With training camp now underway, it's inevitable the injury bug would come a-calling. For the Dallas Cowboys, it arrived on the first day of padded practice. Gerald McCoy, one of the All-Pro defensive linemen who signed with the club in free agency, went down on Monday. An MRI was done on McCoy's leg Monday afternoon and it's the worst-case scenario: McCoy has suffered a torn quadricep in his right leg, the team announced, and will undergo season-ending surgery. He will now head to injured reserve, and it's not yet determined how the team will utilize his vacated seat on the roster (but here's their likely plan).
McCoy wrote a letter to Cowboys fans after learning his fate.
"Just want the fans to know I truly appreciate the warm welcome and I'm sorry this happened," McCoy wrote, via ESPN's Ed Werder. "I was really looking forward to this amazing opportunity we have in front of us.
"I will remain the mentor I am to the young guys and do my part to make sure that this team goes where it needs to. ... There is a lot of pain and heartache taking place right now that all our attention needs to go towards whether it is the pandemic or our fight for social justice. …In retrospect, what I'm dealing with is minimal compared to that."
McCoy joined the Cowboys on a three-year deal worth $18.3 million, a financial nod to how Mike McCarthy plans to utilize him in 2020, which is to say quite a bit. For his part, the six-time Pro Bowl pass rusher is looking forward to just that, noting how his final year with the Carolina Panthers left him starved for snaps.
"I have never rotated as much as I did last year in Carolina," McCoy admitted, not long after agreeing to terms with the Cowboys in March. "That's not what I was used to. I can play all game if I have to. ... I'm an every down guy.
"That hasn't changed, and I don't plan on it changing this year."
It's seemingly a perfect situation for McCoy in Dallas, and for several reasons. The first being the fact he's set to be awarded major playing time as both a starter and cornerstone piece of an almost completely revamped defensive front, but he's also a huge fan of McCarthy.
"I've always been a big fan of coach McCarthy," McCoy also noted in March. "Had an opportunity to play for him at the Pro Bowl. Told him then how much of a big fan I was of him. My dad is a big fan of McCarthy."
The feeling is certainly mutual, with McCarthy praising his new pass rusher at the outset of training camp.
"He's a perennial Pro Bowler," said the Cowboys head coach in a press conference just ahead of Monday's padded practice. "Can't say enough about the shape he's in and just the the energy that he brings to our defensive front. I've had an opportunity to be with Gerald on probably too many Pro Bowls ... He's a great fit for us.
"We look for him to be a force inside."
That will now have to wait until 2021.