OXNARD - All-Pro defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has opened training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list, giving him time to continue rehabbing from April shoulder surgery. He's still involved in Dallas Cowboys work here in Oxnard, of course. But PUP does offer him just a little bit of time to stop and smell the roses.
Or, in his particular case, to stop his Bentley alongside an Oxnard road to buy some blueberries.
"I don't know what you're talking about,'' he said playfully when I asked Tank to confirm what my 105.3 The Fan teammate RJ Choppy swore he saw at the start of camp. ... and then he decided to play along with a prank on Choppy, doing a bit with me ordering RJ to "Stay out of another man's blueberries.''
The word play, of course, was a spin on the "contract advice'' he gave to reporters when we asked him about Ezekiel Elliott's holdout, with him responding, "Don't ask about another man's business.''
Ah, but blueberries! Healthy foods are helpful as Lawrence prepares to be a part of a defensive line he believes will "bring the smoke'' once all of the pieces are in place.
“I have a date in mind when I’m going to be ready, and that’s the season opener,” Lawrence said.
Meanwhile, his days in Oxnard remain occupied.
“Just day-to-day, working my lower body and my upper body strength and getting after it,” Lawrence said. “It’s my sixth year, so I kind of have a feel for what I need to do to be prepared for the season, and I’m going with it.”
Lawrence knows his body, and frankly, he could probably participate on the field well before the NFL regular season opener. Meanwhile, he also knows the playbook and the game plan, having mastered the intellectual part of the sport, too. So there is wisdom in taking care.
“It ain’t no rush, (so) what you rushing for?” Tank said.
Lawrence acknowledges that the need for reps is real, even for a performer of his stature. But while he and fellow D-line veteran Tyrone Crawford spend some time on PUP (Crawford figures to be a short-termer there), they contribute as they can.
“I’ve had my injuries throughout my career, and you have to learn patience over time,'' Tank said. "That’s what I had to learn with (being a parent of) kids, also. So it’s easier to be patient when you’re still in it. It’d be different if I had to stay home or not be around the guys – that’s totally different. But I’m here, and I can focus up in the classroom and sit down and study with them.”
And, at least once, go shopping for blueberries in his Bentley. ... Or, not - as maybe we should stay out of another man's blueberries.