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The return of Dak Prescott has been set.
And it will be a grand, although challenging beginning in 2021.
The Dallas Cowboys and Prescott will officially open the season on the road against Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Buccaneers in the NFL season kickoff on prime time on Thursday, Sept. 9, on NBC.
The NFL will announce its complete schedule for 2021 at 7 p.m. but the Week 1 games were revealed Wednesday morning.
Prescott, who signed a four-year, $160 million contract as the Cowboys’ franchise quarterback in March, missed the final 11 games of 2020 with a compound fracture and dislocation in his right ankle.
He has undergone two surgeries and is well ahead of schedule in his rehab. He said last week that he could play in a game now, if necessary.
Prescott will be ready to go for the start of training camp and could make his debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday, Aug. 5, exactly five weeks prior to their start of the regular season. It will be the first of four preseason games for the Cowboys.
But Prescott’s official return will come against the Buccaneers in the NFL’s season opener to begin a schedule that also features a road game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the two-time defending AFC champs and winner of Super Bowl LIV in 2020.
For the record, the Cowboys are 0-5 all-time against Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion, dating back to his time with the New England Patriots, where he won his first six Vince Lombardi Trophies.
The NFL had previously announced it was moving to a 17-game regular-season schedule, and the Cowboys will open the era with a ninth road game.
In addition to the Buccaneers and the Chiefs, the Cowboys remaining road schedule will include games at the Patriots, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings.
The Cowboys’ home games will be against the the Giants, Eagles, Washington, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders.
Dates and times for the NFL’s complete 2021 season will be announced Wednesday evening.