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There's a carousel of veteran quarterbacks funneling in and out of the building as the Dallas Cowboys attempt to identify their definitive backup for the 2021 season, with all questions regarding their starter now in the rearview. In March, the club was finally able to secure Dak Prescott to a longterm deal, signing him to a historic four-year contract worth $160 million that can escalate to $164 million if he leads them to multiple Super Bowls. And that's certainly his plan, but it begins with his health -- as he works to return to the field from a season-ending ankle fracture suffered in Week 5 of the 2020 season against the New York Giants.

He's since undergone the mandatory initial surgery to repair the damage and a subsequent voluntary procedure on the ankle to strengthen it, the latter having sped up his recovery and put him on pace to be available for the start of Cowboys OTAs. As reported in February by CBS Sports, Prescott was off of his crutches and rapidly approaching 100 percent, and sources stated in mid-May that the two-time Pro Bowler achieved that goal several weeks ago -- something Prescott himself now confirms publicly.

"I'm doing well," he said in an interview with Sage Steele of ESPN. "A lot of adversity, but to be sitting here now with a healthy leg and a happy heart, I'm excited. When I got hurt, I said I wasn't going to let anyone put a time on it, because I'm a competitive guy, and I knew once I heard the [4-6 month timeframe] I was going to try to beat that, but I also knew I didn't have to be ready until fall."

All told, he did beat the initial prognosis and not only is Prescott doing well, but if the Cowboys had to play in an actual game ahead of June -- he'd be the starter.

"I'm right on pace," he added. "I'm healthy if we had to play a game now, I could go out there and be very successful. Start the game, finish the game and not even worry about the leg."

All of this said, the approach to his return will remain measured by the Cowboys medical staff. Prescott will participate in OTAs and to a large degree but, as noted by head coach Mike McCarthy, they have no need to fully remove the reigns just yet; and so they won't.

"I think he'll do most things," McCarthy told media of the Cowboys' blueprint for Prescott in upcoming OTAs and minicamp. "There's a plan in place that is coordinated with [trainers Britt Brown and Jim Maurer] in the training room. But I know he feels really good. He's had some excellent workouts here in the past couple weeks. 

"I see him doing most of the work."

A healthy Prescott is paramount to the Cowboys offense returning to its prolific ways, having again been ranked No. 1 in the league before he went down with injury. The 27-year-old was also on pace to obliterate the single-season passing record held by Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, a potency the team couldn't come close to duplicating with a merry-go-round of backups that included Andy Dalton. There continue to be no concerns regarding Prescott's health going forward, from neither him nor the organization, and his previous durability helps frame the overall picture on the former fourth-overall pick turned franchise QB. 

After all, prior to his injury in 2020, Prescott hadn't missed a single start -- or even a single practice -- since joining the Cowboys in 2016 for what became a record-setting rookie season. He's looking forward to starting that ironman streak again in 2021, and nothing indicates he'll be unable to.