Center Rotation Excludes Returning Starter Chad Peters DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer June 5, 2004, 6:53 p.m. (CDT) After starting 16 games at center last year for the Cowboys, fourth-year veteran Matt Lehr suddenly finds himself at a new position. "We're going to move Matt Lehr out of that position to guard, at least temporarily," head coach Bill Parcells said. "I know that Lehr is there, and I can always put him back (at center), but I'm going to play Lehr at guard this year." Lehr has played guard previously for the Cowboys, moving back and forth between guard and center during his brief professional career. Parcells knows what he has in Lehr at center, but is looking for improved play at the position this season. With Lehr back at guard, the Cowboys will instead go with a three-man rotation throughout the mini-camps and training camp at center, using Gennaro DiNapoli, Al Johnson and Tyson Walter until one of the players entrenches themselves in the starting role. Johnson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during training camp last year, just days after being moved into the starting lineup, is healthy again and able to fully participate in all the drills. "I've been able to run on it and do everything I need to," Johnson said of his knee, which required unique microfracture surgery in August. "The only thing I can do now is practice and see how it feels. But I'm confident that I can come back (to full strength)." The injury has left Johnson's mind on more than just football. "I'm really not even worried about the playing time, or starting, or anything like that," Johnson said. "Right now, I'm just thinking about my knee and trying to get it back to 100 percent. It feels good right now, but you never know until you get out there and play on it for a while." DiNapoli, a seven-year veteran who signed with the Cowboys during training camp last summer after being released by the Tennessee Titans, had a chance to start a year ago but found the transition to his new team difficult to handle. While he never started, he did rotate the first seven games with Lehr, before his injury. "Last year was a difficult year, and then I got hurt," said DiNapoli, who was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain on Oct. 29."It was probably the worst year I've had playing. This year I'm going to go into it full-steam ahead." DiNapoli is in better shape than he was a year ago after participating in the off-season conditioning program with the Cowboys this spring. He also said he has a much greater grasp of the offensive system now that he has a year of experience under this coaching staff. "It's leaps and bounds," DiNapoli said in reference to the difference between this year and last. "I don't think I came into camp in good shape last year and that always hurts. Things didn't work out with my former team and I was kind of depressed at the time. I have a whole new outlook now and am just really focused." Walter started eight games at center during his rookie season in 2002, but was moved to tackle and guard last year, where he received little playing time. "It's a new year and (Parcells) said at the end of last season after the playoff game that nothing stays the same," Walter said about his move back to center. "It's always nice to have an opportunity to get in there and show what you can do." An opportunity that Lehr, the returning starter at center, will likely not receive at the position.