One of the top five questions for the Cowboys as they open their 2019 training camp Thursday is what can two veterans, Travis Frederick and Jason Witten, bring to the team on their return.
Frederick is recovering from a disease that could have easily ended his NFL career. We noticed early in last season’s training camp that Frederick was often beaten off the line by rookies, something abnormal to see for a four-time Pro Bowler and a three-time All-Pro. Soon enough, Frederick revealed he was dealing with numbness in his extremities and a lack of energy. The Cowboys center was then tested and diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder in which the immune system attacks the body's nervous system. He began treatments last August but eventually missed all of last season. Without their anchor on offense, the Cowboys finished ranked 29th in the league for touchdowns in the red zone.
This year, there’s good news. After bringing him back slowly during organized team activities, the Cowboys have activated Frederick on their training camp roster, according to NFL.com. That means this training camp is Frederick's first chance to work out in full pads since his diagnosis. This will be the true test of his recovery.
Additionally, long-time Cowboys veteran tight end Jason Witten is back on the roster after spending only one year in retirement and in the broadcast booth. The question now is what he can bring to the Cowboys offense at 37 years of age. Enthusiasm will not be an issue. Witten played with a ruptured spleen in a preseason game and still made the season opener in 2012. He also explained that his reasoning for leaving Monday Night Football was that he still had the burning desire to compete.
In his storied 15-year career, Witten never reached the NFC Championship game, much less the Super Bowl. With both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott improving each season, the 11-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer is hoping to break through this season. Perhaps he can help a young core take Dallas back to the “promised land” for the first time since 1996.