By CBSDFW.com Staff

OXNARD, Calif. (CBSDFW.COM) – The 2021 regular season is just around the corner as the Dallas Cowboys opened up training camp last week in Oxnard, California — one year after being forced to hold camp back home in Frisco.

Owner Jerry Jones said he’s been emotional since arriving at training camp due to the excitement of returning to Oxnard.

“I have been emotional the last couple of days… it’s joyful emotion. When we couldn’t come last year, it made coming back… I was just so proud of everybody for pulling it off,” Jones said.

Jones spoke to CBS 11 Sports about the return of quarterback Dak Prescott as he comes off a gruesome ankle injury during the 2020 season and the outlook of the team heading into the new season.

The Cowboys owner had nothing but praise for the quarterback who signed a four-year, $160 million contract in March. Jones was asked about what makes Prescott, 27, a leader within the locker room.

“I think it’s his natural way of causing people around him to step up and be better than they could have been had he not been around. I think he causes that to happen,” Jones said.

“Now, you can’t do that unless *you* do that. And I’ve seen Dak Prescott improve so much from the first time that he was here at training camp,” he added.

Jones made the comparison between Prescott and Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin in terms of their leadership.

“Michael Irvin… drew the best out of everybody. Most would say we couldn’t have our success with not only Troy [Aikman] or Emmitt [Smith] but Michael Irvin as well. Dak Prescott has that. He has the ability to make us all better,” Jones said.

After going 6-10 in 2020 during head coach Mike McCarthy’s first year as coach, there are high expectations for the Cowboys in 2021, and Jones said he believes the team can meet those expectations, if healthy.

“Healthy, our team together and with the talent that we have on our defensive team, we should be a contender,” he said. “I remember last year before our injuries… Mike McCarthy and I sat down and he said this is as good or better talent than any place I’ve coached. That was last year.”

“There’s a lot work and a lot of talented teams to play out here. But being here in this great weather and camp sure gives us a chance to pull it out of them,” he added.

The Cowboys will be in Oxnard before heading to Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Aug. 5.

Watch the full interview with Jerry Jones in the video player above.

CBSDFW.com Staff