Michael Irvin gave Jerry Jones confidence in Dak Prescott’s rehab, return

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Jerry Jones had no special information about the new TV deal before signing Dak Prescott to a megadeal. He apparently also had no special information about the quarterback’s recovery from an ankle injury.

The Cowboys owner handed Prescott a four-year, $160 million contract, confident the former fourth-round choice can return as good as old.

“We compared his rehab with a guy that I thought was legendary as far as how he handled his rehab when he was first injured, and that was Michael Irvin,” Jones told Jori Epstein of USA Today. “Michael Irvin had the most conscientious work-hard at that time that most that were around his rehab said, ‘I’ve never seen anyone rehab to that degree, work that hard, be that conscientious.’ We compared how Dak works on his rehab with how Michael had done it.

“[Dak’s] history in dealing with injuries is very good — very, very good. That has as much to do with anything as to how he rehabs and how conscientious he is in rehab.”

Prescott started the first 72 games of his career, including the postseason, before a compound dislocation and fracture of his right ankle in Week 5 last season.

Prescott, 27, underwent immediate surgery Oct. 11 and required a second surgery in December to strengthen the ankle. Prescott said March 10 that he would “be ready when it matters, and I’ll be more than healthy and better than I was before.”

Jones obviously is convinced, having invested the team’s future in Prescott’s health.

“What, though, was the case actually almost from his initial coming out of surgery was that this was going to be one he could recover (from) and recover to the level of play he’d been used to in that time,” Jones said. “So I felt pretty good.”

Irvin returned from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in 1989, his second season, to play 10 more seasons and earn a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The receiver told Jones the injury made him a “better player.”

“Because it made him realize what he was missing if he didn’t get to play,” Jones said. “So it just reinforced his determination to overcome anything (and) he certainly continued to improve.

“Let’s have the mindset that’s going to happen to Dak.”

Prescott was leading the league in passing yards when his season ended. The two-time Pro Bowler finished his fifth season with 1,856 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions in five games.