ‘hey, I need to get there and get with my teammates.’’’

There’s also a very practical reason for players to be there, at least most of them. Fear of losing ground against the next guy up who is trying to take your job.

“If you’re not here, you’re going to get left behind,’’ Lee said. “That’s been the feeling.

”We have so many guys who love to compete and so many guys who are ready to hold people accountable.”

Now it’s mandatory, but there will still be some guys who won’t be present. Old friend K.D. talks about some of the absences due to injury in this article.

DE DeMarcus Lawrence headlines the list, as he’s missing while recovering from shoulder surgery. Taco Charlton, his backup, is recovering from his second offseason surgery, this on his ankle to follow up his shoulder surgery.

NT Antwaun Woods has his own shoulder ailment, as that is the 2019 version of Cowboys’ hamstrings. Also on defense, young phenom Leighton Vander Esch is dealing with a pelvic injury and didn’t do practice during the final week of OTAs. Will he take part in minicamp or will they continue to be cautious?

On offense, the shoulder woes continue as right tackle La’el Collins had offseason surgery and isn’t expected back until training camp. Most of the world has been focused on Travis Frederick’s recovery from his auto-immune disease, but his quietly under-the-radar shoulder surgery is what will keep him out until camp as well.

WR Tavon Austin was mentioned by coach Garrett as being injured, but further clarification has been hard to come by.

The DMN also notes that Allen Hurns, Connor McGovern and Chidobe Awuzie have injury issues that could affect how much they participate in minicamp.

The three-day session coming up is the last big item on the schedule until training camp begins on Saturday, July 27th.