|Jones is healthy but out of shape. (US PRESSWIRE)|
Back before the NFL became a 12-month-a-year affair, players would routinely report to training camp expressly to get in shape for the regular season. Those days are long gone, and now anytime someone shows up in late July in something other than peak physical condition, it becomes news.
Which brings us to Cowboys running back Felix Jones. The 2008 first-round pick failed his conditioning test Sunday, and he wasn't alone: wide receiver Andre Holmes and safety Brodney Pool joined Jones, who according to DallasCowboys.com's Josh Ellis, took his shoes off and quit running before he completed the series of sprints that comprise the test. Pool blamed back tightness while Holmes offered no excuses for his substandard performance.
"Whenever you fail in something, you're going to question," Holmes said via Ellis. "Go back to school. If you fail a test, you're going to question if you studied hard enough. So, I'm going to be questioning, but I'm just trying to put it behind me so I can be ready when I'm out there . . . training camp's a marathon, so there's going to be a lot of opportunities for me."
Coach Jason Garrett said the three players will work with team trainers until they're able to pass the test.
"We would anticipate all of our players being able to pass the conditioning test," he said. "Right now they're going to do some remedial running. They did that this morning during the walkthrough. They'll do it again this afternoon and we'll just monitor their progress on a day-to-day basis."
Garrett wasn't interested in discussing the specifics of why the three players came up short.
"I don't want to get into the reasons why any of those guys were not able to do it. The fact is, they didn't do it," he said Monday via NFL.com. "We need to make sure they are physically ready to practice the way we want to practice before we put them out there."
The particulars of the test (courtesy of NFL.com's Ian Rapoport): "Middle sized guys including running backs have to run 50 yards in seven seconds. Receivers and defensive backs have to run 60 yards in eight seconds. The players have to (run) two sets of 10 with rest in between."
Jones, who is coming off shoulder surgery, enters the 2012 season as the likely backup to DeMarco Murray. In 2011, Jones started eight games and rushed for 575 yards on 127 carries, including a lone touchdown. Murray, by comparison, started seven games and rushed for 897 yards on 164 carries, with two scores.
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