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Cowboys’ McCarthy to undergo appendix surgery

  • Todd Archer, ESPN Staff WriterDec 6, 2023, 12:21 PM ET


      Todd Archer is an NFL reporter at ESPN and covers the Dallas Cowboys. Archer has covered the NFL since 1997 and Dallas since 2003. He joined ESPN in 2010. You can follow him on Twitter at @toddarcher.

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy underwent successful surgery Wednesday — five days before the biggest game of the regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles — after being diagnosed with an acute case of appendicitis, the team said.

McCarthy experienced abdominal pain Wednesday morning before seeing the team’s medical staff. He had the procedure, is expected to be released from the hospital later Wednesday and anticipates coaching Sunday.

“You really think that tough Irishman is going to miss this game?” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said Wednesday. “We’re certainly anticipating Mike being back for the game. We’ll hold it down for practices. Knowing him, he’ll be online tonight wanting to go through red zone and third down and everything else. We expect him to be rocking by game day.”

Quinn and fellow coordinators Brian Schottenheimer and John Fassel will run practice while McCarthy, who turned 60 last month, recuperates. His absence complicates the process since he is the offensive playcaller, but he does designate duties to Schottenheimer and the other offensive coaches.

The Cowboys are first in points per game (32.3) and fifth in yards per game (380.4) with McCarthy calling plays. He has a 164-100-2 career regular-season record and is the fifth-winningest active coach.

In 2021, McCarthy missed a game at New Orleans after testing positive for COVID-19, and Quinn took over head-coaching duties.

“What’s good about Mike and the system here is it’s all laid out about how we go and what we would do from yesterday, today, all the way through the game and the meetings and schedules,” Quinn said. “So pretty easy in that one. You just take it and run with it. Between myself and Brian and Bones, we’ve got it covered and we’re ready to go today, expect a great practice just like it’s been set up to do. We’re ready to go do that.”

Players were informed as to why McCarthy was absent before the morning walkthrough after he was not at the morning team meeting. Quinn said he arrived at The Star at the same time as McCarthy and the head coach told him he wasn’t feeling well.

“As tough as he is, like, ‘I’ll fight through it,’ and then next thing you know, you’re like, ‘This is not good,'” Quinn said. “Glad he went, got squared away. Good news for him, he’s a fast healer.”

McCarthy’s absence did not impact how players practiced.

“Absolutely not,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said. “I feel like Mike has built a great structure around here for us to continue to keep up the pieces and keep going. I feel like it was no stress, no struggle to the day. I feel like we did a great job of adjusting and making sure we were on time and locked in. We understand what comes with this weekend. A big rivalry game. We know the Eagles are coming into town. We’re locked in, ready to have fun.”

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore said the players want to win even more for McCarthy now.

“For sure, because I know he wants to be here. I know he wouldn’t want to miss — especially this week — practices, meeting time,” Gilmore said. “I know he will get back as fast as he can but also hope he’s healing up quick.”

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