Missing time leads to missed opportunity for Micah Parsons

Micah Parsons skipped the Cowboys' voluntary offseason program for the second year in a row. Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire

FRISCO, Texas -- After Micah Parsons' rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2021, coach Mike McCarthy said Parsons' next challenge as a great player would be to bring other players along with him.

Parsons has missed the early parts of the voluntary offseason program the last two years, choosing to work out on his own. He was at The Star on Wednesday to go through required content for in-game and broadcast elements that will run during the season, but he did not go through on-field drills.

"I think anytime you have a chance to be together, it's an opportunity to improve, whether it's in the mental realm, the physical realm, which is limited obviously this time of year, and the emotional connection and so forth," McCarthy said. "But, you know, it's a long year. Training camp is really the heightened focus for all of that. But yeah it's definitely an opportunity that's been missed."

After the Cowboys' season ended with a wild-card loss to the Green Bay Packers, Parsons said on his podcast that he wanted to change the culture and bring more leadership.

Asked if Parsons would practice Thursday, McCarthy mentioned a quote uttered years ago by former linebacker Darren Hambrick, "What do voluntary mean?"

McCarthy said Parsons has been around the facility more than people know and that he is in good shape. He has had one-on-one meetings with coaches when learning the changes that new coordinator Mike Zimmer will bring to the defense.

"He's engaged," McCarthy said. "He'll be ready when it's time."

The Cowboys have their mandatory minicamp next week. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb has not been around during the offseason as he awaits a long-term contract extension, but McCarthy said "98% of the team has been around 100% of the time."

McCarthy has been in communication with players who have missed time during the voluntary program for whatever the reason. The Cowboys leave for training camp in Oxnard, California, on July 23.

"Everybody has a responsibility whether they're here or not to get what they need because when we hit Oxnard, that's our one opportunity for real football," McCarthy said. "That's the way we approach it, so, yeah, I have confidence that everybody's going to be ready to go when we get there."