Monthly Archives: July, 2012

VIDEO–Training Camp Opening Press Conference in Oxnard

VIDEO - Opening Day - Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 2012 - The Boys Are Back blog

VIDEO – The annual opening press conference from training camp, as Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones, and Stephen Jones take the stage to open up camp in Oxnard, California.

Click HERE to watch video

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR: Jerry Jones wants return to ‘Glory Hole’ days in Dallas

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR: Jerry Jones wants return to 'Glory Hole' days in Dallas - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admits he is seeking “glory hole” days for his franchise, which last made the playoffs in 2009 and has won only two playoff games since its triumph over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX to close the 1995 season.

Jones was offering praise to veteran tight end Jason Witten for saying the Cowboys cannot settle for “the same old story” again in 2012. Jones declared it good for younger players to hear such perspective from a player who has “been outstanding” but has “not gotten the brass ring.”

Jones said Witten’s comments also motivate him. From there, he proceeded to launch into the most memorable comment of today’s opening news conference about the Cowboys seeking a return to their “glory hole” days of yesteryear.

“For me, it’s a reminder,” Jones said. “I’ve been here 23 years. I’ve been here when it was glory hole days and I’ve been here when it wasn’t. And, so, having said that, I want me some glory hole. So I have that perspective.”

Shortly thereafter, Cowboys’ vice-president of public relations/communications Rich Dalrymple chimed in with a reminder that “glory hole” is a common expression in the oil and gas exploration business pertaining to a high-profit drilling site. Jones, a longtime oil man, feigned surprise.

“That’s news to me,” Jones said, smiling.

ONE TWO PUNCH: Dallas Cowboys make changes in return game

Dallas Cowboys RB Felix Jones will be the kick returner in 2012 - The Boys Are Back blog

OXNARD, Calif. — Dez Bryant will be the Cowboys punt returner in 2012.

The Cowboys were leery of using the wide receiver in that spot last year, choosing to limit his work in part for fear of injury, but they have had a philosophical change of heart in 2012.

And it’s not just Bryant who will be involved in the return game. Jones said Felix Jones will be the team’s kick returner.

“We think that’s really going to do wonders for our kicking game,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “We’re going to let them work on it from the get go. Obviously, we didn’t do it with Felix last year because he was the starting running back and we didn’t do it with Dez. This year, we think it’ll make a big difference. Both guys were top guys come out of college. By letting them work on it every day, Joe (DeCamillis) thinks it’ll make a big difference.”

Bryant had punt returns for touchdowns of 62 and 93 yards as a rookie and averaged 14.3 yards in 15 returns. Last season, he suffered a bruised quadriceps in the season opener and was limited as a returner for the rest of the year.

Jones has averaged 24.5 yards per kick return in his first three seasons. He had a 98-yard touchdown as a rookie.

“We were wanting to try some of the young guys last year,” Stephen Jones said. “I think Dez doing punt returns, we’ve done it with Deion (Sanders). We think that’s a safer deal. And then with Felix obviously going to No. 2 running back, then I think him get some chances to make some plays as well.”

The Cowboys averaged just 7.1 yards per punt return and 23.3 yards per kick return in 2012, which has kept the offense from being in the best field position situations.

“The big thing is Joe thinks practicing it every day, getting Dez and Felix used to the blocking schemes, working on it every day, they’ll be better,” Stephen Jones said.

Courtesy: Todd Archer | ESPN Dallas

RELATED: Dallas Cowboys doing right thing in return game

Yes, I would agree that having two of the best, most dynamic and most dangerous athletes on your team returning your kicks can make a big difference. Frankly, I never saw what was the holdup with Bryant as punt returner. He’s big enough and young enough to handle the extra work. And if fear of injury was really going to govern your decisions, you’d never let any of these guys on the field to begin with. Bryant can be a difference-maker in the punt return game, and the way Jones operates in space with the ball in his hands leads one to believe he could do the same as a kick returner. Given the Cowboys’ depth issues at key positions on offense and defense, finding and keeping a specialist just for return duties wouldn’t make a lot of sense. These moves do.

Courtesy: Dan Graziano | ESPN

CB CHALLENGE: Mike Jenkins training camp update

Dallas Cowboy CB Mike Jenkins did not participate in any voluntary offseason activities - The Boys Are Back blog

OXNARD, Calif. — The Cowboys’ brass is optimistic that disgruntled and injured cornerback Mike Jenkins will be able to play during the preseason and are challenging him to compete when he is medically cleared.

Jenkins, who will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery, did not participate in any voluntary offseason activities. He asked to be traded after the Cowboys signed Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50.1 million deal and traded up to select Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick, but the Cowboys never seriously entertained granting that request.

Jenkins had hoped to tear up the last year of his rookie contract and sign a rich new deal. Instead, he probably lost his starting job.

“I think sometimes your feelings can get hurt when a team goes and signs somebody, they draft somebody at your position,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “But then once those emotions settle a little bit, you come back and you say, ‘OK, this is my situation? What’s the best thing for me to do?’

“Typically, if you have a guy that’s a competitor, he’s going to come back and compete. That’s going to be good for him, that’s going to be good for the other guy and ultimately it’s going to be good for your football team. We’re excited to see Mike’s progress physically and hoping to get him back out here on the football field to be a contributor to our team this year.”

Asked if he could understand Jenkins’ frustration, Garrett answered that the NFL is a challenging league and further emphasized the importance of competitiveness.

“The best players, the best teams compete week in and week out, year in and year out,” Garrett said. “The best guys I’ve been around have been the best competitors. That’s what made them great players. Mike understands that. He’s competed a long time in his life. He’ll be ready to compete when he gets healthy.”

Owner/general manager Jerry Jones has attempted to sell Jenkins on the opportunity he has with the Cowboys. He pointed out that the Cowboys won Super Bowls with a deep defensive line rotation, hinting that the cornerback corps could have similar success.

“Let’s dream a little bit,” Jones said. “What if Mike can be a part of a corner group that because of the skill level (and) size could be an outstanding corner group?

“He’s a free agent. … So he could be a part of quite a story, and in doing so greatly enhance his stature as far as the NFL is concerned. We know that he’s capable physically of doing that, so my point of view would be, hey, this is a great opportunity to come in here with this kind of talent, be a part of a unit that does innovative things at that position.:

Jones continued: “On an individual basis, in my mind, he’s given himself a best chance when you look to the future. And the future could very well be under those circumstances right here with the Dallas Cowboys. We will write a check for a good football player.”

Jones said Jenkins has bought into that concept during their conversations for it. It’s wise to take that with a grain of salt, at least until Jenkins ends the silent treatment he’s given the media while agent Drew Rosenhaus tried to get the Cowboys to trade his client.

TRAINING CAMP UPDATE: Competition heats up at safety position

Dallas Cowboys rookie S Matt Johnson eyes starting job - The Boys Are Back blog

OXNARD, Calif. — The good thing about coach Jason Garrett is he wants competition at various positions.

One main position that will it is safety.

Gerald Sensabaugh is one of the starters, but who starts next to him is uncertain. Brodney Pool signed a one-year free agent deal in the offseason, and the Cowboys drafted Matt Johnson in the fourth round. Those players join Barry Church and Danny McCray, who enter their third NFL seasons.

There are no guarantees Pool makes the roster, given his $100,000 signing bonus. The Cowboys like the playmaking ability of Johnson, who had 17 career interceptions in four seasons at Eastern Washington.

Church played well in a limited role on defense, and McCray has led the team in special teams tackles the last two seasons.

"We want to give those guys a chance," Garrett said. "We drafted Matt Johnson in the fourth round. Barry Church has been with us, he’s improved, a very good special teams player, right from the start. But he’s improving as a defensive safety. We want to give those guys a chance. We like Brodney a lot, he’s played a lot of games in this league, a very athletic safety. He’s got a good feel for playing. There’s a reason we went and signed him. But at the same time, again, we want to create competition and we want to give these other guys a chance to show us what they can do."

MEMPHIS UFA: Dallas Cowboy Ronald Leary lean and mean, ready for camp

Dallas Cowboys Ronald Leary - The Boys Are Back blog

After the NFL draft, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones talked about one of his undrafted free-agent signings as if he stole something.

The Cowboys signed guard Ronald Leary with the hopes that he can make the 53-man roster as a backup guard or maybe clear waivers and get added to the practice squad.

After offseason workouts and three days of practices with the rookies this week, Leary said he’s feeling good about working with the full squad, which starts practices Monday in Oxnard, Calif.

Leary hasn’t endured any problems with his left knee, which suffers from a condition known as osteochondritis dissecans — also referred to as OCD. It’s a joint condition in which a piece of cartilage, along with a thin layer of the bone beneath it, comes loose from the end of a bone.

If anything, Leary appears to be moving quite well. Between the offseason workouts and the three-day rookie training camp, Leary said he’s lost weight and is currently at 319 pounds. Instead of heading home to Baton Rouge, Leary stayed in Dallas to workout at Valley Ranch.

"I’m nowhere near where I want to be," Leary said. "It’s just about a transition in the NFL because it’s a different game. I’m trying to get all the techniques from my coach and just talk to the vets and pick up little tips and play my game."

Courtesy: Calvin Watkins | ESPN Dallas

Jerry Jones will discuss Dez Bryant on Sunday

Jerry Jones will discuss Dez Bryant on Sunday - The Boys Are Back blog

The media never saw owner/general manager Jerry Jones during the Dallas Cowboys’ rookie camp, much less got a chance to fire questions at him.

That means the Dez Bryant drama could dominate the camp-opening press conference Sunday in Oxnard, Calif.

Jones has yet to publicly comment about Bryant’s arrest last week on a Class A family violence charge for allegedly assaulting his mother, a charge Angela Bryant has asked the Dallas County district attorney’s office to drop.

The Cowboys’ company line so far has been to pledge support for Bryant. That was the emphasis of comments made by head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo.

Garrett, who addressed the topic Wednesday, said it’s “premature” to discuss possible punishment from the team. If there is going to be a bad cop in the organization, it appears it will have to be Jones, and that’s not a role he’s been known to play.

Courtesy: Tim MacMahon | ESPN Dallas

TRAINING CAMP SPEEDSTER:Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley believes he’s “quicker than everyone else out there.”

Receiver Cole Beasley continues to make plays.

On Thursday, the free agent rookie from SMU got behind former NCAA track champion Teddy Williams and made a nice adjustment to catch a long pass from Kyle Orton.

Head coach Jason Garrett spoke last month about how a player in Beasley’s position needs to make a play or two every practice to stay on the staff’s radar to have a chance to make the team. That is what the 5-foot-8, 177-pound receiver has done so far this off-season.

“I can’t have any days off,’’ Beasley said. “Once you show a weakness, they’re always going to talk about it because you’re a smaller guy. I’m not the prototypical size for the position. I’m way smaller than the prototypical size. But I have some strengths a lot of people don’t have.

“I have a lot of quickness. I don’t think there is anybody out there as quick as me, not just the Cowboys or anywhere else. I’m confident in my abilities to be quicker than everyone else out there.

“That is what I have to utilize.’’

ROSTER MOVE: TCU RB Wesley joins Dallas Cowboys, calls it ‘dream’ to be on team

ROSTER MOVE: TCU RB Wesley joins Dallas Cowboys, calls it 'dream' to be on team

Former TCU running back Ed Wesley once lived in apartments across the street from the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility in Irving. He said he always dreamed of having an opportunity to join his hometown NFL team.

That opportunity arrived today, when Wesley took part in his first practice at Valley Ranch after agreeing to terms as an undrafted free agent. Wesley replaces Darrell Scott, who was released after failing a physical, on the Cowboys’ roster.

“It’s a blessing. It’s awesome. I’ve been a Cowboys fan all my life,” Wesley said. “It’s something that’s in our family’s blood.”

Wesley left TCU after his junior season, citing personal reasons, but went undrafted in the NFL supplemental draft. Wesley said he wanted to help his mother, who was battling health issues related to rheumatoid arthritis.

Ironically, it was his mother who broke the news to Wesley about the Cowboys’ interest because his cell phone was dead and he missed the initial call Tuesday from team officials. When he returned home, Wesley said his mother got “a little too hyped” while trying to relay the news.

“She’d come running down the hallway screaming. So I knew it was something good or something bad,” Wesley said. “She told me the Cowboys had called and I was ecstatic. They called back the very next day.”

Wesley passed a medical exam Wednesday and took part in this morning’s workout, where he also worked as an outside rusher on the punt block team. Although he did not see special teams duties in games for TCU, Wesley said he “did it in practice” and is willing to do whatever it takes to land a spot on the Cowboys’ roster.

He figures to battle Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner for the third running back job, behind DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones. Last season, Wesley rushed for 745 yards and six touchdowns at TCU, where he averaged 6.1 yards per carry.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure. For me to make the team, I have to work hard and not show any weaknesses,” Wesley said. “Just get it done. Don’t make any mistakes.”

Wesley said he worked out for 14 different NFL teams before getting a call to camp from the Cowboys. He said he was disappointed to go undrafted in the supplemental draft but acknowledged he “wasn’t in the shape I needed to be in at the time.”

After some high-intensity sessions at a training facility in Carrollton, Wesley said he hopes to follow in the footsteps of past undrafted Cowboys’ free agents like quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Miles Austin.

“Hopefully, I’ll reach where they’re at some day,” Wesley said.

Courtesy: Jimmy Burch

GIANT TWIT: Ex-Cowboy Martellus Bennett still running his mouth

 

Not only is former Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett not looking back on his days in Dallas, he’s looking forward to playing them and showing them what they will be missing.

Bennett joined the Giants this off-season and the New York media got to know his eagerness to express himself early. In a tweet from Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, Bennett discussed his eagerness to beat his old team.

Ralph Vacchiano@RVacchianoNYDN

New TE Martellus Bennett can’t wait to play his old Cowboys team. "I just want to kick those guys’ asses," he said. #NYG

 

According to Vacchiano, the Cowboys aren’t the only ones on Bennett’s bad list.

Ralph Vacchiano@RVacchianoNYDN

Bennett said he has "ill feelings" towards the Cowboys … and everyone. "I don’t like a lot of people. I’m kind of an a–hole." #NYG

Vacchiano also said Bennett compared himself to Gandhi.

LISTEN WHILE YOU SURF: Talkin’ Cowboys – Glimpse of the Future

AUDIO - Talkin Cowboys with Mickey Spagnola - Dallas Cowboys Radio Network - The Boys Are Back blog

Talkin’ Cowboys: Glimpse of the Future (about one hour in duration)

Mickey Spagnola and Bryan Broaddus start their season out by saying goodbye to Rob Phillips, and they also take a look at the rookies present at camp today as well as the Dez Bryant situation.

Jason Garrett, Tony Romo show their support for entire Bryant family

Jason Garrett and Dez Bryant - The Boys Are Back blog

Training camp has officially begun for the Cowboys. Well, sort of.

They’re calling it camp, but it doesn’t feel like camp at all. For starters … there aren’t many here. Nearly all of the starters aren’t eligible to attend, considering this is mainly a three-day camp for rookies and selected vets.

Secondly, it’s here at Valley Ranch as the Cowboys won’t depart for sunny (and cooler) Oxnard, Calif. until Saturday.

But every camp seems to have a level of drama attached to it. And the Cowboys definitely have that, with wide receiver Dez Bryant. 

Nothing changed on Wednesday, except for Jason Garrett speaking on the subject for the first time. As expected, the head coach stood by his receiver, but said there is more than just support for Bryant, himself.

“First and foremost, we support Dez Bryant’s family,” Garrett said to a group of reporters following Wednesday’s practice. “We support Dez. We support his mom. We want to help them in any way that we can. We have the resources to do that.”

Garrett said he has spoken to Bryant “a number of times” since he was arrested two Mondays ago for a domestic-violence incident with his mother, Angela, in DeSoto, Texas. On Tuesday, the attorney of both Dez and Angela issued a public statement that charges won’t be filed against Dez, at least by his mother.

The statement also said there was no family domestic violence and that they hoped to move on from the incident, one of a handful associated with Bryant since he was drafted back in 2010. This was his first arrest, but there have been other incidents that have caused the Cowboys to be concerned.

And the NFL might be involved. Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to issue his own punishment toward Bryant, regardless if charges have been dropped.

Garrett was vague when asked if Bryant is still subject to a fine and/or suspension by the NFL or even the Cowboys. Garrett did say he expects Bryant to be on the team charter Saturday afternoon heading to Oxnard.

"Anybody who knows Dez Bryant’s story and knows our team understands that he comes from a challenging background," Garrett said. "He’s had a difficult road to get to where he is in his life. There’s no excuse for anything that’s happened in his life. You can’t go back and say, ‘Hey I came from this background.’ That’s not what we’re saying.

“We understand what that is and we understand as an organization how we can try to help him. He’s made a lot of progress since he’s been here with the Cowboys both as a person and as a player and he has a long way to go just like we all do."

And Garrett isn’t alone in his support for Dez. Quarterback Tony Romo spoke at an appearance on Tuesday and backed Bryant, whom he talked to by phone soon after the incident last week.

“I’m here for my teammate,” Romo said. “Dez knows that I care about him. Dez knows that I care about his family. Dez knows that I’m here for him when he needs me. I know he’s the same way.

“I think Dez and everybody does things they wish they could have back in life and do things different sometimes. But that was a situation and he will learn from it and he’ll do steps in the future to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I know he feels bad and he’s a kid who’s growing and learning to become a man. He really is a good kid.”

Courtesy: Nick Eatman

SOURCE VIDEO: Jason Garrett Press Conference

Video - Watch Now - The Boys Are Back blog - Press playDallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett spoke to the media following morning practice, and spoke about what the team is doing to support Dez Bryant.

ARE YOU READY?: 2012-13 Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders training camps | Oakland Raiders first on preseason schedule

2012 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp logo

Everyone is counting down to the first day of training camp for the Dallas Cowboys on July 30th. But the real first day is today, July 25th. Quarterbacks, rookies, and injured players who were not able to fully participate in the OTAs and minicamp get to report.

The Dallas Cowboys, thanks to the pre-season schedule, are one of the last two teams to start camp. They and their opponent in the first pre-season game, the Oakland Raiders, are forced to wait because they were "favored" with being shown on Monday night in their pre-season opener.

Football’s back!

Courtesy: Tom Ryle

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ARE YOU READY?: 2012-13 Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders training camps | Oakland Raiders first on preseason schedule

RELATED: Raiders announce time, location for Raider Nation Celebration

The Raiders already gave the date of this year’s Raider Nation Celebration as Aug. 12, and Wednesday the team announced the time and location — from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in parking lot of the Coliseum Complex.

Following is the rest of the official release:

This family-friendly event is free and open to the general public and takes place one day before the Oakland Raiders kick off the 2012 campaign in the national spotlight, hosting the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, August 13.

The Raiders have hosted variations of this fan rally since 1998 at a number of locations throughout Oakland, including Jack London Square, Frank Ogawa Plaza and the Coliseum.

The Raider Nation Celebration will be highlighted by the introduction of first-year coach Dennis Allen and the 2012 Raiders and Raiderettes.

The event will also feature an interactive Kid’s Zone as well as autograph opportunities with Raider Legends and Raiderettes.

A number of exclusive opportunities – locker room tours for season ticket holders and a food tasting for suite holders – will also be part of this year’s Raider Nation Celebration.

Those attending the Raider Nation Celebration will be able to shop at special on site Raider Image, the team’s official store, and food and alcohol-free beverage concessions stands will be available to fans.

There will also be the opportunity for fans to select tickets for Raider games in what stacks up to be a challenging, exciting 2012 schedule. The Raiders also open the 2012 regular season in prime time, hosting AFC West rival San Diego Chargers on Monday night, September 10, in the second half of the ESPN double-header.

Courtesy: PAUL GUTIERREZ

2012 Raiders vs Cowboys | Dallas Cowboys vs Oakland Raiders | Oakland vs. Dallas

OUTTA HERE: Mat McBriar takes better deal from Philadelphia Eagles

OUTTA HERE: Mat McBriar takes better deal from Philadelphia Eagles - The Boys Are Back blog

The Dallas Cowboys will see Mat McBriar punt in 2012, but only twice in the regular season as the two-time Pro Bowler agreed to a deal with conference rival Philadelphia.

McBriar worked out for the Eagles on Monday and the Cowboys on Tuesday but was unable to come to terms with Dallas, where he had spent his first eight seasons. The Cowboys had the cap room necessary to keep McBriar, but the Eagles offered a better deal.

McBriar joined the Cowboys’ practice squad in 2003 and was the team’s full-time punter from 2004-11. He is the franchise’s leader in gross (45.3) and net averages (38.1) as well as most punts inside the opponents’ 20 (175).

He averaged 43.8 yards per punt in 14 games in 2011 but was hampered for most of the year with a nerve issue that affected his left foot. He had surgery in February to remove a cyst below his left knee and has been punting for the last six weeks in San Diego. McBriar started punting six weeks ago in San Diego and believed he would be at his best when the season began.

Chris Jones, who averaged 42.6 yards per punt as McBriar’s replacement last season, will go into training camp as the team’s top punter. The Cowboys also have Delbert Alvarado on the roster.

ATTORNEY ROYCE WEST: Dez Bryant didn’t commit family violence

"Did a family disagreement occur? Yes," West said in reading a prepared statement. "Did Dez Bryant commit family violence against his mother? No. They are here together today to show they do love and support each other, just as much as they did before the incident a week ago. But like all families, the Bryant's have disagreements.

In an effort to put allegations of family violence behind them, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and his mother Angela Bryant made an appearance together at the office of Dallas attorney Royce West.

Neither Bryant nor his mother spoke but were there to show unity and ask that prosecutors not pursue charges stemming from Bryant’s July 16 arrest for misdemeanor family violence.

"I would love to make a statement, but I can’t," Dez Bryant said as he left. "I can’t."

West, who is Bryant’s attorney, was the only one who spoke at the news conference that lasted no more than two minutes.

"Did a family disagreement occur? Yes," West said in reading a prepared statement. "Did Dez Bryant commit family violence against his mother? No. They are here together today to show they do love and support each other, just as much as they did before the incident a week ago. But like all families, the Bryant’s have disagreements.

"Mr. Bryant and his family understand the serious nature of family violence. They believe that when all the facts are reviewed, Mr. Bryant will be cleared of any allegations of family violence."

Bryant’s mother had accused him of assaulting her. She told police that he hit her in the face with a baseball cap, tore her shirt and bra and bruised her arms.

She was heard on the 911 tape saying that Bryant was trying to kill her and she wanted to "put an end to it. I can’t keep letting him do this."

Angela Bryant has asked prosecutors not to pursue the case.

"Angela Bryant does not want charges filed against her son," West said. "Ms. Bryant has had an opportunity to speak with other people who witnessed the incident and has filed an affidavit of non-prosecution with the DeSoto Police Department. She recognizes that under the law, filing of the affidavit may not impact the legal outcome of her complaint."

West went on to say, "She asks that her affidavit be taken into consideration in deciding whether it is in the best interest of her family for this to continue in the legal system or allow them to resolve the issue as a family. Dez and his mother believe this is a family matter that can be worked out through counseling. They ask that there not be a rush to judgment concerning their family. They also ask for your continued prayers and support for their family as they work through this matter."

Family violence is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

The matter is in the hands of the Dallas County district attorney. Prosecutors have not announced whether they will pursue charges against Bryant.

Bryant might still be disciplined by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell under the league’s personal conduct policy.

While the Cowboys, who begin training camp Saturday in Oxnard, Calif., have continued to decline comment about the incident, Bryant’s teammates have voiced their support.

Quarterback Tony Romo reached out to Bryant last week after news of the incident broke.

"I think Dez and everybody does things they wish they could have back in life," said Romo during a promotional appearance for Starter at Wal-Mart in Arlington on Tuesday. "He is going to take steps in the future to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

"I know he feels bad. It’s a kid who is growing and learning to become a man. He is really a good kid. Dez knows I care about him. He knows I care about his family. He knows I’m here when he needs me."

Linebacker Sean Lee said he’s willing to let Bryant’s off-the-field legal troubles work themselves out.

"As a teammate, he’s been unbelievable," Lee said Tuesday at a promotional appearance at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Dallas. "The type of work he’s put in in practice in the off-season, he’s been in the locker, in the weight room. Obviously, that’s a different deal off the field that needs to be figured out. We’re going to support Dez no matter what."

Courtesy: Clarence E. Hill Jr.

DONE DEAL: Morris Claiborne signs his Dallas Cowboys contract

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne missed practices throughout the offseason because of his wrist injury. He won’t miss any practices in training camp because of his contract.

Morris Claiborne signed a four-year, $16.26 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. (James D. Smith/Associated Press)

Claiborne signed a four-year, $16.26 million deal with the Cowboys, a source with knowledge of the situation told NFL Network on Monday. No "offset" language is included in the contract, which has a fifth-year option.

The Cowboys’ official website later confirmed the deal and said Claiborne’s fully guaranteed contract includes a $10.3 million signing bonus.

With Mike Jenkins also arriving to training camp on time, the Cowboys finally will have the deep cornerback group that they envisioned. Claiborne reportedly was fully cleared for practice and will be ready to compete for a starting job on Day 1.

Claiborne figures to start opposite big free-agent signing Brandon Carr, assuming that August goes as planned for the rookie. Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick will battle for the reserve spots.

UPDATE: Claiborne tweeted later Monday about officially joining the Cowboys.

THANK YOU GOD!! I am officially a Dallas Cowboy! Now I can get some sleep tonight and get to work in the a.m. #CowboysNation

 

Video - Watch Now - The Boys Are Back blog - Press playRELATED VIDEO:  Morris Claiborne one-on-one with NFL Network

03:40 – The No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Morris Claiborne checks in to discuss his progress with the Dallas Cowboys.

PUPDATE: Mike Jenkins joins four other Dallas Cowboys on PUP list

Dallas Cowboys rookie receiver Danny Coale suffered a foot injury during Organized Team Activities (OTAs) - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys will place cornerback Mike Jenkins on the physically unable to perform list as he continues his rehabilitation from offseason shoulder surgery.

He will be joined on PUP by guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (hip), wide receiver Danny Coale (foot), guard/center Kevin Kowalski (ankle) and safety Matt Johnson (hamstring).

Continue reading →

AFC RIVAL REPORT: Pittsburgh Steelers extend coach Mike Tomlin’s contract through 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin - The Boys Are Back blogThe Pittsburgh Steelers announced they have extended coach Mike Tomlin’s contract through the 2016 season.

Tomlin, 40, was entering the final year of his contract, although the team had an option for 2013. Financial terms of the three-year extension weren’t released, but Tomlin was the sixth-highest paid NFL coach for this season, according to Forbes magazine.

"I am excited that I will continue to be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for years to come," Tomlin said in a statement. "I am grateful to the Steelers organization for the opportunity I have been given over the past five years to work and live in this great city, and I am excited to continue to work to bring another championship to the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh."

Tomlin, who is entering his sixth season as the Steelers’ coach, became the youngest coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl, when he led the Steelers to a 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in February 2009. He also reached the playoffs four times in his first five seasons, including two trips to the Super Bowl.

"We are pleased to announce that Mike Tomlin will remain with the Steelers for at least five more years," Steelers president Art Rooney II said. "Mike is one of the top head coaches in the National Football League and we are thrilled he will continue to lead our team as we pursue another Super Bowl title."

SEAN LEE: Claiborne, Crawford are ‘locked in’ on defense despite missing offseason work

Dallas Cowboys Sean Lee - The Boys Are Back blog

First-round pick Morris Claiborne and defensive end Tyrone Crawford got little or no action in the offseason workouts because of injuries.

But the Cowboys’ top two draft picks won’t be far behind when training camp starts next week.

Veteran linebacker Sean Lee said they are as prepared as they can be for not having practiced.

“They were very attentive when they were there,” he said. “Through the walk-throughs and the meetings, any time Coach had a question for them, boom – they had it locked in. They knew what they were doing. Obviously, there’s a process for every young guy that they’re going to go through. But I think they’re going to be ready and they’re going to help us this season.”

Courtesy: Carlos Mendez

BONUS VIDEO: Sean Lee – Bruce Carter Is Prepared

Video - Watch Now - The Boys Are Back blog - Press play

Sean Lee talks about Bruce Carter, who could possibly be his partner in the middle this coming season.

DALLAS COUNTY DA: Dez Bryant’s mother doesn’t want to press charges

Angela Bryant - Mother of Dez Bryant - The Boys Are Back blog

The mother of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant doesn’t want to pursue an assault case against her son, according to The Associated Press.

Bryant was arrested July 16 on a charge of misdemeanor family violence following an altercation with Angela Bryant. Dez Bryant allegedly slapped his mother in the face with a ball cap and ripped her clothing while grabbing her.

A Dallas County district attorney’s spokesperson told The AP that the case DeSoto (Texas) police filed against Bryant includes an affidavit of non-prosecution from the complainant. The affidavit means the complainant doesn’t want to proceed.

The DA still can choose to pursue action against Dez Bryant, but Angela Bryant’s affidavit likely would end any plans for prosecution. KXAS-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth reported the DA might speak with her about her decision.

Jamille Bradfield, Dallas County district attorney spokesperson told NFL.com and NFL Network that despite Angela Bryant’s request not to proceed with the charge "that document in it of itself does not make the case go away, we will still evaluate it."

If the charge does go away, it wouldn’t necessarily clear Dez Bryant of trouble with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Bryant still might be disciplined under the NFL’s far-reaching personal-conduct policy. This was Bryant’s first arrest since coming into the NFL, but he has been involved in other highly publicized incidents that Goodell could take into consideration.

INJURY UPDATE: Felix Jones medically cleared to practice

TRAINING CAMP UPDATE: Felix Jones medically cleared to practice - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones has been medically cleared to practice before the start of training camp, according to a source.

Jones, who rushed for 575 yards and one touchdown before losing the starting job to DeMarco Murray in 2011, underwent shoulder surgery the day after the season ended.

Jones missed all of Dallas’ offseason workouts while recovering from the procedure.

The Cowboys open training camp Wednesday for quarterbacks, rookies and injured players in Irving, Texas. Jones, however, will be available to practice with the full squad July 30 in Oxnard, Calif.

Felix Jones, a former first-round pick in 2008 out of Arkansas, has missed a total of 16 games in his career. He’s had only one season, 2010, where he played in all 16 games, during which he rushed for a career-high 800 yards on 185 carries.

Jones’ return also gives the Dallas Cowboys a healthy backfield to start training camp.

Murray missed the last three games of the 2011 season after suffering a fractured ankle Dec. 11 against the New York Giants. Murray, who led the team with 897 yards in his rookie season, didn’t miss any offseason workouts and was cleared to practice several weeks ago.

TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: Youth movement could be taking over on the Dallas Cowboys D-Line

Training camp begins soon, and it’s time to start counting off the days. The position-by-position primer the Dallas Cowboys defensive line position - The Boys Are Back blog

Training camp begins soon, and it’s time to start counting off the days. The position-by-position primer the Dallas Cowboys defensive line position.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware (R) pressures Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (C) before Jackson throws an interception as tight end Zach Miller looks to block in the second half - The Boys Are Back blog

Big Issue: There are some question marks here on the defensive line at both end and nose tackle and how the playing time will shake out. But possibly the biggest issue from this group will be the emergence of Jason Hatcher. Coming out of minicamp, Hatcher arguably had the best set of practices among any defensive player. He was as active as one could be in non-contact drills and his coaches and teammates believe he’s primed for a breakthrough season. That’s what the Cowboys need from Hatcher, who has been more of a role player and rotation end during his career. But he asked DL coach Brian Baker to promise him a year ago that he’d be the starter if he was clearly the best coming out of camp. Hatcher was the best, got the starting job and played well last year when healthy. Now the question is, can he take it to another level?

Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, defensive end Marcus Spears, defensive end Sean Lissemore, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff pray while team personnel attend to defensive end Clifton Geathers after he was injured - The Boys Are Back blog

Scouting Department: In my view, the defensive line has the least amount of questions going into to camp, unlike offensive line or wide receiver. I know there are those of you that don’t believe what I just said, but it’s true. If Jason Hatcher starts at right defensive end with Sean Lissemore and rookie Tyrone Crawford as the backups, it’s a good rotation. If Kenyon Coleman, Marcus Spears and Clifton Geathers work on the left side again, it’s a good rotation. At nose, Jay Ratliff will once again be your starter but there will be an interesting battle at the backup spot with Josh Brent and Robert Callaway trying to win that job. I really liked what I saw from Geathers and Callaway in the minicamps so we will see if they can carry that over into training camp. Callaway also showed me some ability when I studied him in the preseason for the Detroit Lions last year. There is some position flexibility with Lissemore jumping inside to take some reps at nose. He will most likely be paired inside with Ratliff when Rob Ryan goes to his four-man nickel front as a rusher with DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. I think there is a pretty good shot that we could see Lissemore as a starter on that open side next to Ware. It will be the job of these defensive linemen to keep blockers off the linebackers to allow them to run and make stops.    – Bryan Broaddus

Rookie Watch: All eyes will likely be fixed on rookie Tyrone Crawford, a third-round pick from Boise State. Crawford  (6-4, 282) didn’t do much this summer because of a quad injury he sustained early in the OTA practices. The club has Crawford pegged as a high-motor, ultra-intense defensive player who should be able to contribute in spot duty this year. His progress and development might be a big factor in the Cowboys’ decisions to keep a couple of veterans at defensive end in Spears and Coleman.

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Greatest 25: Short-handed, Dorsett Goes 99 Yards To History

Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine decided to count down the best of the best, the top 25 plays in franchise history. Here is No. 4 and a snippet from the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine story:

Dallas Cowboys Tony Dorsett 99 yard run - The Boys Are Back blog

With only 10 players on the field, Tony Dorsett raced into history.

 

When ranking the greatest plays in the history of America’s Team, this one is the most difficult. For in all its brilliance and majestic elegance, for the singular moment that it was – one that almost stopped time in the sense that everyone watching, a national audience, remembers exactly where they were some 29 years later –

In terms of spectacular, record-smashing, don’t-believe-we-just-saw-that moments, Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard touchdown against the Vikings on Jan. 3, 1983 was arguably the greatest individual play in franchise history. It’s an unbreakable record, one that has never even been matched, before or since. And it’s all the more impressive that the Cowboys had just 10 players on the field, fullback Ron Springs mistakenly on the sidelines. Heck, Dorsett didn’t even have a lead block on the play. Throw in that the game was on Monday Night Football and it’s one of those iconic moments in sports history.

The Cowboys were trailing, 24-13, in the fourth, about halfway between the goal line and the 1-yard line, a safety definitely possible. Quarterback Danny White took the snap under center and turned almost immediately, Dorsett taking the ball, sprinting through the gap between the offensive tackle and guard, and as quickly as the 5-yard line, there wasn’t a defender within eight feet. He then avoided the safety at the 15-yard line with a simple plant and change of direction to his right, announcer Frank Gifford telling his MNF audience at that point, “Watch out, he has great speed.”

And by the time those words had been spoken, Dorsett was racing across the 30, as in the exact painted numbers “3” and “0” on the right sidelines. Teammate Drew Pearson was running in front of him, trying to throw a block on one of the remaining two defenders, one of which reached out with an attempted wrap around the 18-yard line, but Dorsett ran through the arm effort with ease, slapping the would-be tackler away with his left hand, almost like a nuisance, a swarming bug in his path to immorality.

He then ran into the end zone and spiked the ball before turning to embrace Pearson’s hug. The score, the outcome, none of this has really mattered since that night. This shall forever be the Tony Dorsett Game.

Courtesy: Jeff Sullivan | Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine

Greatest 25: Butch Johnson Stretches Out In Super Way

Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine decided to count down the best of the best, the top 25 plays in franchise history. Here is No. 5 and a snippet from the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine story:

Dallas Cowboys Butch Johnson in Super Bowl vs Denver - The Boys Are Back blog

Simply Spectacular, Jan. 15, 1978:

 

The Cowboys led the Denver Broncos, 13-3, midway through the third quarter of Super Bowl XII. After dominating early, forcing three fumbles and four interceptions in the first half alone, Dallas should’ve been in command, but momentum was starting to change. The Cowboys were facing a third-and-10 at Denver’s 45-yard line.

There is nothing like the national, heck, worldwide stage of the Super Bowl. Make a spectacular catch in Week 3 at Cincinnati, and sure, it’s going to be replayed that night, maybe make a few Plays of the Week reels, but the highlight is quickly lost in the passage of time. Not so on the final Sunday of the football season. Just ask Lynn Swann, John Taylor … or more recently Santonio Holmes.

And then there’s Michael “Butch” McColly Johnson, the Cowboys longtime return specialist and third wide receiver who hauled in a Roger Staubach pass in such aerobatic brilliance that it’s impossible to watch any collection of outstanding Super Bowl plays without its appearance. Just recently, in an ESPN poll, the catch was rated among the most memorable plays – that’s plays, not just catches – in the 45-year history of the Big Game.

The call came in from head coach Tom Landry, “Spread orange left, ray 15,” but quarterback Roger Staubach slightly altered the play in the huddle, later explaining, “(Broncos free safety) Bernard Jackson had been hanging in the middle. He wasn’t dropping into a deep zone as he should have been doing. Our receivers had mentioned it to me and I remembered it in the huddle. Butch wasn’t supposed to figure in the play, but I told him ‘Run a good post pattern.’

“When I faded, I saw that Jackson hadn’t dropped quickly enough. (Cornerback) Steve Foley did a good job, but Jackson should have stopped the play. When I threw, I thought the pass was too long. I couldn’t believe it when Butch made a sensational catch.”

For what it’s worth, the catch never would’ve counted today, especially with the recent addition to the rulebook of completing the reception. Johnson left his feet just inside the 5-yard line with outstretched arms and fingertips and somehow, someway, hauled the ball in around the 1-yard line, his left shoulder landing on the ground as he completed the 360-spin while crossing the goal line. Before he was standing upright, though, the ball was on the ground in the end zone.

In the locker room after the game, according to Sports Illustrated, a reporter said, “It looked spectacular,” to which Johnson simply replied, “It was.”

Courtesy: Jeff Sullivan | Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine

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