Monthly Archives: June, 2013

PLAYING FOR A CONTRACT: No long-term deal for Anthony Spencer

dallas cowboys outside linebacker anthony spencer (93) forces philadelphia eagles quarterback nick foles (9) to fumble - the boys are back blog

Ever since the Dallas Cowboys placed the franchise tag on defensive end Anthony Spencer in March it was a long-shot that they would be able to sign him to a long-term deal.

The depressed free-agent market have driven the prices down and Spencer, though he wants to stay in Dallas, had no intention of taking a below market deal when he was already guaranteed $10.6 million this year with the franchise tag.

Not surprisingly the two sides decided to end the impasse and just concentrate on the 2013 season with no further talks.

“Both sides are happy with the one-year deal,” Spencer’s agent Jordan Woy said Tuesday. “We tried hard but could not work out a deal. We have a very positive relationship with the Cowboys. Anthony is happy and he will play to the best of his ability again this season”

The Cowboys had until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with Spencer, per league rules.

Woy said no one has broken off talks but he acknowledged that they aren’t talking and will probably just concentrate on the season.

“Obviously we have to take a look at what people signed for and what they’ll make going forward,” Cowboys vice-president Stephen Jones said ominously two weeks ago. “There’s some good football players that what they got paid might affect what we want to pay Anthony going forward.” 

“There’s nothing here that’s not on the up and up and friendly,” Jones said. “If it works out, it works out. We’d love to have Spencer here, but we also understand it has got to work for him, too.” 

Spencer will most certainly get a long-term deal next spring in Dallas or elsewhere as the Cowboys will not put a franchise tag on him for a third straight year, guaranteeing him roughly $15.2 million in 2014.

AROUND THE NFL: Ex-Patriots TE, Aaron Hernandez charged with murder

AROUND THE NFL - Ex-Patriots TE, Aaron Hernandez charged with murder

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder in the first degree in the death of Odin Lloyd during his arraignment in Attleboro District Court on Wednesday.

Hernandez also faces the following charges: one count of carrying a firearm without a license; two counts of possession of a large capacity firearm; and two counts of possession of a firearm without a valid ID card.

Hernandez, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, will be held without bail at the Bristol County House of Correction and Jail. Hernandez also was ordered to appear in court for a July 24 probable cause hearing.

The murder charge was announced at 2:44 pm ET, roughly six hours after Hernandez was taken from his North Attleboro, Mass., home in handcuffs after being arrested by the Massachusetts State Police and North Attleboro Police. The Patriots released the fourth-year Pro Bowl tight end less than 90 minutes after he was taken by police.

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ENTIRE DRAFT CLASS SIGNED: All seven 2013 Dallas Cowboy draft picks have signed contracts

Dallas Cowboys' top three 2013 Draft picks show new Dallas Cowboy jersey - The Boys Are Back blog

Center Travis Frederick was the first pick of the Dallas Cowboys in the 2013 NFL Draft. And he was the last to be signed to a contract.

The important thing is that the deal is finally done, as Frederick agreed to a four-year contract with the Cowboys on Tuesday. Financial details were not disclosed but Frederick signed for roughly $6.8 million, per a source.

The package also included guaranteed money in the ballpark of $5.5 million with signing bonus of $3.4 million. 

He was the 31st pick of the first round and is expected to start immediately at center. He took all the snaps with the first team in OTAs and minicamp.

Frederick’s signing completes the seven-member draft class and marks the earliest signing by the entire class by the Cowboys in years, three weeks before the start of training camp July 19.

RELATED: Cowboys ink 2nd-round pick Gavin Escobar

The Dallas Cowboys came to terms with second-round pick Gavin Escobar on a four-year deal.

The contract is worth roughly $4.3 million for the tight end who is set to backup Pro Bowler Jason Witten in 2013 and be his replacement in the near future. 

Escobar is also expected to play a big role as a rookie. The Cowboys plan to use more two tight end sets to get him and Witten on the field together. He could be a huge factor in the red zone as well.

RELATED: Third-round pick J.J. Wilcox in the fold

The Cowboys signed rookie safety J.J. Wilcox to a four-year contract.

Wilcox got roughly $2.73 million, including guaranteed money in the ball park of $586,000, per a source.

The third round pick, who is expected to compete for a starting spot at safety as a rookie, got a deal one day after fellow third-round pick Terrance Williams did the same. They join cornerback B.W. Webb, linebacker DeVonte Holloman and running back Joseph Randle as draft picks under contract.

RELATED: Dallas Cowboys, Terrance Williams agree to deal

IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have secured third-round wide receiver Terrance Williams to a four-year deal.

Williams, the No. 74 pick overall, will receive a signing bonus of roughly $619,500.

The Cowboys got Williams with the extra pick they acquired in their draft-day trade with San Francisco, moving from No. 18 in the first round to No. 31 where they picked Travis Frederick.

A Dallas native, Williams caught 97 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Baylor. He finished his collegiate career with 202 catches for 3,334 yards and 27 touchdowns.

The Cowboys expect Williams to be their No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. After a slow start at the rookie minicamp, Williams’ play improved and had a productive minicamp, which ended last week.

HANDS-ON APPROACH: Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware working with instinctive DE Kyle Wilber this spring

Dallas Cowboys DE Kyle Wilber - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Anthony Spencer watched Kyle Wilber fill in for him at defensive end in the OTAs and mini-camp, and he said Wilber showed instinct for the position.

“He’s quick off the ball,” Spencer said of the second-year player, drafted in 2012 as an outside linebacker but moved to defensive end in the switch to the 4-3. “He’s just got to trust in himself to get off the ball and doing that every play. Just his get-off alone makes up for a lot of his type of size, playing in the trenches. That’s what he’s definitely working on right now.”

Wilber got a chance to get first-team snaps in the offseason practices while Spencer sat out with a knee injury. It gave the Cowboys an extended look at the 6-4, 252-pound Wilber. Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli has said he believes Wilber can be a speed rusher.

Spencer, speaking at the mini-camp last week at Valley Ranch, said Wilber held his own against tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free in the practices. It reminded Spencer of his days as a young edge rusher going against former Cowboys tackle Flozell Adams.

“I got my butt whipped by Flo a lot when I was a rookie and my second year,” Spencer said. “It definitely helped me develop and get to where I am right now. I tell him all the time, it happens to everybody. So it’s good for you. It’s humbling, and it gets you on the right track, definitely.”

Spencer said he and DeMarcus Ware were literally hands-on in showing Wilber everything they could about the position, much as former defensive end Greg Ellis did for them.

“When Greg was here, he would always try to help us with our hand placement. Just talking it out, it helps us at the same time, to be able to explain what we’re doing to somebody else,” Spencer said. “And it helps us to realize what we’re doing. So it helps him, it helps me at the same time, especially with me being out right now. It’s kind of like living vicariously through him right now.”

Grading The Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft - Round 4 - Defensive End Kyle Wilber - The Boys Are Back blog

Photo: Dallas Cowboys 2012 Draft pick – Defensive End Kyle Wilber

FEEDING OFF EACH OTHER: Dez Bryant made spectacular catches, because Morris Claiborne made him

MAKING EACH OTHER BETTER - Dez Bryant made spectacular catches, because Morris Claiborne made him

Dez Bryant made spectacular catches against the defense of Morris Claiborne in mini-camp.

A lot of them.

But the Dallas Cowboys receiver put a positive spin on it for the Cowboys cornerback – he made it require spectacular catches.

“That is credit to the great defenses and the coverage,” Bryant said. “He is putting pressure on me and making it difficult for me to make the catch. So you can’t take that away. I’m just trying my best to make a play.”

Maybe it’s a sign that Claiborne can take a step forward in his second year. He started 15 games last year as a first-round pick, but he had only one interception, so his impact was not considered splashy.

Then again, he missed all of the offseason last year recovering from wrist surgery.

“I’m a lot more comfortable,” Claiborne said. “Last year I was searching to find a place because I didn’t have an off-season. Now it is what it is. I’m a lot more comfortable just because I’m out here having the opportunity to get better.”

Healthy this spring, Claiborne hit the weight room and added six pounds. Bryant has noticed.

“He is a lot stronger,” Bryant said. “You can tell by looking at him. He is real tough. That’s what I love. He is adding an element to his game, that is, being more physical.

“He already has the eye for the ball. He has the hands of a receiver. He is just putting pieces together to be one of the best in the league.”

SPECIAL BOND: Dallas Cowboys express Happy Father’s Day wishes

Fathers and Football - Happy Fathers Day - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys wish you a Happy Father's Day - The Boys Are Back blog

Happy Fathers Day from the Dallas Cowboys (Click HERE to watch)

Some Dallas Cowboys players took a minute to talk about having the chance to be a father, and what fathers day means to them. (Duration – 2:12)

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Famous Father - Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and his two sons, C.J and Cooper - Father's Day - The Boys Are Back blog..Tony Romo and son Hawkins - Happy Fathers Day - Dallas Cowboys father - The Boys Are Back blog

Happy Fathers Day - Jim Garrett (center) was a scout for the Dallas Cowboys, Jason (left) played quarterback and is now the team's head coach. Pictured at right is Jim's son Judd Garrett

Happy Fathers Day - Jerry Jones (center) is flanked by his sons, Jerry Jr. (left) and Stephen Jones - The Boys Are Back blog..jason-witten-82-and-son-cj-witten-2 - happy fathers day - the boys are back blog 2013


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A very special Happy Father’s Day wish to my son, Robert Andrew. This year, he celebrates the addition of his third child. Hope you’re enjoying this special occasion with your beautiful daughters and loving wife.

Happy Father’s Day!

I Love you

 

 

 

 

.

Happy Father's Day 2013 - The Boys Are Back blog - Father and Son

FRONT AND CENTER: Dallas Cowboys impressed that Travis Frederick doesn’t have to be shown twice

FRONT AND CENTER - Dallas Cowboys #70 impressed that Travis Frederick doesn’t have to be shown twice

The Dallas Cowboys walked away from the spring practices sold on new center Travis Frederick’s football intelligence.

It was what they thought it was.

“One of the traits that we identified early was his ability to communicate, his retention of the system, his ability to communicate it out,” offensive line coach Bill Callahan said. “Those are all real positives that came to fruition during the course of the mini-camps and the OTAs.”

Frederick practiced only at center during the spring as the Cowboys gave him every snap they could at the position they drafted him to play.

“For a young guy, he really seems to grasp what we’re trying to get accomplished in a short period of time,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “The challenge for him is blocking across from him. It’s Hatcher. It’s Ratliff. It’s some of those guys. That’s a tough ball snap. I think he’s understanding that.”

Frederick said he’s got the big stuff down. It’s the little stuff he’s working on now – “the technique things here and there, instead of trying to pick up a playbook and pick that stuff up,” he said. “I feel like I’ve picked that up pretty well as far as assignments and stuff like that, but obviously, there will be little things here and there.

“And once we start seeing some different defenses, it’s going to be a little bit more as well. Right now, I’m just focused on working on a lot of the little technique stuff in pass protection and running and taking advantage of a lot of the things that Coach Callahan has taught me.”

Callahan is good with that. Frederick at least doesn’t have to be shown twice.

“You tell him one time, and he gets it,” Callahan said. “He may err on occasion, but he’s not a repetitive error guy. He’s not going to make the same mistake twice. He listens, he learns. He understands the situations that he’s in and he can fix it on the move. He can rectify them pretty quick. So it’s been a real positive from that sense.”

NO COOLERS OR CAMERAS: Dallas Cowboys, NFL limiting what fans may bring into the stadium

NO COOLERS OR CAMERAS - Dallas Cowboys, NFL limiting what fans may bring into the stadium

The Dallas Cowboys and the NFL announced a new bag policy, limiting what fans may bring into the stadium.

The league will now allow only clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags no bigger than 12 by 6 by 12 inches and a “clutch” bag, about the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap.

Fans can also bring in a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag like a Ziploc.

Medically necessary items will be allowed after they’ve been inspected.

Fans will not be allowed to bring in purses, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage, seat cushions, computer bags or camera bags.

The NFL has 12x6x12 bags with team logos on sale at http://www.nflshop.com, but fans can obtain their own anywhere, the league said. The price of the bags on http://www.nflshop.com was unavailable Thursday afternoon, but the text of the policy is there.

DALLAS MEDIA BROUGHT DOWN TO EARTH: Tony Romo tells reporters when it comes to the actual game, ‘You guys just don’t matter’

DALLAS MEDIA BROUGHT DOWN TO EARTH - Tony Romo tells reporters when it comes to the actual game, 'You guys just don't matter'

Tony Romo understands the job of the media. But, no offense – it has no affect on him.

“Not trying to be rude, but you guys just don’t matter,” Romo told reporters Tuesday at Valley Ranch as the Dallas Cowboys opened mini-camp.

He was answering a question about owner Jerry Jones’ thought that he should spend “Peyton Manning-type time” on the job and his heightened role in the game-planning inadvertently put more pressure on him.

He continued after his line drew a small laugh.

“I know you guys all have a job to do, and it helps grow the game and there’s a lot of talk about the game, and it’s a wonderful aspect of it,” he said. “But good/bad, none of it matters. It’s going to be played out on the field. No matter what, we’re going to have to open up the football season against the New York Giants, and whether you said great things or whether you guys may have said the Cowboys are whatever – the best ever, the worst ever, they can’t ever, they can – it doesn’t matter. You’ve still got to show up, and you’ve got to play.

“All the other stuff is for people to talk about and enjoy. To me, when you sit there and look at it, it just doesn’t matter. It’s just stuff.”

Romo was asked if it’s fair to say he has thick skin.

He smiled.

“It’s fair to say,” he said.

So Romo understands he will be the subject of conversation. But he will stick to his philosophy:

“Someone tells you you’re the greatest ever? ‘Thanks.’ Move on,” he said. “Someone tells you you’re the worst ever? ‘Thanks.’ Move on.’ And you go out there and keep getting better. And eventually, you’ll have your best chance for success.”

Editors comment: ESPN, NFL website, and other media sources took exception to Tony Romo’s comments in the final few minutes of his twenty-minute interview. Please watch the video below to get a complete picture of what Tony Romo was talking about regarding the media’s overall impact to the team. Tony Romo brought the Dallas media down to earth, as he explained that future success of the Dallas Cowboys will come from executing team goals within the organization, not from media hype or sports reporters opinions. He goes further into the issue when he explains that a number of offseason changes are underway and that internal details (such as the recent play-caller hype) and timelines are either irrelevant or withheld for competitive or confidentiality reasons during the offseason.


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Tony Romo: Ready To Go

Tony Romo talks about sitting out this weeks mini-camp, and his thoughts on the play-calling situation. (Duration – 20:08)

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FATHERS DAY ACTIVITY: Dallas Cowboys to host Field Rally this Saturday

FATHERS DAY ACTIVITY - Dallas Cowboys to host Field Rally this Saturday - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

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.

NFL Pro Bowl - Dallas Cowboys mascot Rowdy poses with Polynesian dancers at the 2013 Pro Bowl tailgate party - The Boys Are Back blog

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.

FULL BACKUPS: Dallas Cowboys look at versatile Caleb McSurdy, Kevin Kowalski in backfield

Missing Lawrence Vickers, who is recovering from back surgery, the Cowboys gave themselves a look at two players at fullback in OTAs this week.

Caleb McSurdy, a linebacker taken in the seventh round last year, and Kevin Kowalski, an undrafted offensive lineman two years ago, both gave it a shot.

“We did work out McSurdy as a fullback as well as a linebacker when he was coming out of school, so he has a little versatility that way,” coach Jason Garrett said.

McSurdy even got a shot at a pass during 11-on-11 goal-line work. The ball, from Kyle Orton, was a little low and wide, so McSurdy didn’t make the catch.

But the Cowboys just wanted to get a feel.

“It wasn’t a full-speed deal, obviously,” Garrett said. “It gives us a chance to look at a few of those kinds of things that you might need to get to at some point once we get into training camp and in preseason.”

McSurdy spent all of his rookie year on injured reserve after suffering an Achilles tear in training camp.

Kowalski spent most of last year on PUP because of a foot injury.

COWBOYS 2013 ROSTER UPDATE: Dallas re-signs safety Eric Frampton

dallas cowboys strong safety eric frampton (27) recovers the ball that was fumbled by dallas cowboys running back lance dunbar - the boys are back blog

The Dallas Cowboys signed safety Eric Frampton on Wednesday. To make room for Frampton, Dallas waived/injured defensive tackle Robert Callaway.

Frampton appeared in 13 games with two starts last season for the Cowboys. For his career, he has played 89 games, including two starts, and recorded 25 tackles, two tackles for loss, three pass breakups and one forced fumble on defense, while adding 112 tackles on special teams. 

The team’s safety positions are up for grabs. Barry Church, who is returning from the Achilles’ he tore in Week 3 last season, has been running first team in the Cowboys’ OTAs. Will Allen, signed in the off-season, and Matt Johnson, a fourth-round pick in 2012 who missed his rookie season with hamstring and back injuries, each have had first-team snaps at the other safety position. The Cowboys used a third-round pick on J.J. Wilcox, who also is expected to contend for playing time.

PLAYING THE BLAME GAME: Knowing who calls plays, helps finger pointing later

Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan said RT Doug Free never strayed away from his dedication to the job - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

In four years of covering Bill Parcells, no one really knew exactly who called the plays. Oh, people had their theories, like Tony Sparano did so for a while and then Sean Payton also had a hand in it. Maybe his first offensive coordinator, Maurice Carthon, sent the plays in.

What I always heard was Parcells would tell the “play-caller” he wanted to go deep or to run Aveion Cason to the outside and then it was their job to figure out a few plays from the script to run. So who was the real play-caller there? No one knew and that’s how Parcells wanted it.

And honestly, no one really cared.

My point is that all the hoopla that took place yesterday at Valley Ranch that caused more national headlines really has nothing to do with the play-caller. Honestly, I don’t think any of Tuesday’s bulldogs really care at all who sends in “X, right, 23 Flash, Double-Dip, Geronimo-Hitch & Pitch … on two.”

Other than knowing who to point blame to come September, no one really cares if Bill Callahan sends in the play or if Jason Garrett will be calling it again, or if Tony Romo will call his own plays from the huddle.

This once again comes down to authority. It always stems back to Jerry Jones. Every single inch of criticism about this team is pointed at Jerry, indirectly or not. Every gripe about Romo, in my opinion, is a dig at Jerry for making him his franchise quarterback. All the negative remarks about guys like Free and Austin – again blaming Jerry for paying them.

Anything about Garrett and his play-calling or game-management – once again stems from Jerry’s “hire.”

So with Jerry coming out Tuesday and strongly hinting Callahan would call the plays, and then Callahan eventually admitting as much a few minutes later, it gives everyone another chance to talk about the owner controlling the team and the head coach just playing along.

Hello, welcome to Valley Ranch.

It’s funny to me how people continue to act amazed how things work around here. Nothing new since 1989.

I guess my point is that “play-calling” was the latest issue to spark the flames here this week, but in reality, it’s just another chapter in a long novel that hasn’t changed in 24 years. And there are no signs that it ever will.

Courtesy: Nick Eatman | Dallas Cowboys writer

COWBOYS POST DRAFT BOARD: Jerry Jones says that information is no longer sensitive

Dallas Cowboys' top three 2013 Draft picks with Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, and Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he is not sensitive about the Cowboys’ draft board being discovered.

The draft is over, right?

“I’m a little hard-pressed to see where the issue is at all after the draft is over,” he told reporters Tuesday at Valley Ranch. “We don’t put anything up there that’s particularly sensitive. Those are the opinions and the work of our scouts. The fact that there might have been a player up there a round earlier or a round later than it is on a lot of other people’s boards or opinion doesn’t impact us.”

“I don’t see the negative aspect of that information,” Jones said. “We won’t make it a practice of publishing it, but still, I don’t think it’s an important detail.”  

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was tight-lipped.

“I didn’t follow that story very closely,” he said. “Obviously we have a draft process that we believe in. A draft board is part of that process. A lot of discussions are a part of that process, too – the interpretation of that draft board, and then we make our best decision. So any comment beyond that is not something I want to get into.”

NFL LOST LEGEND: Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones dies at 74

Deacon Jones - The Boys Are Back blog

David “Deacon” Jones, the Hall of Fame defensive end whom some consider the greatest defensive player in NFL history, has died at the age of 74.

The Washington Redskins, for whom Jones played his final NFL season in 1974, posted an obituary on their website Monday night after announcing the news. Natural causes was given as the cause of Jones’ death.

Jones’ NFL career started in 1961, when he was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 14th round (186th overall) out of Mississippi Vocational (now known as Mississippi Valley State). Jones spent his first 11 seasons in Los Angeles, where he teamed with Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy to form “The Fearsome Foursome” — one of the most famous defensive lines in NFL history. Jones was selected to seven consecutive Pro Bowls with the Rams from 1964 to 1970 and made eight overall.

“A tremendously sad day for our Rams family with the passing of Deacon Jones,” tweeted Kevin Demoff, executive vice president of football operations and COO for the now-St. Louis Rams. “Revered on & off the field, a legend who redefined the game.”

Few would disagree with former Rams coach George Allen, who labeled Jones as the “greatest defensive end of modern football.” Jones, also a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, was nicknamed “Secretary of Defense” by Rams fans. Jones later was named “defensive end of the Century” by Sports Illustrated in 1999.

Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.

Jones — who proved to be one of the more durable players in NFL history, missing just five games during his decorated 14-year career — was traded to the San Diego Chargers in 1972 and had immediate success, receiving defensive captain honors and a Pro Bowl selection. Jones finished his career in 1974 with the Washington Redskins.

In addition to his accomplishments on the field, the outspoken Jones is credited with coining the phrase”sacking the quarterback.”

Sacks weren’t kept as an official NFL statistic until 1982. Had they been kept far earlier, few doubt Jones would be the NFL’s all-time leader. According to the Rams’ media guide, Jones recorded a team-best 159.5 sacks with the franchise and 173.5 in his career. He recorded double-digit sacks seven times with the Rams and became the first defensive lineman to post 100 solo tackles in a season (1967).

Jones achieved success in the corporate world in the decades following his retirement, but the football accolades continued piling on. He was named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team in 1994 and voted the 15th greatest player in league history in a 2010 NFL Network special.

Jones made several trips to visit troops in Iraq and was active in the community. He particularly enjoyed working with youngsters and youth organizations. His passion for helping shape young minds led him to start the Deacon Jones Foundation in 1997. He served as the foundation’s president and CEO.


Deacon Jones: 1938-2013

Related video: NFL Films remembers Deacon Jones

NFL Films remembers Deacon Jones - The Boys Are Back blog
06:05 – NFL Films looks back at Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones’ legendary career with words from his contemporaries and the man himself. Click HERE to watch video.

AROUND THE NFL: Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly has jawbone cancer

AROUND THE NFL- Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly has jawbone cancer - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly announced today (Monday) that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

The Hall of Fame signal-caller is battling Squamous-cell carcinoma of the upper jawbone, and he is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday.

“This past couple of weeks has been difficult for me and because of the nature of social media I thought it would be best to share with everyone what has been going on with my health,” Kelly said in a statement on the Bills’ official website. “I was recently diagnosed with Squamous-cell carcinoma (cancer) of the upper jawbone.

“I have undergone tests which have shown that the cancer is isolated to my upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of my body. Surgery is scheduled for June 7th and doctors have told me that the prognosis for my recovery is very good.”

Kelly knows there’s a long road ahead, but he expressed optimism Monday that he’ll be OK.

“When you hear the word cancer, it automatically scares the crap out of you,” Kelly told reporters Monday. “I know it not only scared me, but it scared my family. Like everything, it’s just another river to cross and another stumbling block.

“I’ve been to the top many, many times, and I’ve been to the bottom. It’s just one of those roller-coaster rides I’ve been on throughout my life; it’s just another challenge for me. I know I’ll beat it — that’s the bottom line.”

Jim Kelly, Marv Levy, and Bruce Smith 2009 - The Boys Are Back blog

Kelly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002 and is the Bills’ all-time leading passer with 35,467 yards. He also led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990 to 1993.

Our thoughts are with Jim and the entire Kelly family. All of us here at NFL.com and NFL Network wish him a speedy recovery.


VIDEO - AROUND THE NFL- Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly has jawbone cancer - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Click HERE to watch the video – Duration – 5:07

JUNE 1ST CAP REPORT: Dallas Cowboys working with $5.5 million in the coffers

dallas cowboys wide receiver cole beasley (14) catches a pass between defensive back brandon carr (39), linebacker bruce carter (54) and linebacker sean lee (50) - the boys are back blog

When the Dallas Cowboys released defensive end Marcus Spears in March, he was designated as a post-June 1 cut, giving the Cowboys $2 million in salary cap space.

Well, the team gets that extra money now, and, added up the savings with the pay cut tackle Doug Free accepted, the team picked up $5.5 million in savings.

The Cowboys can use this extra cap space to take care of middle linebacker Sean Lee, who is entering the final year of his contract, and maybe even outside linebacker Bruce Carter. The team can also make moves to secure the services of wide receiver Dez Bryant or grab another free agent.

It’s doubtful the Cowboys extend Bryant and Carter right now considering each has two years left on their deals.

But Lee seems to be a logical choice and talks could happen during training camp and continue through the season.

HARNESSING PAIN: DeMarcus Ware found a way after all the injuries to play in all 16 games

HARNESSING PAIN - DeMarcus Ware found a way after all the injuries to play in all 16 games - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas – Most players don’t look back at a season with 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles and call it the most difficult time of their professional career.

But that’s how DeMarcus Ware referred to his 2012 season, in which he dealt with more injuries than he could have possibly imagined. The first hit him early in the year, while the rest limited him later on.

“Training camp, I tore my hamstring, so I was dealing with that the whole season,” Ware said. “I fractured my right wrist, wore a cast on that. It’s fine now. I had an elbow harness on and the last three games I tore my labrum. I had an elbow and a shoulder harness on. I didn’t have that arm.”

Ware’s 11.5 sacks were his fewest since 2009, when he totaled 11. He’s finished each of his last seven seasons with double-digit sack totals, so even through all the injuries, he was bound to reach the quarterback better than most outside linebackers or defensive ends throughout the league.

He compiled four of his forced fumbles and nine of his sacks within the first eight games of the season. Most of his sacks occurred before a hyperextended elbow and a torn labrum in his shoulder rendered his entire right arm practically useless.

“I still had my feet, being able to run,” Ware said. “It was hard. But the thing is, it’s what you’re out there playing for. There was a passion of playing with your teammates and being part of the Dallas Cowboys organization.”

Ware still found a way after all the injuries to play in all 16 games. He’s suited up for every game of his professional career since getting drafted in 2005, and he doesn’t plan on missing any time now that the 2013 season is getting underway.

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware 2012 season dealt with more injuries than he could have possibly imagined - The Boys Are Back blog

In his first season as an NFL defensive end, Ware’s easing into Organized Team Activities after undergoing surgery on his labrum after the season. He elected not to get surgery on his elbow.

“I actually feel pretty good,” he said. “I’m probably about 85 percent. I’ll be ready for the season. It’s a process, a process of healing and rehabbing and getting ready.”

The former linebacker said he’d never dealt with injuries that completely stopped him from doing what he knew he could do. He could go out and pass rush, but his body wouldn’t allow him to make the same moves he was accustomed to making throughout his career.

“That’s sort of discouraging,” Ware said. “But getting out there and still playing and fighting through it, I think that was the main thing.”

Just like Jason Witten, who somehow suited up to start the season after lacerating his spleen in the preseason, Ware was a veteran who wasn’t going to miss time.

Ware finished with just 2.5 sacks the second half of the year, but teams still had to account for No. 94 on the outside. That allowed players such as Anthony Spencer, who compiled eight of his 11 sacks the final half of the year, to thrive.

“Sometimes your presence out there is a lot more than what you think,” Ware said. “If you’re hurt, you still can get the double teams that can really free a lot of other guys up. You might not be as productive, but it’s going to transition. There’re 11 guys out there. The other 10 need to make plays while you’re out there still doing what you can do.”

The Cowboys expect Ware to come back and play the same way he had in the past at the start of this season, and he’s excited about how he fits in with the schemes of new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.

“It’s very simple, but it’s a lot of technique work that goes into it, which Marinelli and Kiffin are teaching,” Ware said. “I think it’s going to be really great for us. I see the corners out there locking guys up and playing really well, and Sean Lee, he’s being that vocal mike ’backer for us. I think this transition is going to be really good for us.”


VIDEO - HARNESSING PAIN - DeMarcus Ware found a way after all the injuries to play in all 16 games - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

HARNESSING PAIN – DeMarcus Ware interview (Click HERE or on picture)

Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware sits down with Rowan Kavner to discuss what he called his toughest season as a professional athlete. (Duration 4:16)

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