Holland Thrilled by Second Chance

When he was cut Sept. 5, it would have been easy for Montrae Holland to react negatively — to pout, to feel sorry for himself or even to blast the Dallas Cowboys.

Being turned loose by a team in need of help on the offensive line wasn't exactly good news for the veteran guard, but while he didn't agree with the team's decision, he said he understood it.

"Don't burn bridges," Holland said when asked what he learned from the experience. "It's a business. You can't take it personal."

Holland didn't burn bridges, he didn't pout and he didn't blast his former employers. When rookie guard Bill Nagy went down for the year with a broken ankle in Sunday's loss to the New England Patriots, Holland got a call to come back to the Cowboys (who also signed former Texas Tech guard Daniel Loper).

"I'm not a guy who (holds) grudges," Holland said. "I take this as an opportunity to help this team."

Holland said that the relationships forged during his three years with the team made it a little easier to keep tabs on the team while he was unemployed.

"I still watched the Cowboys," he said. "I still had friends who were on the team, and I wanted them to do well."

The team's decision to part ways with Holland at the end of training camp was based on a number of factors:

• The team was committed to a youth movement on the offensive line, with rookies Nagy, Tyron Smith and Kevin Kowalski and second-year center/guard Phil Costa making the roster.

• Holland was limited in training camp by back and hamstring injuries.

• It wasn't discussed publicly, but there was concern about Holland's conditioning.

Garrett said Holland's fitness is not an issue now.

"Montrae did a nice job when he worked out for us (Tuesday)," Garrett said. "He had a hamstring that bothered him in the preseason, but that's (OK now), and his weight is fine — he did some running (while he was away from the team)."

Holland said he feels good physically, and that injuries and his conditioning should not be a cause for concern.

"I feel fine," he said, laughing, when asked about his health. "I practiced, and I wasn't gasping for air or anything. If they thought I was too heavy … In camp I was about 340; now I'm closer to 330."

More than anything, Holland said he is simply grateful to have another chance.

"Second chances are great," Holland said. "It's a blessing — I'm happy to be back.

"I am already familiar with the playbook, so now it's just a matter of getting back into it. Hopefully I'll have a chance to step right in."

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