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Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy shoots down notion of team signing QB Cam Newton

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FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys held their first regular-season practice Thursday at the Star.

Four quarterbacks jogged out onto the sunny practice fields at 12:04 p.m. local time.

Cam Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, was not among them. Nor will he be in the imminent future, head coach Mike McCarthy intimated.

“To sit here and talk about any of the players not on our roster, I don’t think there’s really anything that’s beneficial that comes out of that for us,” McCarthy said Thursday morning of Newton, a free agent after the Patriots released him Tuesday. “But Cam, I’ve had a chance to compete against Cam, chance to watch some of his tape in New England.

“I still think he has a ton of football left. But we’re very excited about the group that we have.”

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FILE - New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) is shown during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J., in this Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, file photo.
FILE - New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) is shown during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants in East Rutherford, N.J., in this Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, file photo.

Dak Prescott leads the position room, fifth-year veteran Cooper Rush the front-runner to back him up. The Cowboys claimed 2019 third-rounder Will Grier off waivers Wednesday. The team also re-signed 2020 seventh-rounder Ben DiNucci to its practice squad after releasing him ahead of Tuesday’s 53-man roster deadline.

Grier spent the last two seasons with Carolina. He started two games as a rookie, completing 53.8% of pass attempts and throwing four interceptions to no touchdowns in a pair of losses. Newton most recently started 15 games for the Patriots in 2020, completed 65.8% of his passes for 2,657 yards and eight touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Newton added 592 yards and 12 touchdowns by ground.

Coaching staff familiarity helped Grier’s case in Dallas.

“Going through the quarterback position, Will, we thought was the best prospect out there,” McCarthy said of Grier. “Obviously remember him when he came out of West Virginia. (Quarterbacks coach) Doug (Nussmeier) actually coached him at Florida for a year. So (we) had a chance to study him when he was at Carolina two years ago and felt like through the personnel department and coaching staff, we had really good information on him and thought he’d be a great fit for us.”

Grier met individually with Nussmeier on Wednesday to acclimate to the offense, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore running the quarterbacks meeting in Nussmeier’s place. McCarthy said the biggest learning curve will come in language, ensuring Grier can master protection adjustments, checks and progression reads.

“He needs to get his cadence in line with Dak’s just to make sure we have a rhythm and continuity there at the line of scrimmage,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy dismissed the notion that the acquisition of Grier put Rush on notice.

“I don’t look at it as a message to Cooper,” he said. “I think it’s just a message to continue to be competitive and improve your roster. Once again, I think any time you add someone from the outside it brings competition.

“Competition is good. Conflict is good.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cam Newton: Cowboys' Mike McCarthy shoots down notion of signing QB