THREE LITTLE (JUICED) BEARS: Former Cowboys Joe DeCamillis, Martellus Bennett, and Jay Ratliff content being out of Hollywood atmosphere
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — While complimentary overall of the Dallas Cowboys, three former members of the organization now with the Chicago Bears considered the atmosphere there “Hollywood” compared to their current locale.
Martellus Bennett said everything in Chicago is based on football, and there’s a different type of chemistry.
Bears special teams coach and assistant head coach Joe DeCamillis spent four years with the Cowboys (2009-12) and said “there can’t be two different spectrums.” Two more former Cowboys — Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff and tight end Martellus Bennett — agreed as the teams prepare to face each other Monday night at Soldier Field.
Asked about the biggest difference between the Bears and Cowboys, Ratliff didn’t hesitate.
“Football, first-class organization,” he said of the Bears. “Just to put it bluntly, and it’s not a shot — if they take it like that, so be it. Here, it is all about football. You can really just focus on your craft. Focus on what it is you do. And no matter what’s going on, you never forget what you’re here for. That’s a good thing.”
A four-time Pro-Bowler, Ratliff was picked by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of the 2005 draft, but he was released by the club on Oct. 13 and signed by the Bears on Nov. 2. Ratliff made his Bears debut Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, participating in 23 snaps, and his workload will increase Monday night against his former team.
Ratliff said earlier in the week that Monday’s matchup is “just another game,” but that isn’t the case for DeCamillis.
“I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s like Ratliff and say it’s like any other game,” DeCamillis said. “Anytime you leave some place you always have a little bit more juice going back against them.”
As for the differences between the Bears and Cowboys organizations, DeCamillis said “there, it’s a lot different from the standpoint of just the things that go on. It’s a little bit more like Hollywood, and here it’s a little bit more, probably a little tamer. But they’re both great organizations, and both have had a lot of storied tradition and championships. That’s the main thing.”
A second-round pick of Dallas in 2008, Bennett spent his tenure with the Cowboys as a backup before leaving in 2011 to take a free-agent deal with the New York Giants. Coming off a breakout season in 2012, in which he caught 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns, Bennett signed with the Bears in free agency.
Bennett is currently on pace to better those marks, and apparently Chicago’s atmosphere is more conducive for him to do it.
“I mean, I’m a Hollywood person. I would agree with [DeCamillis and Ratliff],” Bennett said. “Since I’ve been born, I’ve been meant to be on Disney. But they don’t really like to take too many kids from the ‘hood and put them on Disney nowadays. But for the most part, it’s different. Everything here is based on football, and [there's] just a different type of chemistry with this team. Everybody is just about football all the time. We have our relationships and we have fun; there’s not really any cliques or anything. It’s just a bunch of guys who come together every week, play football, and tell jokes.”
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: NFL fans can select their top 15 candidates to make it as 2014 HOF finalists
The list of 126 nominees has been trimmed to 25 modern-era semifinalists and it includes a former Dallas Cowboys head coach that won two Super Bowls and the key defensive player who helped him get there.
Johnson, who replaced Tom Landry as Dallas Cowboys head coach in 1989, spent five years in Dallas and guided the team to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993.
Johnson left coaching after that season, only to return in 1996 for a four-year run in Miami.
Charles Haley is the only player with five Super Bowl rings, winning two with the 49ers, where he played from 1986-91 and three in Dallas.
Haley joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and is often considered the last key ingredient to those Super Bowl winning teams that included the “Triplets” on offense with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
Other first-year nominees include Marvin Harrison and Steve Wisniewski, who was actually a Cowboys’ second-round pick in 1989 but was traded to Oakland for more picks, including one used to draft Daryl Johnston just 10 selections later.
Here’s the complete list of modern-era semifinalists is as follows:
Morten Andersen, K – 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings
Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets
Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Derrick Brooks, LB – 1995-2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Dallas area)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Tony Dungy, Coach – 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts
Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Marvin Harrison, WR – 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts
Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins
Walter Jones, – T – 1997-2008 Seattle Seahawks
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos
Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Will Shields, G – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
Michael Strahan, DE – 1993-2007 New York Giants
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
Steve Wisniewski, G – 1989-2001 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders
George Young, Contributor – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are:
- Ray Guy – Punter (1973-86 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders)
- Claude Humphrey – Defensive end (1968-78 Falcons, 1979-81 Eagles)
The one-year contract the Chicago Bears signed defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff to this week includes no guaranteed money or incentives.
His $840,000 annual salary is the minimum for a player with eight accrued NFL seasons. However, it counts only $395,294 against the salary cap because payments are divided by the 17 weeks of the regular season, and there are only eight weeks remaining.
Ratliff, who now prefers to be called Jeremiah instead of Jay, as he was known for his eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, did not practice this week. However, he attended last Friday’s session and had his helmet with him.
“It will be a week-to-week evaluation, or really day-to-day within each and every week,” coach Marc Trestman said. “We’ll see where he is next week when we come back to practice.”
PERPLEXED IN THE METROPLEX: Jerry Jones frustrated because teammates could have used a healthy Jay Ratliff
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was cordial when initially asked about defensive tackle Jay Ratliff signing with the Chicago Bears two weeks after being cut by the Cowboys because he was too injured to play this season.
“We wish him the best,” Jones said on his radio show on KRLD-FM. “Sounds like we could be playing him when we meet the Bears.”
The Dallas Cowboys face the Bears Dec. 9 in Chicago. It appears that Ratliff will be ready to go by then after telling the Bears he needs a couple of weeks to get ready.
That he will be ready at all is what’s perplexing to Jones and the Cowboy after Ratliff missed all of training camp and the preseason recovering from a sports hernia surgery that his representatives said was much more serious than reported.
Ratliff was placed on the physically unable to perform list for the first six weeks of the season. And when he still wasn’t ready to return and gave the Cowboys the understanding that he would not be ready to play at all this season, he was released.
Ratliff was cleared to play by his surgeon a week later and began soliciting offers from other teams, culminating with his signing with the Bears.
Jones chaffed when asked if he was fooled and misled by Ratliff.
“No one fooled anybody here,” Jones said. “We thought we had a good clear understanding of his injuries and what he thought about them. He was very articulate about that. It’s very unfortunate. We could use a healthy Jay Ratliff. His teammates could use a healthy Jay Ratliff. We were counting on him from the get go. It’s ironic we would end up playing him. That’s frustrating.”
WHAT: Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4) WHEN: Sunday, Noon (CST)
WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas TELEVISION: Fox
The Dallas Cowboys fifth home game of the 2013 season will feature the reigning NFL MVP in Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson.
While the Cowboys will be looking to get back over .500 with a win tomorrow, there will be several festivities taking place long before the kickoff, which is scheduled for Noon. (Don’t forget to set the clocks back for Daylight Savings).
Here are some things to look for:
New Style Lounge
This Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys are hosting the NFL’s style lounge on the Ackermann platform near the escalators on the 400 level. This pop-up store will feature a variety of fashion and accessories, targeted the female football fan.
This year’s lounge is sponsored by Covergirl, who will provide complimentary fanicures, featuring team-nail art.
Other items at the lounge include a wide range of products such as hand bags, glitzed-out watches and affordable vintage style t-shirts and chic jewelry.
Did You Know:
- The roof and the doors are expected to be open for this game. Please note that this can change up to 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
- Dr Pepper is pleased to provide Dallas Cowboys Bandanas to the first 50,000 fans to the game.
- Dallas Cowboys Alumni will be signing autographs in the club areas one hour prior to kickoff.
- Main Club Home : Preston Pearson
- Main Club Visitors : Walt Garrison
- Silver Club Home : Pettis Norman
- Silver Club Visitors : John Gesek
On the Plazas
Other forms of entertainment will abound at Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium on Sunday.
- On the West Plaza around 11: 25 a.m., the Cowboys are giving away a free Harley Davidson motorcycle to one fan. Three lucky contestants will get the keys, but only one will get to drive away with their new ride.
- Also on the West Plaza at 11 a.m., the Air Force will conduct an enlistment ceremony.
- Former tight end Billy Joe DuPree will be the featured guest for the alumni interview.
- The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will split their squad in half for pregame performances on both the East and West Plazas at 10:35 a.m.
- Rhythm & Blues Dance Team, Rhythm & Blues Drum Line and Rhythm & Blues Break Boys will each perform on both East & West plaza before the game.
- There will also be a free Kids Zone, complete with mechanical bull, rock climbing wall and zip line. There will also be NFL Play 60 games, face painting and balloon animals.
- There will also be giveaways like official game-used merchandise, CD’s, and much more on each stage in the plazas for games like Karaoke Contest, Ladder Golf, Bag Toss and Dance Contest
- There will also be Plaza food and beverage discounts1: $2 12oz. soda & bottled water $5 12oz. Miller beer, as well as discounted hot dogs, burgers and sausages.
- Trumpeter Freddie Jones will once again perform the national anthem Sunday, as he is scheduled to do for every home game this fall. Jones’ instrumental anthem was wildly popular at the Dallas Cowboys’ season opener.
- During the anthem, a full-field American flag will be presented by the US Army 470th Military Intelligence Brigade, ROTC cadets and personnel from the Wounded Warrior Project.
- Sunday’s halftime show will feature a Dr. Pepper Tuition Toss, where two lucky fans have a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship. And in honor of Military Night, Dr. Pepper will match this donation for two military representatives as well.
Looking For 20
All season long, Dallas Cowboys fans attending home games will be hoping for at least 20 points. This year, Papa John’s has partnered with the Cowboys for the ultimate fan promotion. Any game in which the Cowboys get at least 20 points, all fans in attendance will get 50 percent off their entire order the following day at papajohns.com with promo code COWBOYS20. Offer valid for regular-priced menu items and only at participating stores.
New Bag Policy
Fans are reminded to remember the NFL’s new bag policy, which will be in effect at every Cowboys home game this season.
Only hand-held purses will be allowed into the stadium, along with clear plastic tote bags that do not exceed 12”x6”x12” inches.
Items such as backpacks, coolers, large purses, camera bags, diaper bags, fanny packs and seat cushions are not allowed into the stadium under the new NFL safety rules.
Traffic & Parking:
- It’s recommended to use the Dallas Cowboys interactive parking site for all travels to AT&T Stadium. This website provides the best routes from point of origin to the pre-purchased or selected cash parking lot.
COWBOYS VS. VIKINGS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson still after Emmitt Smith’s NFL record
Adrian Peterson is on Emmitt Smith’s pace. Peterson has 9,420 yards seven games into his seventh season. Smith had 9,488 to this point.
But Peterson would have to play five-plus seasons after this one, averaging the 1,475 he has averaged per season in his career, to break Smith’s all-time rushing record of 18,355.
Peterson, a Palestine and Oklahoma product, thinks it’ll be sooner than that. He predicted last summer that he would become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher in Week 16 of 2017.
He stuck by that prediction in the conference call with Dallas media today.
“I definitely have to keep my game up to par.. and that record can be broken,” Peterson said. “But I’m not focusing on that. I set goals, and I just go out and play and if happens, it happens and if doesn’t, it doesn’t. I don’t harp on it.”
Peterson, 28, nearly set the single-season rushing record last season with 2,097 yards. He is behind that pace this year with 571 yards.
“Coming off last year, MVP, 2,000 yards, guys are coming in to stop the run, and this is how they’ve always played the Vikings for the past seven years — come in and stop the run,” Peterson said, “definitely with a more emphasis on it now. So you’re going to have those. Then again, you’re going to have the opportunity to break the long one, too. I just take them when it comes.”
Here’s the math:
He would need to rack up 8,936 yards over the next 73 games to break Smith’s record. That comes to an average of 122.4 yards a game. Peterson currently averages 98.1 yards a game for his career.
Know The Enemy: Adrian Peterson (3:12)
Film break down on Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. (Watch Video)
Jay Ratliff left the building only a week before his No. 90 and his locker went to another defensive tackle. Marvin Austin has taken over both after the Dallas Cowboys signed him Tuesday.
Austin spent two seasons with the Giants after they made him a second-round pick in 2011. He spent two games with the Dolphins this season before his release Oct. 15.
“It’s definitely a new beginning and a lot to build on,” Austin said.
Austin, listed at 6 foot 2, 312 pounds, still was pouring with sweat a half hour after practice. He admits he is not in football shape.
“Not good enough,” Austin said. “To be honest with you just the way they practice and the way they want you to go out there and play, I’ve got to keep working every day to get in shape to go out there and perform.”
Austin hopes defensive line coach Rod Marinelli can work the same magic with him as Marinelli has with several no names along the defensive line.
“His record speaks for itself and coach [Monte] Kiffin also,” Austin said. “The way that those guys coach, and the success they’ve had in this league, I have no excuses.”
THERE IS a great Christmas song that proclaims, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” While I love the season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day because people are actually nice to each other and concentrate on things that are most important – family and friends – it is not the most wonderful time of the year!
That’s actually October, if you are a sports fan.
There is a plethora of football to watch, both college and pro. The baseball playoffs are in full swing, culminating with the World Series and all its tension and excitement. Hockey season has begun in earnest and the NBA launches at the end of the month.
To cite one example of how great October can be, consider if you lived in Boston. Last Sunday was a day you would never forget – unbelievable comebacks by the Patriots and Red Sox in big games. Yes, October is the most wonderful time of the year – the only month all four major sports are going on at the same time.
This year, October is even more special because tomorrow the Eagles play the Cowboys at home with first place in the NFC East at stake. Good god, I hate those Cowboys!
On Wednesday, I was on the train coming back from New York and I was sitting with my cousin Steven, a brilliant psychiatrist, his aide, Marguerite, and two rambunctious women named Sarah and Jennifer. We had a great time as they helped me create the “Top 10 Reasons I Hate the Cowboys.” Though they were my reasons, the crew helped me put them in descending order. It was great fun and I strongly recommend you do it with your friends. We share many of the same reasons, but ranking them as to which make you hate the ‘Boys the most is a hoot.
So here’s my Top 10:
10. The Star - What unbelievable conceit to make a star the symbol of your team and paint it right smack in the middle of the field. How did that star look at the end of the pickle-juice game (the 2000 season opener when the Eagles consumed pickle juice to combat dehydration from the 109-degree game-time temperature and beat the hosts, 41-14)?
9. Jimmy Johnson’s hair – Gelled and lacquered into a steel-like, immovable ‘do, and harder than those obnoxious Cowboy helmets. (I must admit to a tad of envy here.)
8. Cowboy (or AT&T) Stadium - A gaudy, incredibly extravagant mausoleum to Jerry Jones’ ego. Hey, Jerry, with Texas having the highest percentage of people without healthcare coverage of any state in the nation, couldn’t you have thought of a better use for your money?
7. Troy Aikman on TV - This ex-Cowboys QB has never gotten over the physical and scoreboard beating administered to him by the Buddy Ryan-led Birds. He takes it out on the Eagles every chance he gets with his slanted, hateful anti-Eagles commentary.
6. The “Don’t Mess With Texas” attitude - Everything is bigger and better in the Lone Star state, or so they think. Rick Perry as governor? Not so much. Cowboy Stadium is a great example of this. One thing that’s for sure: Everything is more arrogant in Texas, especially if it has anything to do with this football team!
5. Conceited, cocky, arrogant stars, past and present - Michael Irvin, Neon Deion, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant: I can’t stand any of them. (Jason Witten is an exception, but he should have been an Eagle. Remember, we picked L.J. Smith in the draft when Jason was still available.)
4. No cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels or Tastykakes are sold at Cowboy Stadium - Hard to believe, but true. I went to see the Birds play in Dallas once and sat in Ross Perot’s box. There was white wine, caviar, smoked salmon, Brie and crudités served with nary a soft pretzel to be found. They wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in the 700 level at the Vet!
3. Jimmy Johnson’s favorite phrase, “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” - I’m sick and tired of hearing it! Hey, Jimmy, how ’bout the fact that “Them Cowboys” have only won one playoff game (the dreaded “air guitar” game vs. the Birds, unfortunately) in more than a decade?
2. Jerry Jones - Need I explain? This unbelievably arrogant owner is the epitome of the conceit, braggadocio and excess that makes us hate the Cowboys.
1. “America’s Team” - Aaaaagh!! Who would have the gall to call themselves America’s Team? Who nominated them? Did we get to vote on this? This self-proclaimed title has inspired many faux fans around the nation to claim to be Cowboy rooters, but they all probably think a rollout is what you do with toilet paper and that the wildcat formation is found at the zoo.
So that’s my list. Have fun coming up with yours. To sum it up: “Cowboys suck,” and with injuries to Ware and Murray, the Birds win easily, 34-23.
Courtesy: Edward Rendell | The Daily News
Editors comment: Pretty lame article, granted. Not much creativity in Philly. After all, why remain bitter about Jimmy Johnson (and his hair) 25 years later? Seems like a “if you can’t beat ‘em … bash ‘em” mentality in the City of Brotherly Love (and resentment). Still, take a moment to vote in their poll. As you’d expect, it’s tilted towards a Philly win on Sunday. Let your voice be heard! While we’re at it … how ‘bout serving cheesesteak on Texas Toast with BBQ sauce for your gameday tailgate? Cheesesteak is basically shaved Texas beef brisket! Go Cowboys … hard pretzels, star and all!!
IRVING, Texas – Talk about a Texas-sized order for these Dallas Cowboys.
Why, the Denver Broncos are coming to AT&T Stadium Sunday afternoon with a 4-0 record.
They haven’t been beaten in their past 15 regular-season games.
During this franchise record 15-game winning streak, no one has even come within seven points of the Broncos, which is one game shy of the Chicago Bears NFL record set in 1941-42, if that’s even possible to comprehend. Heck, in the four games this season, no team has come within the 16 Oakland has.
This also means the Broncos have tied their franchise record with seven consecutive road victories, no matter if they have been playing at the world champion Baltimore Ravens or in the supposedly indomitable collegiate atmosphere of Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium last year, or at MetLife Stadium (Giants) this season.
They are currently averaging 44.7 points a game, as if they are some Alabama playing a bunch of directional schools to start the season. And to think, the Cowboys have already given up thirty-something twice this season: 31 to the now 0-4 Giants and 30 this past Sunday to the then 1-2 Chargers.
The quarterback, The Peyton Manning, leads the NFL in nine of 10 statistical QB categories, most importantly a ridiculous 138 passer rating. Not to mention averaging 367.5 passing yards a game. And just think what that average might be if the Broncos were not winning each of these four games so far by an average of 22 points.
Considering opposing quarterbacks in three of their past six games, stretching back to last season, have thrown for more than 400 yards: Drew Brees (446), Eli Manning (450) and, most recently, Philip Rivers (401). Which brings to mind that the franchise record for most passing yards by an opposing quarterback is 486, set back in 1962 by Chicago’s Billy Wade.
Oh, if this all is not enough, the Broncos kicker, Matt Prater, has not missed a field-goal attempt yet (6 of 6) and their return specialist, Trindon Holiday, has just been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month, mostly for his 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and 81-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Beaten team walking?
Well, as a public service announcement, don’t try peddling any of this overwhelming evidence to these underdogs out here at The Ranch, an inherent danger to yourself yesterday, a danger today and even more dangerous come Sunday before the 3:25 p.m. kickoff that is being preceded this season with a little Texas Stadium old-school trumpet-playing of the national anthem.
“We ain’t scared of nobody,” a defiant Jason Hatcher said this week.
“I’m sick of hearing about Peyton Manning this and that and that,” said starting linebacker Ernie Sims of the Dallas Cowboys nickel defense Sunday, which might as well be called their base defense since the Broncos are expected to do exactly what Rivers and the Chargers did this past Sunday: Go three-wide, hurry-up.
Well, you wanted to know what the mood has been out here at The Ranch, didn’t ya?
Testy, for sure.
And that’s certainly a good thing. I mean, you don’t want this 2-2 team coming into a game like this, especially at home, meekly tiptoeing around, as if being led down a gangplank.
That’s why I am not one subscribing to this theory of playing some cozy, ball-control offense, as if the Cowboys should set up in some Carolina Four Corners from back in the day when shot clocks were an NBA thing.
Run the ball, absolutely, all you can – all you need to – but you can’t go into some offensive shell just to keep Manning off the field. You’ve got to go into offensive overdrive. You’ve got to score points. You’ve got to take some shots at the bow. Let your hair down and take some chances
Doggoneit, be aggressive, and same on defense. You can’t just sit back passively on defense, giving ground in fear of giving up a big play, betting Manning and this high-powered Broncos offense won’t execute like 12 plays to cover 80 yards. Ha, do so and you’ll be the one executed.
This all brings back to mind 1991, when the 6-5 Dallas Cowboys, losers of consecutive road games marching into Washington D.C. to play a third against the 11-0 Washington Redskins, who by the way were on their way to winning a Super Bowl title that season.
And just might have done so as the first 19-0 team had the overwhelming underdog Cowboys not kicked their headdress feathers, 24-21, that Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Did they come in playing conservatively, just trying not to lose?
Oh, contraire. On this day they were swashbuckling roughriders, then head coach Jimmy Johnson deciding before the game that they would not cower to a soul nor any Redskins.
Afterward, here is what Jimmy stated he said beforehand:
“I told the players, ‘Don’t ever hit a guy lightly. If you have a big ol’ gorilla in front of you, you don’t tap him on the shoulder.’ And I threw a punch at [guard] John Gesek, and I told them, “If I hit him lightly, I’ll get killed. I’d better take my best shot.’
“Teddy Roosevelt said one time, don’t ever hit lightly.”
OK, Jimmy had a master’s in psychology, not history, sort of twisting Roosevelt’s line about “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
But you get the idea, right? Don’t be taking a twig into a shootout.
That day the Cowboys went for it on fourth down three times. They eschewed a 51-yard field goal at the end of the first half for a “Hail Mary” into the end zone that Alvin Harper pulled in for a touchdown. They successfully executed an onside kick. And defensively, they did not sit back in fear of a Redskins offense that had scored 97 points the previous two weeks, coming with blitzes and stunts they had not shown the entire season.
Oh, and did I mention that even after Troy Aikman went down early in the third quarter with a sprained knee, offensive coordinator Norv Turner did not baby backup Steve Beuerlein, having him immediately firing aggressively down field, even without the services of injured tight end Jay Novacek and injured guard Nate Newton. They even had the audacity to attack Pro Bowl corner Darrell Green, wide receiver Michael Irvin burning his man-coverage with nine catches for 130 yards and a huge 22-yard scoring grab from Beuerlein to provide clinching separation late in the game.
And get this, Cowboys linebacker Jack Del Rio at the time, eerily now the Broncos defensive coordinator, said afterward, “I was just happy we didn’t go into a shell and play conservatively.
“We attacked, gave them everything we had.”
Shhhh, don’t tell Jack. Don’t remind him of the gorillas and the stick and the “best shots.”
And please don’t tell him “Hatch” has been doing a slow burn all week in continued defiance, insisting as he was stewing, “We’re not a pushover team at all. We’re definitely ready to play.”
So, almost time to sound that trumpet, sing the anthem and aggressively barge onto the AT&T Stadium field with them big sticks.
Don’t you think?
On a picture-perfect Southern California afternoon, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo took a break from the daily grind of training camp to chase 16-month-old son Hawkins around the field.
A few days after Romo’s family left training camp, news broke that his wife, Candice, is expecting the couple’s second child after the season.
Five months ago, Romo signed a six-year, $108 million contract extension to make him the highest-paid Cowboys player in franchise history. In Jerry Jones’ office that day at Valley Ranch, a photographer captured Hawkins taking a pen out of the Cowboys owner’s hands, with Hawkins’ smiling parents holding him.
For Romo, it seems, life couldn’t get much better. He has it all: faith, family, football, fame and fortune.
But one dream has proved elusive for Romo: a Super Bowl.
He hasn’t even taken baby steps to approach the milestone. He has one playoff win in his 6 1/2 seasons as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback.
At 33, the oldest player in the Cowboys’ locker room, Romo knows he must strike quickly. He has never wanted it more, but not just for himself.
“When you’re young, you want to be the best, you want to be the starter, you want to do these things to get to that point to win a championship,” Romo said. “And when you’re older, you want all those same things, but you want it for a lot of other people as well, because you see all the people that have put so much into it and it really matters to them as well.
“That’s where I’m at. It’s not just for me. It’s about a lot of other people. I see it with the fans.”
Recent history says Romo isn’t likely to lead the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl win since the 1995 season.
Only one starting quarterback in the last 14 seasons has won the Super Bowl at 33 or older. That was 34-year-old Brad Johnson in 2003, but he was just a game manager for Tampa Bay’s defensively led team.
Romo isn’t paid to be a game manager.
Only 11 quarterbacks in NFL history have won a Super Bowl at 33 or older. One of those happens to be an unabashed Romo supporter: legendary Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.
When he was 35, Staubach led the Cowboys to a Super Bowl win in 1978.
Thirty-five years later, Staubach believes Romo can do the same.
“If you’re in your 30s and you’re a quarterback, it’s not like other positions,” Staubach said. “He’s at the prime of his career right now.”
The Cowboys have gone all-in on Romo. They’re not only paying him as an elite quarterback, they’ve given him more say-so than ever in the offensive game plan.
In training camp, Romo often held teaching sessions with receivers and running backs. During the season, he’ll be in coaching meetings early in the week to help formulate game plans.
Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who spent 19 years as a quarterback in the NFL, said Romo has “always had input on things” but never to the point that he was side-by-side with coaches.
In fact, Wilson said he’s never been involved with a similar situation in his almost 35 years in the NFL as a player and coach.
Wilson said Romo always offered ideas, but now the process is streamlined.
“Any ideas that he’s had, they may show up later in the week,” Wilson said. “But now, with him in those meetings, he’s watching it with us and we’re talking about things. Maybe those ideas come earlier in the week and we get a chance to practice them.”
The Cowboys view Romo as a “young” 33 by NFL standards, because most starting quarterbacks his age have more mileage on their throwing arms. The Cowboys signed the undrafted Romo in 2003, but he didn’t attempt his first NFL pass until midway through the 2006 season.
“He started later and he takes real good care of himself,” Wilson said. “He plays the different sports in the off-season. He’s in great condition and he’s very instinctive, and those things will stay with you throughout your career.”
Sure, Romo’s arm is fine. But he’s withstood much abuse over the last six seasons — particularly the last three — because of the team’s poor offensive line play.
Romo didn’t participate in the Cowboys’ off-season workouts because he had back surgery to remove a cyst. Two years ago, he played a game with a broken rib and a punctured lung.
Soon to be 71, Jones has said he doesn’t have time to wait for the Cowboys to show improvement.
That also holds true for Romo. But for better or worse, Jones is committed to Romo, thanks to the quarterback’s new contract.
Romo is 1-6 in win-or-go-home games, and hasn’t been able to get it done in the regular-season finale the last two seasons in games that could have given the Cowboys the NFC East title.
For one of the league’s most talented quarterbacks, Romo is aware his legacy will ultimately be defined by his playoff success.
“It’s not fair, but that’s just the way it is,” Staubach said of how Romo will be judged. “I really feel it’s important to him. The most important thing for him is to win and to get to that playoff level where he can win some playoff games. But you can’t do it by yourself. It’s not a one-man game. It’s a team game. Dallas has a quarterback who can be a franchise quarterback. But you need other pieces, too.”
What will be Romo’s legacy? Will he be the next Staubach or Troy Aikman — who have combined for five Super Bowl wins — or will he fall woefully short?
Aikman has said Romo is a better quarterback than he was and believes Romo will lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl win one day.
Pro Football Hall of Famers Aikman and Staubach believe in him. But time is running out on Romo to make believers out of his critics.
“This team is going to win a Super Bowl at some point. It’s going to be exciting when that time comes,” Romo said. “And when we look back, we know who was on what side of the fence during the tough moments.”
PHILADELPHIA — The NFL has reached a tentative $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players, agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research.
A federal judge announced the agreement Thursday after months of court-ordered mediation. It came just days before the start of the 2013 season.
More than 4,500 former athletes — some suffering from dementia, depression or Alzheimer’s that they blamed on blows to the head — had sued the league, accusing it of concealing the dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back onto the field while profiting from the kind of bone-jarring hits that make for spectacular highlight-reel footage.
The NFL long has denied any wrongdoing and insisted that safety always has been a top priority. But the NFL said Thursday that Commissioner Roger Goodell told pro football’s lawyers to “do the right thing for the game and the men who played it.”
The plaintiffs included Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.
Under the settlement, individual awards would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer’s disease; $4 million for those diagnosed after their deaths with a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy; and $3 million for players with dementia, said lead plaintiffs’ lawyer Christopher Seeger.
Any of the approximately 18,000 former NFL players would be eligible.
Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia announced the proposed agreement and will consider approving it at a later date.
The settlement most likely means the NFL won’t have to disclose internal files about what it knew, and when, about concussion-linked brain problems. Lawyers had been eager to learn, for instance, about the workings of the league’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, which was led for more than a decade by a rheumatologist.
In recent years, a string of former NFL players and other concussed athletes have been diagnosed after their deaths with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Those ex-players included Seau and lead plaintiff Ray Easterling, who filed the first lawsuit in Philadelphia in August 2011 but later committed suicide.
About one-third of the league’s 12,000 former players eventually joined the litigation. They include a few hundred “gap” players, who played during years when there was no labor contract in place, and were therefore considered likely to win the right to sue.
Download the complete press release PDF here.
Read the text of Brody’s order that outlines the proposed settlement here.
THE MYSTIQUE OF AMERICA’S TEAM: NFL’s 1993-1994 NFC Championship–San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys
On January 23, 1994 the Dallas Cowboys defeated the San Francisco 49er’s 38-21, and Jimmy Johnson’s famous “How bout them Cowboys!” quote from the previous year’s NFC Championship Game in Candlestick Park.
Editors comment: As a reader pointed out, the original title of this post suggested that this NFC Championship lead to the “Making of America’s Team.” In fact, the term “America’s Team” became popular after Bob Ryan (of NFL Films) used it while preparing the Cowboys 1978 season highlight film. Also, Jimmy Johnson’s “How ’bout them Cowboys” quote came after the 1992-1993 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco.
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ARLINGTON, TEXAS — After solid victories in the first two preseason games, the Bengals looked like they were roaring along as they went into Saturday night’s contest against Dallas in what is commonly known as the dress rehearsal game.
Instead, the Bengals put on a display that brought their roar down to a meow. Maybe, the DJ at AT&T Stadium was on to something when they played the Meow Mix theme as the Bengals came on the field before the game.
The 24-18 loss to the Cowboys also reinforced an old equation – when you commit four turnovers and your defense can’t get off the field on third down, you aren’t going to win many games.
“Now, we can quit having all that smoke puffed up our butts and we can get to work,” coach Marvin Lewis said after the game. “There were some bright spots during the game. We did some things well but not enough, long enough.”
Two of the turnovers were committed by the first team offense. Marvin Jones fumbled deep in Dallas territory on the opening drive and Andy Dalton threw his first interception of the preseason on a deep ball intended for Mohamed Sanu.
Dalton and the first unit were in for 28 plays (16 pass, 12 run). He finished 12 of 16 for 113 yards and a subpar passer rating of 68.0. The running game generated only 44 yards with 30 of that coming on the third-quarter drive that led to a Quinn Sharp 28-yard field goal. The first team was 0 for 2 scoring touchdowns in the red zone and their lone points came courtesy of a Quinn Sharp 28-yard field goal on their last series of the night.
“The fact we hurt ourselves is the biggest thing,” Dalton said. “You can look at all the bad but there are still some good stuff mixed in there. We did move the ball well, but didn’t get the points to show for it.”
Defensively, the Bengals (2-1) forced only two three-and-outs in 10 possessions. The Cowboys (2-2) were 9 of 16 converting third downs and all three of their touchdown passes came on third down – two by Tony Romo and one by Kyle Orton.
Dallas ran 75 plays and ended up having the ball for 39 minutes, 31 seconds.
“I don’t know if it was a lack of focus for us. We had some good plays, but on third down we just couldn’t get them off the field,” linebacker Vontaze Burfict said.
Added Lewis: “We’ve got to get to work and get our guys wind going to get ready for the opener. I thought it was a positive for the defense as they had to stay out there for a couple of long drives. Hopefully those are good opportunities for our defensive players to blow their pipes out pretty good.”
Tony Romo was 13 of 18 for 137 yards and two touchdowns in a half of work while Dez Bryant (6 receptions, 54 yards) and Miles Austin (4 receptions, 59 yards) each had a touchdown.
On the opening drive, Dalton and the offense looked like they were going to pick up from where they left off in the Tennessee game. Dalton completed his first six passes for 56 yards and got A.J. Green quickly involved on the second play with a 9-yard completion on a slant pass. Green finished with 3 receptions for 42 yards.
The drive ended without points though when Brandon Carr forced Marvin Jones to fumble after a 14-yard completion to the Dallas 4. It was the Bengals’ third lost fumble of the preseason.
On the ensuing drive, Dallas moved the ball to their own 30 when the Bengals got their second punt return touchdown of the preseason, this one by Brandon Tate.
Tate’s 75-yard punt return came courtesy of something that you only get at AT&T Stadium. On Chris Jones’ first punt he hit the giant scoreboard that hangs above the field, which brought about a rekick.
“(Special Teams Coordinator) Darrin (Simmons) always tells us that nothing good happens for the punt team on a re-kick, and we made them pay,” Tate said. “I give all the credit to the other 10 guys out there with me. Everybody blocked it perfectly, and all I had to do was find the hole and shoot through it. Nobody really had a good shot at me.”
After that, Dallas started to get things in gear. The Cowboys went on a 12-play, 87-yard drive which culminated in Romo’s first touchdown pass of the preseason, a 5-yarder to Bryant, who dominated Dre Kirkpatrick on the drive. Romo was 6 of 6 on the drive and Bryant had 5 receptions for 53 yards.
Dallas would take the lead late in the first half when Austin got past Taylor Mays in coverage and caught it in the back of the end zone. In the second quarter Romo was 8 of 13 for 98 yards and two touchdowns and the Cowboys were 4 of 6 on third-down conversions.
After Sharp’s field goal, Orton came on for Dallas and led a 14-play, 86-yard drive that culminated in a 7-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray where there were a litany of missed tackles.
Josh Johnson came on midway through the third quarter and led the Bengals to a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, a 4-yard completion to Cobi Hamilton that was the final play of a 14-play, 60-yard drive. Ryan Whalen caught a two-point conversion from Johnson to bring the Bengals within a field goal. Hamilton atoned after he turned the ball over in the third quarter on a fumble after running a reverse for a 18-yard gain.
Dan Bailey added a 26-yard field goal to put the margin up to six with 52 seconds remaining. After a Dane Sanzenbacher return gave the Bengals good field position, they drove the ball to the Dallas 49 before Johnson was picked off by Xavier Brewer. Johnson was hit by Landon Cohen as he threw the ball.
Courtesy: Joe Reedy | Bengals beat writer | Cincinnati Enquirer
POSTGAME VIDEO LINKS FROM CINCINNATI:
It will be wheels up this afternoon for Team Enquirer as photographer Jeff Swinger and I head to Dallas for tomorrow night’s game against the Cowboys.
This will be my second trip to JerryWorld. Yes, it is an impressive stadium and you can catch yourself watching most of the game on the big screen instead of down on the field. When it comes to sheer size and scope, it is tops in the NFL but if you are grading it on fan experience and watching a game, to me it would be fourth. I think Seattle, Kansas City and Baltimore are better.
Weather wise, this should be a better trip compared to two years ago when I went to Dallas for the Super Bowl. During the early part of Super Bowl week, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was hit with snow and ice storms, which made the highways treacherous. That wasn’t good since it was billed as a North Texas Super Bowl and everything was far flung.
ONE NOTE ABOUT SATURDAY
Due to our deadlines, the game will not be completed in time for Sunday’s paper. A game story and notebook will be available on Cincinnati.Com following the game and there will be more coverage in Monday’s paper.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON SATURDAY
How much will A.J. Green play? Probably not as much as the rest of the first unit. As Lewis noted on Thursday, he has a number of snaps in mind for each position group depending on the depth and a player’s experience. Plus, Green doesn’t need much work in game conditions. Just kick the tires, get out there for a couple series, catch a pass or two and call it a day.
Can the first-team defense get a sack? There hasn’t been much pressure on the quarterback during the first two games. Geno Atkins has applied some pressure but they have yet to get a sack. The line though has not been at full strength in the preseason, particularly at defensive end. Carlos Dunlap has missed both games and Michael Johnson was out against Tennessee. Both should play against the Cowboys but Robert Geathers has not practiced this week.
Does Shawn Williams emerge at safety? With George Iloka doubtful for tonight’s game, Shawn Williams and Taylor Mays will get another prime opportunity to show what they can do. Williams led the Bengals with 10 tackles last week and continues to show progress. Mays has had flashes of good play but also some painful lapses in coverage. Iloka still has the advantage for the starting spot at strong safety, but the gap is starting to close.
Offensive Bubble Player to keep an eye on: Running back Rex Burkhead grew up in nearby Plano and is used to playing in AT&T Stadium. Burkhead is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has two runs of 15 yards or more during the preseason. He remains in a battle with Dan Herron for the final running back spot but might the edge based on if Burkhead were to be waived, the odds are pretty good that he would get claimed by another team.
Defensive Bubble Player to keep an eye on: Cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris has had a good training camp, but the highest exposure he has received came during the fourth quarter of last week’s game when he bit on a double move by Michael Preston that resulted in a 46-yard touchdown. If the Bengals keep 10 defensive backs, it will likely come down to which DB plays best over the final two games – Lewis-Harris or Mays.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys
Kickoff: 8 p.m., AT&T Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, TX
Local TV: WKRC-TV (Channel 12)
Local Radio: WCKY-AM (1530), WEBN-FM (102.7).
Series: Second preseason meeting. Dallas won the 2010 Hall of Fame Game 16-7.
Note: Bengals are 22-20 in preseason games under Marvin Lewis.
Not expected to play: OT Andrew Whitworth (knee), DE Robert Geathers (unspecified), CB Brandon Ghee (concussion), LB Sean Porter (shoulder), WR Andrew Hawkins (ankle), FB Chris Pressley (PUP/knee), QB Zac Robinson (PUP/elbow), HB Bernard Scott (PUP/knee).
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Taylor Mays has had plenty of camera time on Hard Knocks as he faces another reality — life on the roster bubble.
There is something of interest related to Adam Jones’ case. The attorney representing the alleged victim in the case was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday.
Coming Sunday, Paul Daugherty tells the story of Reggie Williams who, after 24 knee surgeries and years of pain, won’t accept losing his leg.
Courtesy: Joe Reedy | Cincinnati Enquirer
(Photographs courtesy: Cincinnati Enquirer)
About Joe Reedy
Joe Reedy took over as The Enquirer’s Bengals beat writer in 2009 after covering the University of Kentucky and doing an NFL picks column. Reedy’s previous NFL experience includes covering the Jets for The Post-Star in Glens Falls, NY (1997-98) and Jaguars for The Gainesville Sun (1999). The Youngstown native lives in Burlington and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Board of Selectors.
ARLINGTON, Texas – The practice was very much the same, but the venue could not have been more different.
The Cowboys went through the Silver and Blue Debut on Thursday night – the final full practice before Saturday’s preseason home opener. But while the past month’s practices have taken place on humble practice fields in Oxnard, Calif., and Valley Ranch, Thursday’s show took place on the grand stage of AT&T Stadium.
“It’s fun, you know, it really is. This is a great building,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. “We all feel very fortunate to be able to play and coach in it. It’s probably as good a stadium as there is on the planet. To be able to come here to practice and play our games here is really special.”
It was a typical practice for a team that’s 48 hours away from the toughest action of the preseason – the second-to-last preseason game is typically referred to as the dress rehearsal. The Cowboys practices in shorts and shirts with no pads, working primarily on timing and fine-tuning.
But pregame, non-contact practices don’t typically take place in front of such a crowd. Over10,000 fans attended the event, not to mention a plethora of Cowboys alumni from Roger Staubach and Mel Renfro to Larry Brown and Jay Novacek.
The opportunity is one Garrett said the Cowboys need to be mindful of.
“A couple of years ago we had training camp here for a couple weeks, and I think the guys really, really enjoyed being here,” Garrett said. “It’s just a fantastic facility, and I think every time you go out there you just remind yourself how fortunate we are to be a part of it.”
Despite the routine nature of the workout, the atmosphere amped the anticipation up a bit. Even tight end Jason Witten, with 10 years and four seasons at AT&T Stadium under his belt, could feel it.
Witten said a practice in the home stadium lets him know the season is almost here.
“It always knows it’s just right around the corner when you’re here,” he said. “You see the excitement in the fans and the alumni, and you get that feeling. I think every year, as a player, there’s always that time when you know you’re getting close. This is kind of the kick off for that.”
It wouldn’t be the NFL if there weren’t some competitive advantage to something as routine as a practice. AT&T Stadium had a new turf field put down during July, and Garrett said it was nice to give the team some experience on the new carpet before game day.
“It’s good for us to be able to get out there, run around a little bit and have a real football practice instead of just walking around on it or jogging around on it before the game,” he said. “I think that’s a good thing for our team to be able to take advantage of.”
The full opulence of AT&T Stadium wasn’t even on display for the Silver and Blue Debut. The stadium staff was still working on game mechanics, and only the building’s lower level was filled.
That said, Garrett noted the value of an in-stadium practice before the Cowboys kick off against the Bengals – especially the team’s newcomers.
“One of the real positives of coming over here today is that they get a chance to see it, and some of the awe factor goes away a little bit,” Garrett said. “When they come back on Saturday, they’re ready to go to work and play a ball game – that’s an added benefit of practicing here tonight.”
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach talks to current quarterback Tony Romo during practice at the Silver and Blue Debut, in Arlington on August 22, 2013. (Michael Ainsworth/DMN)
ARLINGTON – Legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach isn’t down on his former team despite back-to-back 8-8 seasons and a three-season playoff drought.
In fact, Staubach feels even better about this season’s team than he did last year’s.
Almost a year to the day, Staubach predicted the Cowboys would make the playoffs last season and finish either 11-5 or 10-6. And this time around?
“We can be 11-5 in a second with a little luck and keeping people healthy, maybe 12-4,” Staubach said Thursday night at AT&T Stadium. “And I think we’d take 10-6 right now, wouldn’t we? You just want to get in the playoffs.”
Staubach was among several Cowboys alumni to watch the team practice for two hours Thursday night in the team’s only open practice in Texas. Others included fellow Pro Football Hall of Famers Mel Renfro and Rayfield Wright and Ring of Honor members Cliff Harris, Lee Roy Jordan and Charles Haley. A crowd of 10,234 watched the players practice without pads after paying $10 for parking.
The Cowboys alumni attended a dinner with the players and coaches at the stadium after the practice. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett asked Harris to address the team.
Staubach said the Cowboys have upgraded the offensive line – he really likes rookie center Travis Frederick – and if they can improve their running game should post a winning record for the first time since 2009.
Oh, and Staubach is still an unabashed Tony Romo fan.
“If there’s a bigger Romo fan in town, I don’t know who it is,” Staubach said. “I want to argue with all my negative Romo fans and tell them how great this guy is. He makes plays. He’s got a strong arm, and he just does a lot of good things out there that only a few quarterbacks in the league can do.”
Staubach spent some time Thursday throwing passes to one of Romo’s favorite targets: wide receiver Dez Bryant.
“They weren’t quite as hard as Tony Romo’s but I was having some fun,” Staubach said. “If he stays healthy, there won’t be a better receiver in the league than Dez Bryant. I was throwing to him tonight, so I tested him out. He’s a great receiver.”
CANTON, Ohio – Head coach Jason Garrett wasn’t going to let the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive linemen miss the induction of Larry Allen into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Garrett brought all of his team’s offensive linemen, as well as select veterans on the team to watch Allen’s speech as he was inducted a day before the Cowboys are set to play in the Hall of Fame Game.
Left tackle Tyron Smith was just five years old when Allen won his Super Bowl with the Cowboys in January 1996, so needless to say he only watched Allen sparingly growing up. But Smith quickly learned what Allen meant to the team.
“I didn’t learn much about him until I got with the Cowboys,” Smith said. “It’s a great experience to be here, and I definitely didn’t want to miss it.”
The experience was just as great for the young undrafted players and backup offensive linemen in attendance. First-year tackle Edawn Coughman, who’d never been to the Hall of Fame before, said words couldn’t express how he felt to walk through the Hall of Fame and watch Allen get inducted.
“It’s a great honor,” Coughman said. “I watched him a lot when I was younger. I’m excited to see this man in person. I’m elated.”
Jason Garrett wanted to make sure the majority of his veteran starters and the players on the team who knew Allen got to see the induction.
The list of veteran players at the ceremony included Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant,Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, Jason Hatcher,DeMarcus Ware, Danny McCray, LP Ladouceur, Will Allen, Barry Church, Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr.
CANTON, Ohio – The Dallas Cowboys had two members of this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, including arguably the best guard in NFL history.
First-ballot inductee Larry Allen, who was one of the quietest players in front of the camera throughout his career, shocked everyone with a 16-minute speech that mixed in some emotions and humor to offset his evident nerves.
Bill Parcells went for nearly 25 minutes, the longest of the seven speeches.
Both Allen and Parcells were well represented by former Cowboys colleagues. A few former Cowboys linemen who played with Allen made an appearance, including Solomon Page, Tyson Walter, Kelvin Garmon and Nate Newton. Other Allen teammates included Russell Maryland, Darren Woodson, La’Roi Glover and Jay Novacek, along with Hall of Fame members Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin.
Here are some quotes from various former and current members of the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night’s inductees:
Nate Newton on Larry Allen:
Man, Larry was great. He did what he needed to do. He was super. I really loved it. He opened it up with a joke. He closed it out with seriousness. He handled it, man. It was great. I loved it – that 40 ounce was cold-blooded.
I was nervous for him. The bet was, how long he was going to go. I had nine minutes. He did a good job. That was always the Larry that we knew. He was quiet, short on words, but he got his point across. When we had some private moments with just he and I, he talked more. But he wasn’t that boisterous guy but you knew he would do his job. I’m so proud of him. I’ve always said he was the best football player I’ve ever played.
Darren Woodson on Bill Parcells:
I tell everyone that ever listens, in my one year with Bill, I learned more from Bill in that season than I had in all of my career. When he came in, it totally changed the way I looked at the game. I tell him all the time and every time I see him, he showed me how to study film and what to be looking for. In my opinion, he was the best coach I ever played for.
We were wondering if it would be 30 seconds? A minute? 90 seconds? I was getting texts from teammates all day about it. But he was tremendous. I think he captured what made him great. He is such a prideful person. That was the biggest contributing factor to how good a player he was.
I knew he had a lot of people to thank. I think he did a great job. I’m proud of him. I’m very happy for him. He was a funny guy. He was just a great guy. We battled every Wednesday and Thursday during the week. Then on game day it was easy because we practiced each other so hard.
Jason Witten on Bill Parcells
It was a special feeling. Obviously coming into the league under a guy like him, you learn so much. He was a legendary coach before he got to Dallas, but he had a huge impact on a lot of us. I think I’m the player I am today because of the impact he had. It was neat to see him at this moment.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on Larry Allen:
What I love is that everybody got to see what Larry Allen was all about. That’s probably more than he said in 12 years with the Cowboys. It was amazing.”
Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 member Larry Allen is presented for enshrinement by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. (Duration – 3:19)
Dallas Cowboys lineman Larry Allen’s speech from the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio. (Duration – 16:08)
Editors comment: Larry Allen was known for ‘not talking’ during his NFL career. As an avid listener, to all things Dallas Cowboys, it was a rare treat to actually hear him speak today! He was noticeably nervous, but you’ll see that the crowd was supportive and seemed to put him at ease. I strongly recommend watching both of these videos, whether you’re a relatively new Dallas Cowboys fan or an old cowpoke from back in the day! Enjoy.
EVE OF THE ENSHRINEMENT: Gil Brandt’s 50 memories for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th anniversary
Gil Brandt has watched the Pro Football Hall of Fame grow with the game since it opened in 1963 — and he had an up-close-and-personal view in his capacity as a key member of the Dallas Cowboys’ front office. In honor of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, Gil offers 50 thoughts and memories about the Hall that he’s accumulated over the decades as a football lifer.
STANDOUT HALL OF FAMERS
1) The Hall of Fame is full of guys with great backgrounds, but one of my favorite personal stories belongs to Rayfield Wright (Class of 2006), who was, of course, a key cog on the Dallas Cowboys when I was with the team. At his enshrinement, he told the story of how he was ready to quit football before his Fort Valley State coach kind of turned him around, getting him to play safety and tight end — and then he ended up getting into the hall as an offensive lineman. Fittingly, he had his college coach introduce him at the Hall.
2) One of the first players I saw who I knew was going to get into the Hall someday was Forrest Gregg, the longtime Green Bay Packers offensive lineman who spent a season with the Cowboys at the end of his career. I saw him at SMU and then as a rookie. He probably played the offensive tackle position as well as anyone, period — as good as Johnny Unitas was at quarterback. Obviously, offensive tackles don’t get the attention quarterbacks get, but I thought Gregg was probably the best.
3) If I had to pick the best class, I’d have to say it was the first class, from 1963, just because of all the people in it: guys like Sammy Baugh, George Halas, Don Hutson, Curly Lambeau, John (Blood) McNally, Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe.
4) I also liked the Class of 1994, because it included two Cowboys, Tony Dorsett and Randy White, plus a third guy, Jackie Smith, who ended his career in Dallas. I liked that class a lot.
5) The Class of 2000 had really good players: Howie Long, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana and Dave Wilcox, plus Dan Rooney. Wilcox was one of those guys who fought for success the hard way after starting out at Boise Junior College.
6) Roger Staubach is one of the Hall of Famers who wowed me the most on the field, though of course he had plenty of chances to do so, given how much time I spent watching him. I also thought Deacon Jones and Ray Nitschke were special.
7) When it comes to the guys we can see on old film, one of the most impressive Hall of Famers is Arnie Weinmeister, who played defensive tackle for the New York and Brooklyn Yankees football teams in the 1940s before joining the New York Giants in the ’50s. He was just the toughest guy.
8) The best quarterback in the Hall is Roger Staubach. First of all, he came back to the game after being in the armed forces for five years, which is something, because historically, guys never came back from breaks like that without losing a step or two. Staubach was the catalyst for the Cowboys; he was a great leader, both on and off the field — even the guys on the other teams respected him greatly.
9) One of the best non-quarterbacks in the Hall has to be Eric Dickerson. He was a dominant guy; he was Adrian Peterson during a time when it was much harder to be Adrian Peterson, because we didn’t have things like motion or do things like split people out.
10) Also, of course, there was Jim Brown. What Jim Brown did was unbelievable, especially when you consider that offensive linemen had to block with their shoulders at the time.
11) Other standouts: Merlin Olsen, a 14-time Pro Bowler who was simply a dominant factor for his team, and Bob Lilly, who was light years ahead of his time. Lilly was bigger, faster and quicker than anybody you’ll ever see.
12) The most impactful coach/contributor in the Hall is George Halas. He helped form the league and run the league, and he dictated policy. Plus, he was a great coach for the Chicago Bears.
13) Ray Nitschke was one of the more influential players in the Hall in terms of being the leader at the luncheon on enshrinement weekend. I think it was his idea to have the luncheon on Friday. Deacon Jones took over that role from Nitschke. It will be interesting to see who takes up the mantle this year, now that Jones is gone.
14) Of course, I like to think that I have about 85 good friends in the Hall (because I think I know just about every guy in there), but one of my best friends is probably Green Bay Packers fullback Jim Taylor. I’ve known him a long time. You know, when you’ve competed against somebody and he’s beaten you twice for the right to go to the Super Bowl, he tends to stick out in your mind.
Seven new legends were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 in New Orleans, La. The group – Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Curley Culp, Jonathan Ogden, Bill Parcells, Dave Robinson, and Warren Sapp – will be formally inducted during a memorable Enshrinement Ceremony at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 3.
LARRY ALLEN Guard/Tackle … 6-3, 325 … Sonoma State, Butte Junior College (CA) … 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys, 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers … 14 seasons, 203 games … Selected by Cowboys in 2nd round (46th player overall) of 1994 draft
Versatile, played every position on offensive line except center during 12 seasons with Dallas … Led way in second season for Emmitt Smith who set Cowboys’ franchise record with 1,773 yards … Started at right guard in two NFC championship games and Super Bowl XXX victory … Named NFL Alumni’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1997 and the NFL Players Association NFC Lineman of the Year twice (1996-97) … Named first-team All-Pro seven straight years … First-team All-NFC six times, second-team once … Moved to tackle late in 1997 and entire 1998 season, earned All-Pro honors at position … Signed as free agent with San Francisco in 1996 … First season with 49ers led way for Frank Gore who set team single-season rushing record (1,695 yards) … Elected to 11 Pro Bowls … Named to NFL All-Decade Teams of 1990s and 2000s … Born November 27, 1971 in Los Angeles, California.
SONOMA STATE OF MIND
Allen played for four high schools and then Butte College for two years. He then sat out a year before playing at Division II Sonoma State in California. Allen caught the eye of the Dallas Cowboys, who selected him in the second-round of the 1994 NFL Draft.
Allen set a club record with 10 starts during his rookie season. He even admirably filled in for the injured Erik Williams in the 1994 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco as Allen himself played on a hurt ankle for most of the game.
Larry Allen earned the first of seven consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl in 1995. He was one of four Cowboys’ offensive linemen to be selected to the Pro Bowl for the season.
SUPER BOWL XXX
Larry Allen helped the Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX. It was the first Super Bowl ring for Allen, but the third for the 1990s Cowboys and fifth in club history.
Larry Allen broke his right hand during 2000 training camp, but he played every game that season for the Dallas Cowboys to earn a sixth-consecutive Pro Bowl spot.
Larry Allen missed most of the 2002 season with injuries that required surgery. He returned in 2003 to earn his eighth Pro Bowl nomination, and he helped lead the Cowboys to the playoffs.
Allen played his final two seasons with the 49ers and again continued to pile up Pro Bowl nominations. He would be selected to 11 Pro Bowls and was a member of the All-Decade Teams of the 1990s and 2000s.
INTO THE SUNSET
Larry Allen signed a one-day contract with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, so he could retire with the team that drafted him.
The path Danny White took from Arizona State to becoming the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys made San Francisco’s Lombard Street look like a drag strip.
Selected in the third round of the 1974 NFL draft, the odds White would see much playing time under center as a rookie were lessened due to the presence of veteran quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Craig Morton.
If anyone ever needed a Plan B …
“It was just pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to be playing anytime soon. And then it kind of came down to money,” said White. “John Bassett, who was one of the founders of the World Football League and the owner of the Memphis team, called and basically offered twice what the Cowboys had offered. So between the money and the opportunity to play it just seemed like the best thing to do.”
After two seasons, the WFL closed shop, and White discovered he was still in Dallas’ plans as well as its Rolodex.
“The Cowboys immediately called after the league folded and basically doubled their offer,” White said. “I had the experience and Craig Morton had just been traded, so everything just kind of fit. It was almost like it was kind of meant to be.”
Eventually. After signing with Dallas in 1976, White took over the punting duties and watched Staubach from the sideline. Did he find it tough to be in No. 12’s shadow?
“By the time I had been backing him up for four years, it was getting difficult,” said White. “I had a meeting with Coach Landry and told him that I was to the point where I felt like I needed to play. I was six years out of college and if I wasn’t going to be playing there soon I wanted him to consider trading me.
“I loved being with the Cowboys, so I had mixed feelings about it. But I knew that my time was running out. I needed to start competing. Roger always made it seem like I was competing with him. To his credit, he’d always say things like, ‘I can’t let you get in a game or I’ll never get back in.’
“And he would compete. It wasn’t like he was just there and it was his job. He never took on that kind of an attitude. He treated me like a competitor, like an equal. He was a great mentor for me in that respect.”
Playing with the Cowboys for 13 seasons, White passed for 21,959 yards, 155 touchdowns and 132 interceptions, and was chosen for the Pro Bowl in 1982. He led Dallas to three consecutive NFC Championship Games [1980-82] and to the playoffs on two other occasions before retiring in 1989.
“My favorite memories were things that happened as a result of being a Dallas Cowboy with my teammates,” said White.
Video: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White catches a touchdown pass from Ron Springs in this Oct. 23, 1983, game against the Los Angeles Raiders at Texas Stadium
“As far as games go, that first season (as a starter in 1980) was a dream season for me. I inherited a great team and all the pieces were there. I remember thinking, ‘This is easy. It is like shooting fish in a barrel.’ Of course, that would change by the end of my career, but at least those first few years were.
Video: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White and the plays AFTER ‘The Catch’
“The Atlanta playoff game [1980: 30-27 win] was a great game. The 49ers game with ‘The Catch’ was a great game, too [1981: 28-27 loss]. It was just great being part of that. I wish we would have come back and won that. We should have, but it was still a great experience.”
Video: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White fake punt vs. Washington Redskins
“I would have to say the highlight of my career was being a Dallas Cowboy. Being a part of that era and playing for Tom Landry. Things like that you don’t appreciate until many years later. I look back on that now and realize how lucky I was to play for that team and that coach at that time.”
Following a successful career as a head coach, general manager and team president in the Arena Football League, White is set to begin his third season as the radio analyst for Dallas’ games on Compass Media Networks.
“They approached me and I kind of thought twice about it and said, ‘You know what? I haven’t been real close with the Cowboys mostly because I live in Phoenix and here’s a chance to kind of get back in the fold,’” White said. “I loved what Jerry Jones had done with the new stadium and everything that had happened, so why not? Let’s do it for a year and see what happens.
“And so I did and I just loved it. I love being back in the Cowboy family. I love working with [play-by-play announcer] Kevin Burkhardt and the Compass people, Michelle Salvatore, who is our producer. Everything just kind of clicked.”
Having played in 166 regular-season games with the Cowboys, White has an on-the-job advantage in the broadcast booth. It’s that he’s done the job on the field.
“Knowing what’s going on in a quarterback’s head can be a huge, huge advantage,” said White. “Everyone is so quick to say, ‘Well, the guy was open and the ball was thrown over his head.’ Just knowing, you say, ‘Wait a minute. Maybe there’s a reason that the ball was thrown over his head.’ And you go back and look and sure enough there was a defensive lineman right in his face as he throws the ball. He can’t follow through. There’s always more to the story.
“Everybody’s so quick to judge the quarterback. The quarterback isn’t good one day and bad the next day. There are reasons for it and I think more than anything else that one single advantage of having played quarterback just gives you a whole different perspective on the game. You can counter some of those lazy critics that just want to say, ‘The ball was overthrown,’ or whatever the obvious is on the field.”
White and his wife, Jo Lynn, make their home in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert, Ari. They have four children, Ryan, Geoff, Heather and Reed, and 13 grandchildren.
A grand ol’ back
Emmitt Smith owns almost every rushing record in the NFL. In his 15-year career, Smith had an NFL-record 11 consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards from 1991-2001. Smith accounts for nearly half of the Cowboys’ 23 1,000-yard seasons. Since he left Dallas in 2002, the Cowboys have had only one 1,000-yard rusher — Julius Jones in 2006.
Never forget 1995
In 1995, Michael Irvin had 1,603 receiving yards and Emmitt Smith rushed for 1,773 yards. They are the only running back-wide receiver combo to individually put up 1,600 yards in a single season. Both totals set franchise records that still stand today. In 1995, both Smith and Irvin had 11 100-yard games. Irvin’s total of 11 100-yard games mark set the single-season record for a receiver; it is a record that wasn’t matched until Calvin Johnson did so in 2012. The Cowboys finished the 1995 season with their fifth Super Bowl victory, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX
Pro Football Hall of Famer Roger Staubach led the NFL in passer rating (104.8) during his first full season as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback in 1971, a season in which the franchise captured its first Super Bowl with a 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins. Staubach was the MVP of Super Bowl VI. Staubach’s impressive passer rating in 1971 would have ranked third in the NFL last season behind only Aaron Rodgers (108.0) and Peyton Manning (105.8). The list of quarterbacks who have never had a passer rating that high includes Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Dan Fouts and Jim Kelly. The number is also tops for a single season in Cowboys history, meaning it is higher than any passer rating of Tony Romo or Troy Aikman’s career.
The longest yard
Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett has the only 99-yard run in NFL history. It came at the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 3, 1983 under some unique circumstances. First, it was on “Monday Night Football”, meaning much of the nation was watching. Second, the game was the final one of the entire strike-shortened 1982 season. Dorsett rushed for 153 yards in that game, but finished just short of the rushing title during the nine-game season with 745 yards, behind only Freeman McNeil and his 786 yards for the New York Jets.
IRVING, Texas – Cowboys Stadium will play host to Father’s Day activities this weekend, as the venue puts on Father’s Day on the Field Rally Day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The event will feature a slew of interactive activities, including autograph sessions with Cowboys alumni and cheerleaders, an appearance by Rowdy. Another special appearance will come from two of the Minions from the upcoming Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment film “Despicable Me 2.” There will also be various activities for kids and photo opportunities with the Cowboys’ Super Bowl trophies.
Tours of Cowboys Stadium will also be open all day Saturday with free parking available at the stadium with a purchase of a tour ticket. Tickets to the Father’s Day Rally Day events are included with the price of a self-guided stadium tour, which are available at the box office. Tickets are $17.50 for adults and $14.50 for children/seniors.
The Cowboys’ alumni will sign autographs from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Former defensive lineman Chad Hennings will be available for autographs at noon, fellow former defensive lineman Leon Lett will be available at 1 p.m. and former defensive back Everson Walls will be available at 2 p.m.
Cowboys cheerleaders will be available to sign autographs from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., while the Minions will make an appearance from noon until 2 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles have signed former Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones to a one-year contract.
A former first-round selection by Dallas in 2008, Jones has rushed for 2,728 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He has 127 receptions for 1,062 yards and three TDs. Jones had 402 yards rushing and three TDs last year, along with 25 receptions for 262 yards and two scores.
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Safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who released by the Dallas Cowboys in March for salary cap reasons, confirmed via text message that he has decided to retire.
Sensabaugh said he has drawn interest from a couple of teams but was no longer interested in playing football, bringing his eight-year career to an end.
Sensabaugh signed a one-day contract with the Cowboys on Thursday to officially retire with the club the team he has spent the last four years with. He was drafted in fifth round by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005. He stayed their for four years before joining the Cowboys in 2009.
He started 84-of-112 games, posting 469 tackles, two sacks, six tackles for loss, 43 pressures, four forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions in eight years in the league. Sensabaugh had 62 tackles in 15 games with the Cowboys last year but he had no interceptions and just two in the past two years combined.
The Cowboys saved $1.5 million by releasing him March, while hoping the upgrade the position with more playmaking ability.
According to some, safety still remains a concern for the team. They do have options in veteran Will Allen, untested second-year man Matt Johnson and rookie third-round pick J.J. Wilcox.
FIGHTING HIS OWN BATTLE: Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg suffering from Parkinson’s disease, won’t sue NFL
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg says that while he and his neurologist blame concussions for his Parkinson’s disease, he’s not going to sue the NFL like thousands of other former players.
The 79-year-old says he doesn’t begrudge those who have joined the lawsuits but he has his pensions from his playing and coaching days and “I don’t need anything from anybody but what I earned.”
He said he’s an “independent type” and doesn’t believe in holding others accountable for his well-being.
“And my experience in the National Football League was good,” said Gregg, who is promoting UCB, Inc.’s “Parkinson’s More Than Motion” campaign during Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
Gregg said he’s doing well 18 months after his diagnosis and credits medicine, exercise and daily phone calls from his son and former teammates to reminisce about the good ol’ days, which keeps his mind sharp.
The former offensive lineman known as “Iron Man” said he wants to help others recognize the signs of Parkinson’s and seek treatment early enough to delay the degenerative effects of the chronic, debilitating disease on both mind and body.
When Gregg was diagnosed, his neurologist, Dr. Rajeev Kumar, a Parkinson’s expert and medical director of the Colorado Neurological Institute’s Movement Disorders Center in Denver, said the many concussions Gregg suffered during his playing days may have served as a trigger for Parkinson’s.
More than two dozen Hall of Famers are among the 4,200 former players who contend the league misled them about the harmful effects of concussions.
In recent years, scores of former NFL players and other concussed athletes have been diagnosed after their deaths with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, including popular Pro Bowler Junior Seau and lead plaintiff Ray Easterling. Both committed suicide last year.
About one-third of the league’s 12,000 former players have joined the litigation since Easterling filed suit in 2011. Some are battling dementia, depression or Alzheimer’s disease, and fault the league for rushing them back on the field after concussions. Others are worried about future problems and want their health monitored.
“I have been asked to join these lawsuits and my gut feeling, first thought is no,” Gregg said. “I’ve always been an independent type, I never believed in somebody else being responsible for my life and for my well-being.”
Gregg praised the NFL for its crackdown on illegal hits and enhanced protocol on concussions and said he applauds Roger Goodell for saying his top priority as commissioner is reducing head trauma in the game even though it’s changing the sport that he played and coached.
At the owners meetings last month, the NFL barred ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make forcible contact with a defender in the open field and also eliminated the peel-back block everywhere on the field.
The game looks different from the one Gregg played from 1956-71 with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys and later coached, but Gregg said he doesn’t mind that.
“Anything that can be done to help in that respect, in that regard, I think is good, any time you prevent an injury by changing the rules,” Gregg said. “I know it’s not easy because these players are going to have to relearn how to play the game.
“Right now if I was coaching defensive linemen, it would be a hard matter for me to tell my linemen where to tackle the quarterback. If you tackle him above the shoulders, you hit him in the head and that’s a penalty. You tackle him below the hips, that’s illegal. Or if you have a hold of him and you slam him down to the ground, that’s illegal. So, what’s left? Maybe his belt buckle, that’s about it,” Gregg said.
“And I don’t say that’s wrong, because anything that can prevent injuries to ball players is good.”
Gregg said he was taught in high school in the 1950s that “the helmet was part of the weaponry.”
“My high school coach said if they try to run you over, you give them some plastic,” he recalled. “That was just the game, it really was. Nobody thought anything about getting hurt.”
Gregg sustained so many concussions he lost count, although he recalls one time he was so dazed he sat on the other team’s bench and when he came to with an ice pack on his neck, players on the other team told him he’d been “gone for a while.”
Gregg said he would still have chosen to play the sport even if he’d known there would be a price to pay later in life, however.
A guard and tackle, Gregg is one of three NFL players to win a-half dozen NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls with the Packers. Gregg finished his career with another Super Bowl title with the Cowboys in 1971. He went on to coach the Bengals, Browns and Packers.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but a combination of drugs, exercise and physical therapy can delay the effects of the disease that strikes more than 50,000 Americans every year.
Gregg said he first went to the doctor when he noticed his left hand trembling in 2011. Although his motor symptoms began to show up over the year or two before that, Gregg’s wife, Barbara, said he began acting out his dreams about 15 years ago. Kumar said this phenomenon, known as REM sleep behavior disorder, was a possible early warning sign of Parkinson’s.
One time he dreamed he was trying to strangle a snake and his wife had to sock him to get him to let go of her wrist. Another time he dreamt he was back blocking for Bart Starr and knocked her out of their bed.
Sleep problems, memory loss and fatigue are some of the possible symptoms of Parkinson’s along with the typical motor aspects such as slowness or tremors.
The Greggs are sharing their story through a reality-style video series that is part of “Parkinson’s More than Motion” Facebook community and follows the couple as they cope with the disease and its treatment.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s emotional. You have to fight getting down,” Gregg said. “And I’ve been on the physical regimen. In fact, I think I was working out too much. I forget I was 79 instead of 39. And so I had to back off a little bit and now I don’t worry if I miss a day working out. The main thing is to continue to work out, try to keep a good attitude.”
Before capping the 1996 season by leading the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl victory, Brett Favre was 4-3 in playoff games. Not bad for a 26-year-old who at the time probably didn’t know he’d play another 15 NFL seasons.
The four wins came against the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and twice against the division rival Detroit Lions. The losses? Well, they all came at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. And all were played at Texas Stadium.
The Cowboys, who were favored by at least nine in each of those games, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com, won 27-17 in 1994, 35-9 in 1995 and 38-27 in 1996.
“I remember what the biggest issue was, we couldn’t get past Dallas,” Favre said Friday before a SMU Athletic Forum luncheon at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. “Now, they were good. They were good. Each year we felt like we were gaining. But I always felt like, if we don’t get them at our place, we’re always going to be second fiddle.”
Favre completed 56 percent of his passes in those games, averaging 283 passing yards per contest and totaling five touchdowns and five interceptions.
The following season when Favre and the Packers went on to defeat the New England Patriots, 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI, the Cowboys lost to the Carolina Panthers, 26-17, in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Although some of his teammates wanted their Super Bowl run to go through Dallas, Favre admitted that he was rooting for the Panthers to knock off the defending Super Bowl champs.
“I was thinking, ‘Please, please, beat them.’ I just had enough,” Favre said. “Other guys were saying, ‘I want them again.’ I’d had them enough. That was the biggest issue, we just couldn’t get past Dallas.
“It’s just hard to stay on top. It’s hard to get to the top. What they did was really amazing.”
Following his 10 minutes with the media and some time to eat lunch, Favre sat down with the voice of the Cowboys, Brad Sham, to entertain the guests with stories of his career. While sitting center stage, Favre said although growing up in Kiln, Mississippi made him want to see the New Orleans Saints do well, their lack of success turned him into a Cowboys supporter.
“I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan. I loved Roger Staubach,” he said. “That was back when teams kept the same players on the roster for a long time. Drew Pearson, Randy White, Charlie Waters, Danny White, Robert Newhouse, Tony Dorsett, Billy Joe DuPree, I could go just on and on. I always dreamed of playing for the Cowboys, playing in the Super Bowl.”
Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, no doubt about it. But it’s unlikely that the Cowboys would’ve had more success in the 1990s with Favre than they did with Troy Aikman.
Now, how Favre could’ve helped the Cowboys from 2001 and beyond is a different story.
When Mike Jenkins decided not to spend the majority of the offseason with the Dallas Cowboys to rehab his shoulder last summer, the writing was on the wall that 2012 would likely be his last season with the team.
No surprise ending here.
The Cowboys let him go into free agency and although it took nearly a month to find a home, Jenkins is heading out West after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders.
Jenkins, one of two first-round picks (along with Felix Jones) by the Cowboys in 2008, went from a three-year starter from 2009-11 to a backup last year. The Cowboys signed Brandon Carr in free agency and then moved up in the first round to pick Morris Claiborne, creating an instant 1-2 punch at the cornerback position.
It left Jenkins on the outside looking in and while he never publicly complained about his situation, his absence from the Cowboys’ facility other than mandatory events such as minicamps and team functions suggested he wasn’t happy with his role, especially heading into a contract year.
Still bothered by the shoulder injury, which required rotator cuff surgery, Jenkins missed all of training camp and the first game of the season before returning to action in Week 2 against Seattle. However, Jenkins never had a major role last year, playing mostly in nickel and dime packages.
He made the Pro Bowl in 2009 as an alternate but never got back to that form. Jenkins showed some toughness in 2011 when he played through multiple nagging injuries, including a knee, neck and shoulder setbacks.
In Oakland, Jenkins is the second free-agent corner to sign in free agency along with Tracy Porter.
The Cowboys and Raiders will square off twice in 2013, including a preseason contest in Oakland in mid-August, followed by a regular-season game at Cowboys Stadium.
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Rayfield Wright, Fort Valley State
1967, seventh round (No. 182 overall)
Wright’s career as an offensive lineman landed him in the Hall of Fame. It’s an honor that would have been impossible to predict from his start.
The Cowboys bounced Wright between tight end, tackle and defensive end during his first three years in the league before establishing him at right tackle. Once there he became a fixture with six consecutive Pro Bowl selections. Wright was named All-Pro four times and earned a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1970s.
Larry Allen, Sonoma State
1994, second round (No. 46 overall)
He is the second Cowboys offensive lineman to earn a bust in Canton and will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year.
Allen is arguably the most dominant lineman of his era. His 10 Pro Bowl appearances with the Cowboys is the most of any offensive player in club history. Allen was named to the Pro Bowl as a right guard, a left tackle and a left guard, something no one else has done.
Honorable mention: Herb Scott (13th round, 1975), Mark Stepnoski (third round, 1989), Erick Williams (third round, 1991), Flozell Adams (second round, 1998).
Howard Richards, Missouri
1981, first round (No. 26 overall)
Until Tyron Smith with the ninth overall pick was selected in 2011, this was the last time the Cowboys have used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman. Richards was primarily a backup for five of his six seasons with the Cowboys. He started 16 games during a disappointing, injury-prone career.
Robert Shaw, Tennessee
1979, first round (No. 27 overall)
This is the first time the Cowboys used a first round pick on an offensive lineman. Shaw began his career backing up John Fitzgerald at center and showed promise. But two months deep into his third season, a season that saw the only three starts of his career, Shaw blew out his right knee in a loss to San Francisco. He tried to come back for 20 months but was never able to pass his physical and retired.