Dak Prescott is feeling really, really good as the calendar speeds through May on its way to June, and it's not simply because his wallet is exponentially heavier. It's no secret the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback suffered a season-ending fractured ankle in 2020 -- subsequently undergoing a voluntary second procedure to strengthen it beyond where it was pre-injury -- but some began speculating earlier this offseason that he may have suffered a setback of some sort. That could not have been further from the truth, however, given the details of his second surgery.
For while it's not been a flawless recovery, it's not only maintained constant forward momentum, but that momentum has kept him ahead of schedule as the team readies to take the next step in his pre-designed ramp-up plan. As first reported by CBS Sports in late February and again in early March, Prescott was already off of his crutches and running during his daily workouts, and he and the Cowboys have since released videos to show he's good to go -- while being deliberate in holding him back from a complete green light until necessary.
With the first round of OTAs set to begin on May 25 and mandatory minicamp to open on June 8, all eyes are on Prescott to see if he'll be ready but, by all accounts, he already is.
"I think he'll do most things," head coach Mike McCarthy told media of the Cowboys' blueprint for Prescott during OTAs. "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."
Sources tell CBS Sports Prescott is already able to do all of the work and has been for several weeks now, so the slight scale back is, again, deliberate on the part of the Cowboys training staff to give them an opportunity to assess him post-practice(s) before fully unleashing him. This means that, barring any unforeseen issue, he's expected to be a go for training camp when it opens in July -- with zero limitations. It's something the Cowboys are already planning for, as noted by team exec Stephen Jones ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
"Where we sit right now, we couldn't be happier [about Dak's progress]," said Jones. "He's done an amazing job. ... He's making a tremendous amount of progress. We believe he'll be 110% ready to go."
So ready and excited is Prescott to return to the field that he's already started the task of coaching up the incoming class of rookies and, in particular, fifth-round pick Simi Fehoko. One of only three offensive picks made by the Cowboys, and the only receiver, Fehoko is raw but the turbo-driven wideout brings an intriguing set of skills to the table -- so much so that it not only prompted Prescott to reach out to him as leader of the locker room following the pick, but also with a heads up as to what the 27-year-old expects of the team's offense this coming season.
"I've seen him around," Fehoko said of Prescott from rookie minicamp. "Obviously, he texted me a couple minutes after I got drafted, telling me to get ready to work and we're about to go light up the league and all of that. And then I've seen him in the locker room here and there. He's a cool guy.
"Down to earth. Super humble. Obviously, he's a ballplayer, too."
For the second consecutive season, Prescott and the Cowboys owned the No. 1 offense in the NFL prior to his injury in Week 5 against the New York Giants. He was on pace to shatter the single-season passing mark set by Peyton Manning (5,477 yards) and Dallas was a shell of itself after losing him, muddling through several quarterbacks before finally finding some sort of progress in December before ultimately imploding in a must-win against the very same Giants in Week 17 with Andy Dalton at the helm.
A return of Prescott instantly reignites lofty goals for the unit, and with Fehoko being an added weapon in attempting to recover their paused swagger. Needless to say, that's mostly predicated upon the health of Prescott as the defense works feverishly to restructure and rebuild under Dan Quinn and attempt to finally match serve.
And, for Prescott's part, he couldn't me more clear in where he currently stands physically.
"I thought about jogging out here and jumping up on stage, but I don't know if you all are ready for that," Prescott said in the press conference following the signing of his historic four-year deal. "I'm healthy. I obviously haven't talked to [media], and I thank you all for the support. I thank the Cowboys nation and everyone out there who was praying for me -- sent their condolences -- that's a feeling that I will never be able to put into words: to be in a hospital bed, not knowing really what is going to happen, just coming out of surgery and getting all of that support from family, from coaches, from former coaches from teammates and the Cowboys nation and even a lot of you.
"I'm just so thankful for that, but I'm healthy."
And apparently ready to turn the lights back on in Dallas, while trying to turn them out everywhere else.