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FRISCO, Texas -- To quote a catchphrase of Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, the NFL makes exceptions for its superstars. 

That's certainly the case with edge rusher Micah Parsons, who has earned three All-Pro selections (two on the first team), in three NFL seasons. He is one of only five players -- three of whom are Hall of Famers (Reggie White, Derrick Thomas and Dwight Freeney) -- to record 40 or more sacks (40.5 for Parsons), within his first three NFL seasons. Parsons was the 2023 season leader in quarterback pressures (103), quarterback pressure rate (21.8%) and pass-rush win rate (35.3%), which is where a pass rusher defeats his block in less than 2.5 seconds. 

Despite the organized team activities portion of the offseason technically being voluntary, in the NFL, the practices are really "voluntary." Even quarterback Dak Prescott, who is in search of a new long-term deal as he enters a contract year in 2024, ensured he is in the building for OTAs. Parsons, who is back in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex after a whirlwind offseason in Asia promoting the game of football, has not shown up for OTAs, opting to utilize boxing training in the area to improve his pass-rush handwork, according to the Dallas Morning News

"Micah's here in town. He's been in and out," McCarthy said at OTAs on Wednesday. "He's obviously had some unique travel opportunities. He was here Friday. Spent a lot of time with him on Friday. He actually looks great. He's in excellent shape. So I know what he's been doing, where he's been doing it, so forth."

Parsons competed with sumo wrestlers in Japan a few weeks ago as part of trip the trip to grow football in the Eastern Hemisphere with Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud.  A week ago, new Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer joked, "He could have done that with me probably."  

However, McCarthy maintained Dallas' defensive engine isn't falling behind despite missing the opportunity to be with his teammates while Zimmer implements a new defensive scheme from the one the team ran the last three years under Dan Quinn, who is now the head coach of the Washington Commanders

"So obviously, hell, he went all the way to Tokyo to work out," McCarthy said. "So yeah, he's fully getting ready physically but he's been having one-on-one meetings as far as within the structure of our operation here in the offseason program. So he hasn't missed anything as far as what's been installed."  

McCarthy anticipates Parsons will return to the team facility for the second week of OTAs with his participation even more likely for mandatory minicamp in June. 

"Yes, I think there's going to be some time we'll have him here next week," McCarthy said.