Category Archives: Dallas Cowboys Former rival

THE GREEN SCENE: Hall of Famer will watch his son play in Hall of Fame Game

THE GREEN SCENE - Hall of Famer will watch his son play in Hall of Fame Game - Dallas Cowboys WR Jared Green

CANTON, Ohio – Few people get to see their fathers inducted into the Hall of Fame. Even fewer get to play in a Hall of Fame Game in front of their Hall of Fame father.

Dallas Cowboys receiver Jared Green will take the field in Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, just five years after presenting his father into the Hall of Fame. Green’s dad, Darrell, will be in attendance to watch his son play.

“I’m so excited about tomorrow,” Green said. “Only a number of people in the world can say that. I also get to play for the Dallas Cowboys, and I also get to have my dad, who’s a Hall of Famer, in the stands. He’s here and he’s in the festivities and this is his group. He’s an alumni, so this is special.”

Green’s father actually answered the phone while sitting on stage right before the Hall of Fame ceremony began when Green called to let his dad know the team had made it in.

As his father sat on stage at Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony, Green toured the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where he found his father’s bust under the 2008 inductees for the first time.

“This is the craziest weekend of my life,” Green said. “Last time I was here, we were in the parade, we had probably 200 guests here, and I didn’t get the opportunity to come here, plus I was preparing my speech. By the time we had finished up and I was on the stage, all my family had come here and done this, so this is my first time being in here and seeing the bust. It’s crazy.”

Green said it blows him away to see someone in his family, let alone someone as close to him as his father, with a statue sitting in the Hall of Fame surrounded by the legends of the game. He said everybody wants to go to the NFL and be great, but they rarely grow up saying they want to be a Hall of Famer.

“It’s almost like this untouchable kind of a dream,” Green said. “Those guys are like legends you can’t touch, but this is my father, you know? I think that’s just crazy.”

It made the moment and weekend much more special that Green could take in the experience as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

Five years earlier, as he was presenting his father into the Hall of Fame, Green said his dad always encouraged him to be the best at whatever he did. The undrafted receiver’s certainly accomplished that goal, allowing him to look at his father’s statue in the Hall of Fame as an NFL member himself.

“That’s what makes it even more special, that I’m not visiting this room with a bunch of buddies from a school event or something like that,” Green said. “I’m visiting this thing with my brothers, my teammates, and I’m about to play a game that’s dedicated to the same thing that my father’s in this Hall for.”

It was never easy for Green to be the son of a Hall of Fame player when he started playing football. Darrell Green amassed seven Pro Bowl selections and two Super Bowls as a first-round pick, totaling 54 interceptions during his career.

Meanwhile, Jared Green, who bounced from Carolina’s practice squad last year and now to Dallas’ roster this year, hasn’t played in an NFL game. He said he struggled with being referred to as Darrell Green’s son and not Jared Green during his early years in his football career, but he began to accept the circumstances and appreciate them.

“I just said, you know, this is a blessing to be who I am, and my dad has done everything that he’s done, and people are either going to talk about you great because of who your dad is, or they’re going to talk bad about you because of who your dad is,” he said. “But at the end of the day, who really cares? Just have fun. That’s really what my new philosophy is, have fun, enjoy it.”

There’s no doubt Jared Green will enjoy every moment of playing in tomorrow’s game tomorrow as his father watches on.

It’s likely Green will get enough playing time to make his mark in the Cowboys’ first preseason game, which should feature a heavy dose of backup players. He knows what kind of opportunity is in front of him, and his father will be there to root him on, even if the former Redskins defender has to cheer for a Cowboys receiver.

“My family’s just excited because they have another family member to root for,” Jared Green said.

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EVE OF THE ENSHRINEMENT: Gil Brandt’s 50 memories for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th anniversary

nfl pro football hall of fame - fifty years - the boys are back blog

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.

EVE OF THE ENSHRINEMENT - Gil Brandt’s 50 memories for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th anniversary - The Boys Are Back blog 2013
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.

Hall of Fame players 1964 NFL Draft, the most in any single year. Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach, Paul Warfield, Bob Hayes, Dave Wilcox, Paul Krause, Mel Renfro, Charley Taylor, Carl Eller and Bob Brown

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.

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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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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

HALL OF SHAMER: Brett Favre settles suit connected to sexually suggestive text messages

Brett Favre's Legacy - The Boys Are Back blog

Remember the lawsuit filed by two massage therapists alleging that Brett Favre sent sexually suggestive text messages?

The lawyer for the two women announced Friday that the case has been settled out of court. There’s no word on how much money Favre had to shell out to make the lawsuit disappear.

Massage therapists Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole alleged that Favre sent the racy texts to another therapist when he played for the New York Jets in 2008. The lawsuit claims the two women lost their jobs when they blew the whistle on Favre’s behavior.

snapper - nfl quarterback brett favre - The Boys Are Back blog

Favre has denied the allegations and unsuccessfully requested that the case be thrown out last year. Now that the case is settled, Favre can go back to riding his lawn tractor, coaching high school football and staying out of the NFL news cycle.

FLASHBACK–COWBOYS VS. PACKERS: Brett Favre dreamed of playing for the Dallas Cowboys

GB QB Brett Favre - Couldn't find a way to beat the Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog

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.”

Troy Aikman congratulated by Brett Favre - The Boys Are Back blog

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.”

Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers - The Boys Are Back blog

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.

Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach - Playing in New Orleans - The Boys Are Back blog

“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.”

Troy Aikman Michael Irvin Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog

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.

PREGAME PREPARATION: Ten Atlanta Falcons that Dallas Cowboys fans need to know (Special Feature)

Dallas Cowboys scheduled to face the undefeated 2012 Atlanta Falcons - The Boys Are Back blog

The Dallas Cowboys are coming of their most emotional loss of the season and get rewarded by facing the league’s only undefeated team. But you never know what can happen in the NFL especially on Sunday night. So before the Dallas Cowboys head off to Atlanta this weekend, here’s a look at 10 Atlanta Falcons you ought to know before kickoff.

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan - Dubbed as Matty Ice for being cool under pressure - The Boys Are Back blog

QB Matt Ryan – Dubbed as ‘Matty Ice’ for being cool under pressure, Ryan is quickly climbing the ladder to become on of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. In 2010, he set career highs in touchdowns (28), completion percentage (62.5) and yards (3,705) and earned a trip to Hawaii as a Pro Bowler. He followed that up by passing for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. Ryan is now on pace to have his best season yet and is the main reason why the Falcons are the only undefeated team in the NFL.

 

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Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons DE John Abraham - The Boys Are Back blog

DE John Abraham – The Dallas Cowboys offensive line will have a tough time handling Abraham, who is the Atlanta Falcons career leader in sacks with 64.5. Abraham has racked up six sacks in his past five games and is absolutely dominating opposing offensive tackles. The four-time Pro Bowler has also forced three fumbles and batted three balls down at the line of scrimmage this season.

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White - The Boys Are Back blog

WR Roddy White – While Julio Jones may be the new kid on the block, White still gets his share of targets and currently leads the Falcons with 40 receptions for 591 yards and four touchdowns. White has posted five straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons and is showing no signs of slowing down. He might not be as big and physical as Jones, but he creates separation and will nab anything in his vicinity.

 

 

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Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon - The Boys Are Back blog

LB Sean Weatherspoon – Luckily for the Dallas Cowboys, Weatherspoon suffered an ankle injury on Sunday is listed as questionable. If he does play, Weatherspoon will certainly make his presence felt. He has been a tackling machine this season and leads the Falcons with 52 tackles and three sacks. If Weatherspoon is unable to go, it will be a huge loss for Atlanta not only as linebacker but as the leader of this defense.

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones - The Boys Are Back blog

WR Julio Jones – After being drafted sixth overall in the 2011 draft, Jones has blossomed into one of the NFL’s most dangerous wide receivers. Last season, he led all rookie wide outs in touchdown receptions with eight. This year, he has seen role grow as the Falcons continue to become a pass happy offense. So far, Jones has recorded 35 receptions for 499 yards and five touchdowns.

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons S Thomas DeCoud - The Boys Are Back blog

S Thomas DeCoud – In a secondary that features talented corners Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson, it is DeCoud, who leads the Falcons in interceptions with four and pass deflections with six. Tony Romo is coming off a four interception game so if he continues this trend, DeCoud will more than likely be the man catching his errant passes.

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons RB Michael Turner - The Boys Are Back blog

RB Michael Turner – The burner is on the downfall but is still the primary option in Atlanta. Turner leads the Falcons with 415 yards and three touchdowns but has only rushed for over 100 yards once this season. Despite the decline in production, expect Turner to carry a heavy load and maybe even break a couple of big runs.

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez - The Boys Are Back blog

TE Tony Gonzalez -Simply put, Gonzalez is Mr. Reliable. The 36-year old has been to the Pro Bowl 12 times and continues to be one of the most dominant tight ends in the game. His 59 targets is tied with Roddy White for the team lead, which means Ryan still trusts his savvy veteran pass catcher. Gonzalez actually leads the Falcons in receptions with 46 and is tied for second on the team with four touchdown catches.

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons CB Asante Samuel - The Boys Are Back blog

CB Asante Samuel – Low risk. High reward. All the Falcons had to give up to obtain the four-time Pro Bowler was a seventh round pick, which is pretty low price considering Samuel’s 38 interceptions since 2006 lead the NFL. Samuel has rewarded Atlanta by holding down his side of the field this season in place of Brent Grimes, who was lost for the year with a torn ACL. Samuel has deflected four passes and returned an interception for a touchdown against Oakland. Cowboys should already be familiar with Samuel, who is the second on the Eagles all-time interception list.

Dallas Cowboys vs Atlanta Falcons RB Jacquizz Rodgers - The Boys Are Back blog

RB Jacquizz Rodgers – With Turner struggling, expect Rodgers to steal a few more carries. The Oregon State product is used often on third downs and is an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield. Being a scat back makes him a perfect compliment to a bigger back like Turner. This season Rodgers has rushed for 137 yards, caught 20 passes for 137 yards and scored two total touchdowns (see below).

Editors Clarification: Jacquizz Rodgers has scored a total of 2 touchdowns, including his TD in the 27-3 win @SD in Week #3 of the 2011 season.

Special Thanks: A shout out to Tandy at Falcons Life Forums in Atlanta.

Editors Note: If you enjoy this Special Feature, share it. Please use the buttons below to let your friends know about The Boys Are Back blog. Enjoy!

MILESTONES: Achieved during New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys game

Here are the historical notes compiled after todays game with the New York Giants:

The Dallas Cowboys had three receivers top 100 yards tonight (Jason Witten, 167; Miles Austin, 133; and Dez Bryant ,110) for just the second time in franchise history. The first was at San Francisco (11/10/63) as Frank Clarke (190), Lee Folkins (112) and Billy Howton (107) were the first Cowboys trio to accomplish the feat.

Dallas finished the game with 415 net passing yards – the sixth-most in a game in franchise history:

Single-Game Passing Yards (team history)

Yards Opp (Date)
455 MIN (11/26/98)
452 @Det (9/15/85)
440 PHI (10/9/66)
427 @SF (9/18/11)
419 @SF (11/10/63)
415 NYG (10/28/12)

Miles Austin finished second on the team with nine catches for 133 yards today. His 133 yards marked his third 100-yard outing of the season and the 14th of his career. His 133 yards today were the ninth-most in a game in his career:

Austin’s Single-Game Yardage Total

Yards Opp Date
250 @KC 10/11/09
171 ATL 10/25/09
166 TEN 10/10/10
146 @Was 9/12/10
145 OAK 11/26/09
143 @SF 9/18/11
142 CHI 9/19/10
139 @NO 12/19/09
133 NYG 10/28/12

Austin’s nine catches today upped his career total to 245 to pass Kelvin Martin (237) for 13th in franchise history.

Austin’s 133 yards today upped his career total to 3,855 to pass Doug Cosbie (3,728) for seventh in team history.

Dez Bryant finished third on the team in both receptions (five) and yards (110) today. His 110 yards marked a career-high, his second 100-yard game of the season and the third of his career.

Bryant upped his career receptions total to 149 to pass Don Perkins (146) for 29th in team history.

Bryant improved his career receiving yards total to 1,977 to pass Timmy Newsome (1,966) for 28th in franchise history.

Bryant had a career-long 55-yard catch today.

Lance Dunbar had a 44-yard kickoff return today for the longest kickoff return of the season to date.

Dwayne Harris tied his career-long punt return of 14 yards today.

Felix Jones rushed 13 times for 19 yards and touchdown today. He now has 507 career rushing attempts to become the 12th Dallas Cowboy with 500 rushes.

Jones’ rushing touchdown today was the 10th of his career to make him the 18th Dallas Cowboy with 10-or-more rushing scores.

Danny McCray picked off his second career pass today.

John Phillips notched his second career touchdown reception – the first was also against the N.Y. Giants (12/11/12).

Tony Romo finished today’s game 36-of-62 for 437 yards. His 62 attempts established a club record while his 437 passing yards were a single-game career-high and good for third in club history:

Single-Game Passing Yards (Team History)

Player Yards Opp (Date)
Don Meredith 460 @SF (11/10/63)
Troy Aikman 455 MIN (11/26/98)
Tony Romo 437 NYG (10/28/12)

Romo’s 437 yards was his second career 400-yard game (first was 406 vs. Tennessee, 10/10/10) and his 34th career outing with 300-or-more passing yards.

Romo also rushed for his fifth career touchdown today.

DeMarcus Ware’s sack today was his fifth straight game with at least a half sack – the fourth such streak in his career.

Ware has 13.5 career sacks against the Giants – the second-most against any team in the league (Philadelphia, 15.5). He also has 13.5 sacks of Eli Manning – more than any other quarterback he has sacked in the league.

Ware now has 107.0 career sacks to take sole possession of third place on Dallas’ all-time unofficial (pre-1982) sack list:

Player Sacks
Harvey Martin 114.0
Randy White 111.0
DeMarcus Ware 107.0

Jason Witten led the team with a club-record 18 catches for a team-best and career-high 167 yards. Witten now owns the top-three and is tied for fourth for receptions in a single-game in club history:

Dallas Cowboys Single-Game receptions

Player Rec Opp (Date)
Jason Witten 18 NYG (10/28/12)
Jason Witten 15 @Det (12/9/07)
Jason Witten 14 @NYG (12/6/09)
Lance Rentzel 13 WAS (11/19/67)
Jason Witten 13 CHI (10/1/12)
Dez Bryant 13 @Bal (10/14/12)

Witten’s 18 catches tied for the third-most in a game in NFL history (Brandon Marshall, 18, vs. San Diego, 9/15/08) and were the most by a tight end in NFL history.

Witten’s 167-yard performance tied for the 20th-best single-game total by a league tight end and was a club tight-end record.

Witten also extended his club tight end record of 100-yard outings to 16.

Witten upped his season catch total to 51 to give him his ninth career and ninth consecutive season with at least 40 catches. He is now tied with Jeremy Shockey for the third-most 40-plus catch seasons and the third-most consecutive 40-catch seasons among tight ends in NFL history.

40-Plus Catch Seasons by a Tight End

Player Total Consec Years
Tony Gonzalez 15 15 1998-12
Shannon Sharpe 11 7 1992-98, 00-03
Jeremy Shockey 9 9 2002-10
Jason Witten 9 9 2004-12
Frank Wycheck 8 8 1995-02
Antonio Gates 8 8 2004-11

Witten’s 51 catches thus far also marked his ninth career and ninth consecutive 50-catch season for the second-most by a tight end behind Tony Gonzalez (14 total and 14 consecutive) in NFL history.

Witten now has 747 career receptions and trails Michael Irvin by only three for tops in team history.

BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs inspires 2012 Dallas Cowboys (Bonus: Throwback photos)

Jan. 22, 1983 - Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, center, is in the crush with members of his team after they beat the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship at RFK Stadium - The Boys Are Back blog

PHOTO: Jan. 22, 1983 – Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, center, is in the crush with members of his team after they beat the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC Championship at RFK Stadium

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) With their season hovering on the brink, the Dallas Cowboys turned to inspiration from former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.

No, seriously.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said coach Jason Garrett invited the team’s former rival coach to speak to his players for the chapel service at the team hotel Saturday night in Charlotte before their game against the Carolina Panthers.

It must have helped because the Cowboys won 19-14 on Sunday.

Gibbs lives in Charlotte and owns a stock car racing team, Joe Gibbs Racing located just north of the city in Huntersville, N.C.

“He was saying to us that when they called him and asked him to speak he was like, `Are you crazy?’ knowing what that rivalry was like,” Cowboys linebacker Dan Connor said with a laugh.

Connor said Gibbs talked about “battling through adversity,” something the Cowboys (3-3) needed to do on Sunday against Carolina.

Dallas overcame a 14-13 deficit in the fourth quarter to break a two-game losing streak.

“He was talking about different situations he’s been in and how he fought through them,” Connor said. “He said when you’re in a situation you think it’s the worst thing ever, but when you have to have faith in God and push through it. That was the message. He was unbelievable.”

Jones said he and his players have “immense respect” for Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls with the Redskins. Jones said he even consulted with Gibbs when he was looking to hire a coach to replace Barry Switzer.

Gibbs’s message came after Garrett was criticized for poor clock management last week in Dallas’ 31-29 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

“He came into chapel, and talked about some of his low times,” Jones said. “He spoke about some of the coaching errors. He wasn’t directing it to the team at all, relative to our criticism this week of our sideline coaching decisions, but he talked a little about a couple that bit him.

“The players told me that when they hear Joe Gibbs talk about a few bad decisions, they know anybody can make them.”

Nov. 28, 1974 - Cowboys rookie QB Clint Longley leaves Texas Stadium with game ball after bomb to wide receiver Drew Pearson in final seconds of game with Redskins - The Boys Are Back blog

Nov. 28, 1974 – Cowboys rookie QB Clint Longley leaves Texas Stadium with game ball after bomb to wide receiver Drew Pearson in final seconds of game with Redskins.

Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins throwback game - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins throwback game – Superman closing in.

Nov. 16, 1969 - President Richard Nixon watching Washington Redskins play Dallas Cowboys RFK. Charles Bud Wilkinson, presidential assistant and former coach, at left - The Boys Are Back blog

Nov. 16, 1969 – President Richard Nixon watching Washington Redskins play Dallas Cowboys RFK. Charles Bud Wilkinson, presidential assistant and former coach, at left.

Oct. 2, 1978 - President Jimmy Carter waves as he watches Redskins and Cowboys in Washington. Seated beside his wife Rosalynn and Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams - The Boys Are Back blog

Oct. 2, 1978 – President Jimmy Carter waves as he watches Redskins and Cowboys in Washington. Seated beside his wife Rosalynn and Redskins owner Edward Bennett Williams

Dec. 16, 1979 - Fullback John Riggins (44) is slowed down near the Dallas goal line by Cowboys cornerback Benny Barnes, left, and linebacker Bob Breunig - The Boys Are Back blog

Dec. 16, 1979 – Fullback John Riggins is slowed down near the Dallas goal line by Cowboys cornerback Benny Barnes, left, and linebacker Bob Breunig

GALLOWAY: Mike Holmgren ‘fits’ as head coach with Jerry Jones

One name:

Mike Holmgren.

I dedicate that one name to all of those who are now doubting (a.) Jason Garrett is the head coaching answer for the local football team, or (b.) who never thought Jason Garrett was the head coaching answer, or (c.) anyone still totally confused about Red J’s clock management malfunction in those final 26 seconds in Baltimore.

But why Mike Holmgren?

Returning to the ABCs, with an additional D:

As of this week, Holmgren has been ordered to hit the NFL street. At the end of the season, he will be out of work in Cleveland, where he’s served as team president.

I’ve been adamant since Garrett took over as interim head coach two years ago that the CowSheep should pray for Jason’s success, because Jerry Jones’ “next” hire at head coach is guaranteed to be a Jerry houseboy.

Garrett is his own man, but he’s also very compatible with Jones, and is respected by Jones, who is notorious for disrespecting the job of the head coach.

You are barking at the moon if you think anyone on the list of potential “name” candidates (Cowher, Gruden, the sudden emergence of Andy Reid after this season, etc.) would last more than five minutes with Jerry. Bobby Petrino? I laughed, although with Jerry, never say never.

But Holmgren?

I have heard it said since the mid-’90s, when the Green Bay Packers replaced Jones and the Cowboys as the NFC Super Bowl representative, that a strong mutual admiration society exists between these two.

While Holmgren was going to Super Bowls with the Packers, and later in the 2000s with Seattle, I have heard the Valley Ranch voices say if Mike ever became available then there would be the good possibility of a Valley Ranch match.

Since I’ve repeatedly dismissed all those other names, OK, now you can go ahead and stick the name of Mike Holmgren in your hip pocket and sit on it for a while.

Next up, the disclaimers.

Holmgren hasn’t been a head coach since 2008, is 64 years old, and obviously wanted to work forever as the shot-caller for the Browns’ front office. New ownership, however, wanted new direction.

There is nothing to suggest Holmgren wants to return to the sidelines.

Then there’s Garrett.

No matter what happens the remainder of this season, I’d make it 99.9 percent that Jason is back here next season as the head coach.

Actually, I’ll double down on that prediction.

I’d make it 90 percent that Garrett has two more seasons, after this season, to get it right as the head coach.

Granted, with Jerry, it’s risky going 90 percent or above on any predictions, particularly when it comes to his head coach. But Jones, admittedly, always errs on the side of “too long” instead of a quick trigger when it comes to his head coaches.

With Barry Switzer, Jerry concedes he should have retired him two years earlier. With Wade Phillips, Jerry admits he should have retired him a year earlier. Dave Campo stayed at least a year too long. With Bill Parcells, it’s a guess, but I’d say Big Bill wore out his welcome with Jerry at least two years before he departed after four seasons here.

The only quick trigger Jerry has ever had on a head coach was firing Chan Gailey after two seasons, which he also says he regrets.

The lone possibility of Jerry giving Garrett the heave-ho would emerge if attendance numbers at the Big Yard crash this season and next season. Even then, the firing of Garrett would be sacrificial, because if the fans stop coming that’s a backlash against Jerry not the head coach.

As an adamant but now shaken supporter of Garrett, the truth from here is the final 26 seconds in Baltimore caused added doubt to creep in.

Obviously, there was no sense of urgency by basically any player on the field as those precious seconds ticked off. The blame game has been recorded, mainly aimed at Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree, but it doesn’t appear that any player, including Tony Romo, knew what the heck to do next.

And that confusion is squarely on the head coach, the same as the clock management malfunction was in Arizona last December.

By coincidence, Mike Holmgren’s name surfaced this week.

No, I’m not saying Garrett’s job is in jeopardy. No, I’m not saying Holmgren even wants to coach again.

But as opposed to a Cowher or a Gruden, the Holmgren name is one that “fits” with Jerry, a hard man to find a fit when it comes to a head coach.

Go ahead, sit on that name.

Randy Galloway | Ft Worth Star-Telegram

REDSKIN HASBEEN: Joe Theismann takes a shot at Tony Romo

Joe Theismann has a history of running his mouth - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas — Joe Theismann is among the most hated opponents for Dallas Cowboys fans for his years as the quarterback of the Washington Redskins. A new generation of fansmight add Theismann to the most-hated list after his comments about Tony Romo to a radio show Tuesday.

“Sooner or later we have to come to the realization Tony isn’t a very good quarterback,” Theismann said on the Brady & Lang show (Canada) on Sportsnet 590 The Fan (link below).

Romo tied his career high with five interceptions in Monday’s loss to Chicago.

Theismann had four four-interceptions games in his career and his only five-pick game came in the 1985 season opener during a 44-14 loss to the Cowboys.

“What hit me (Monday night) is, Tony isn’t really that good,” Theismann said. “Just because he wears a star on his helmet, we all think that people who are Dallas Cowboys, ‘Ooh they’re wonderful,’ and ‘Ooh they’re terrific, ooh they’re the next Roger Staubach’ or whatever the heck they want to say. They’re full of bologna. Tony makes bad decisions with the football. And I’ll tell you something else; he missed two wide open touchdowns last night that nobody’s talking about. Forget about the five interceptions. He misses Miles Austin and Dez Bryant with easy touchdown throws, and he airmails the ball over their heads.

“You can say, ‘Well, everybody has a bad game.’ Tony has too many bad games. Tony Romo is not a very good quarterback. Somebody has to say it so I just did. He should be a lot better or the reputation he’s carried should have him play a  lot better.”

Romo has the fourth-best passer rating in NFL history at 95.9 behind Aaron Rodgers, Steve Young and Tom Brady. He entered the season at No. 2 but he has fallen with his poor start to this season.

Romo’s 78.5 passer rating this season is higher than Theismann’s for a career (77.4). Different eras of the game with different rules are a big reason why but Theismann had 160 touchdowns and 138 interceptions in his career to go with 25,206 yards.

Romo has 154 touchdowns and 80 picks with 21,982 yards passing.

The Cowboys quarterback wasn’t Theismann’s only target. He took on owner and general manager Jerry Jones, too.

“It took him five years too long to change the offensive line, which isn’t very good,” Theismann said. “It took him three years too long to change his secondary. He’ll do the same thing again. This is what happens when you’re not a football guy. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is the owner holding back this football team with football decisions?’ And I think yes.

“I think you have a couple issues in Dallas. No. 1, I think you have a team, they think they’re pretty good. They’re not. No. 2, their quarterback thinks he’s pretty good. He’s really not. No. 3, their owner is their general manager and he doesn’t make good decisions from a personnel standpoint.”

Theismann later apologized to Jones for his criticism of the Cowboys owner in an interview on ESPN (clip below) but just slightly upgraded his opinion of Romo, calling him an average quarterback.

“I guess my expectation of Tony is really high,” Theismann told ESPN, “and right now he’s average.”

Joe Theismann takes on Tony Romo, Jerry Jones - The Boys Are Back blog

Click HERE to listen to EPSN’s lame follow-up interview with Joe Theismann.

DIRECT VIDEO LINK: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:8456779 (Updated 10/04/12)

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SOURCE: Brady and Lang in the Morning – 8am
A’s clinch playoff berth, Jays’ voice Buck Martinez, and NFL Network analyst Joe Theismann.
Listen now | Right-click to download

NFL STEPPING UP: National Football League pledges $30 million for medical research

The NFL has pledged $30 million for medical research to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday announced the donation to the foundation, which helps raise private funding for the NIH, the nation’s leading medical research agency.

The same day the grant was announced, researchers published a study indicating that former NFL players are unusually prone to dying from degenerative brain disease.

The work, presented online in the journal Neurology, drew on a long-running study of more than 3,400 NFL players with at least five playing seasons in the league between 1959-88. Some 334 had died by the end of 2007, the cutoff for the study.

Researchers found that deaths from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s diseases, when combined, reached about three times the rate one would predict from the general population. The study did not look for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, but researchers said some of the deaths they counted could have been from misdiagnosed CTE.

RELATED: NFL commits $30 million donation to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to support medical research

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) announces that the National Football League (NFL) has agreed to donate $30 million in support of research on serious medical conditions prominent in athletes and relevant to the general population.

This is the largest philanthropic gift the NFL has given in the league’s 92-year history.

With this contribution, the NFL becomes the founding donor to a new Sports and Health Research Program, which will be conducted in collaboration with institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Specific plans for the research to be undertaken remain to be developed, but potential areas under discussion include: chronic traumatic encephalopathy; concussion; understanding the potential relationship between traumatic brain injury and late life neurodegenerative disorders, especially Alzheimer’s disease; chronic degenerative joint disease; the transition from acute to chronic pain; sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes; and heat and hydration-related illness and injury. The FNIH hopes to welcome other donors, including additional sports organizations, to the collaboration.

"We are grateful for the NFL’s generosity," says Dr. Stephanie James, FNIH acting executive director and CEO. "The research to be funded by this donation will accelerate scientific discovery that will benefit athletes and the general public alike."

"We are looking forward to working with the NFL and other organizations to conduct research on a host of medical conditions affecting athletes," Dr. Story Landis, director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said. "Findings from this research will provide us with better ways to detect, diagnose and treat these conditions, and in some cases, even prevent their occurrence."

"We hope this grant will help accelerate the medical community’s pursuit of pioneering research to enhance the health of athletes past, present and future," said Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner. " This research will extend beyond the NFL playing field and benefit athletes at all levels and others, including members of our military."

About the Foundation for the NIH
Established by the United States Congress to support the mission of the NIH — improving health through scientific discovery in the search for cure — the Foundation for the NIH is a leader in identifying and addressing complex scientific and health issues. The Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization that raises private-sector funds for a broad portfolio of unique programs that complement and enhance the NIH priorities and activities. For additional information about the Foundation for the NIH, visit www.fnih.org.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

THE CONDITION FACTOR: Finding players difficult this time of year

Jamaal Jackson - Veteran center - The Boys Are Back blog

The Cowboys’ decision to pass on signing veteran center Jamaal Jackson is an illustration of how difficult it is for teams to find players at this time.

Conditioning will be a factor for those out of work at this stage, especially veterans. The increased roster sizes from 80 to 90 players mean there are 320 fewer players available than in the past. The three-day acclimation period does not help fill an immediate need.

From all indications, Jackson was not in good enough shape to warrant a signing. He has not played a meaningful down since 2009. If you’re wondering about Andre Gurode, well, conditioning was a factor when he was under contract and took part in an offseason program. You would have to guess there would be conditioning issues now.

The Cowboys have short lists at all positions of need, and they’ve debated the merits of all kinds of players, while wondering what we’ve already discussed.

For now the Cowboys will stick with what they have.

If they need to find somebody in the near future to either get them through practices or have a legitimate shot at making the 53-man roster, then look for them to grab players who have been to a camp and cut recently. They will be in better condition and will not be held to the three-day rule.

Courtesy: Todd Archer | ESPN Dallas

HOMERS POINT OF VIEW: Game Notes – Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys

MNF - Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders - Preseason 2012 2013 - The Boys Are Back blog

The Oakland Raiders host the Dallas Cowboys on ESPN’s Monday Night Football

A NEW ERA OF EXCELLENCE: The Raiders enter the 2012 season under new leadership for the first time in nearly five decades. Owner Mark Davis named Reggie McKenzie the team’s General Manager on Jan. 10, making McKenzie the first person to hold the GM title since Al Davis was named Head Coach and General Manager in 1963. McKenzie named Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen head coach on Jan. 30.

TRAINING CAMP 2012: The Raiders checked into training camp at the Napa Valley Marriott on July 29. This marks the organization’s 17th year of training in the Napa Valley. The team will conduct all of its day-to-day football operations in Napa until the team returns to its permanent Alameda facility after the third preseason game.

FAMILIAR FOE: Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys have squared off only 10 times in the regular season, but the two teams have played 27 times in the preseason, with the Silver and Black holding an 18-9 all-time advantage in a series that dates back to 1972. This week’s matchup marks the third time in four seasons that the two teams have met in the preseason and the first time in Oakland since a 31-10 Raider victory in the 2009 preseason opener. The Raiders lead the all-time regular season series, 6-4, with the teams last squaring off on Thanksgiving Day 2009 in Dallas, a 24-7 Cowboys victory.

EXTENDING THE SERIES: The Raiders and Cowboys have squared off 27 times in the preseason, making Dallas the second-most common preseason opponent for Oakland. The Silver and Black’s most familiar opponent is the San Francisco 49ers, with the two teams having played 39 times in the preseason. The Raiders and Cowboys played a preseason contest in Oakland in 2009, ending a five-year hiatus, and most recently faced off in Dallas in 2010.

OXNARD TIES: The Cowboys are no stranger to California during the summer months, as Dallas hosted training camp in Thousand Oaks from 1963-89. The Cowboys returned to Southern California in 2001, training in Oxnard, Calif. The Raiders’ training camp site was also in Oxnard from 1985-95 after moving from the El Rancho Tropicana Hotel in Santa Rosa,
Calif. The Raiders moved training camp to Napa, Calif., in 1996, a year after the franchise returned to Oakland.

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS: RB Darren McFadden and Cowboys RB Felix Jones occupied the same backfield at the University of Arkansas … CB Bryan McCann played for the Cowboys from 2010-11 before signing with the Raiders … S Michael Huff is from Irving, Texas … Cowboys’ recently-signed OL Dan Loper played for the Raiders in 2010 … RB Lonyae Miller played four games for the Cowboys in 2010 … LS Jon Condo played for Dallas in 2005 … Special teams coordinator Steve Hoff man spent 16 seasons (1989-04) as kicking coach with Dallas … Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan served as defensive coordinator for the Raiders from 2004-08 … Cowboys’ offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan was an assistant coach for the Silver and Black from 1998-01 and served as head coach from 2002-03 … Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete was an assistant coach for the Raiders from 1998-06 … Former Raiders QB Wade Wilson is the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach … Tight ends coach Mark Hutson was a Cowboys’ third-round draft pick in 1988.

SERIES HIGHLIGHTS

• at Oak. 19, Dal. 13 (Oct. 2, 2005): The Raiders posted the organization’s third straight win in the regular season series against the Cowboys in front of 62,400 fans in Oakland. K Sebastian Janikowski kicked four field goals, including two from 40-plus yards, and RB LaMont Jordan rushed for 126 yards and one touchdown to lead the Raiders.

• Oak. 13, at Dal. 12 (Sept. 27, 1998): QB Jeff George and WR James Jett connected on a 75-yard touchdown strike and the Raiders held off a late charge to edge the Cowboys by one point. A fourth-quarter Cowboy touchdown brought Dallas within three points, and Oakland P Leo Araguz ran out of the back of the end zone to give Dallas a safety but preserve a one-point lead that would ultimately hold up.

• at Oak. 27, Dal. 23 (Dec. 14, 1974): QBs Ken Stabler and George Blanda combined to throw three touchdown passes and the Raiders posted a 27-23 victory in the first meeting between the two teams. The win capped a 12-2 regular season for the Raiders that culminated in an AFC Championship-game appearance.

WINNING WAYS: The Raiders and Cowboys are among the elite teams in the NFL, with both ranking among the top-four since 1963 in winning percentage. The Dallas Cowboys top the chart with a .591 regular season winning percentage, while the Raiders rank fourth with a .567 percentage since Al Davis was named head coach and general manager in 1963.

HEYWARD-BEY REPLAY: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey recorded his first career TD reception the last time the Raiders faced the Cowboys in a regular-season tilt. On Thanksgiving Day 2009 at Cowboys Stadium, the rookie hauled in a 4-yard pass from Bruce Gradkowski, the Raiders’ only score.

PLAYOFF PEDIGREE: The Raiders’ 2012 training camp rosters includes 15 players that have earned postseason experience during their respective careers. Seven players have combined to be a part of 10 Super Bowl squads and have claimed seven championships.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Jerry Jones dismisses Burress speculation, Dallas Cowboys focusing on young receivers

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Jerry Jones dismisses Burress speculation, Dallas Cowboys focusing on young receivers - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones squelched speculation about ongoing discussions with free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress, who played last season for the New York Jets.

“Not at all. We haven’t even discussed that internally at all. That has not been discussed at any level within our organization, one way or another,” Jones said after today’s evening practice.

Jones did say the Cowboys would “look at any option” later in camp, once they have monitored the progress of the young receivers seeking to land roster spots behind starters Miles Austin and Diamond Dez Bryant. But the Cowboys want to let the young receivers show what they can do in pre-season games before turning their focus toward a veteran receiver.

Jones praised today’s efforts by former SMU receiver Cole Beasley. Andre Holmes also made some notable catches in today’s practice.

“We’re not trying to trade and we’re looking forward to this run of pre-season games to look at these young guys. We like what some of them are doing,” Jones said. “We saw Beasley made some catches out there today. We’re going to stick right there, for right now.”

Courtesy: Jimmy Burch | FWST

STAR STRUCK: Favre calls Romo underrated, ‘more like me than any other’ QB

VIDEO - Brett Favre - Tony Romo - more like me than other QBs - The Boys Are Back blog

To watch interview video, click on picture above or HERE. Enjoy!

NFL Network aired the latest segment of Deion Sanders’ conversation with Brett Favre on Tuesday, the chat turning to the quarterbacks Favre enjoys watching today.

He praised the usual suspects, calling Peyton Manning a “GM on the field,” proclaiming Drew Brees to be “in a league by himself,” and (perhaps begrudgingly) saying Aaron Rodgers “handles the cast around him perfectly.”

But Favre saved his most interesting comments for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo , the player he says he can most relate to.

“Romo is probably more like me than any of those guys,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s good, because I think way too much is cast upon him. Good or bad.

“It’s Dallas. And much is expected. But he’s carried those guys, man. I mean, I’m watching last year, and I like Tony. And I like the way he plays. I think at times he’s underrated.”

Favre apparently believes Romo has to deal with teammates who aren’t fully plugged into the Dallas gameplan.

“But I’m watching, and right before the snap, he’s telling guys — and you’ve probably seen it, too — he’s like … ”

“They don’t know what they’re doing!” Sanders jumped in.

“How in the world are you gonna have a positive play when the ball’s coming and you’re telling guys (where to line up)?” Favre went on. “But he’ll make something out of nothing.”

Favre faced plenty of pressure in his career, but Romo might actually have him beat. Favre was always loved when he was with the Green Bay Packers , win or lose. Romo is in an unending audition for respect. Fair or not, he will always be held responsible for the Cowboys’ shortcomings.

By Dan Hanzus

RICK GOSSELIN: LaDanian Tomlinson’s ranking among his Top 10 All-Time Running Backs

LaDanian Tomlinson hit by Dallas Cowboy Sean Lee - The Boys Are Back blog

LaDainian Tomlinson has retired, so let the debate begin. Where does the NFL’s fifth all-time rusher rank in the pantheon of great running backs?

I’ve been watching the NFL for better than a half century and covering it professionally for the last 38 years. In my educated opinion, Tomlinson does not belong in the Top 5 but I do have a place for him in my Top 10. Barely.

I don’t judge runners based on statistics or rings. Only three of my Top 10 backs ever played on championship teams and four of them don’t even rank statistically in the Top 10 in rushing.

But they all passed my eye test. I know greatness when I see it. I saw it in these 10.

With apologies to some backs I’ve seen (Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk and Tony Dorsett) and some that I haven’t (Steve Van Buren, Ollie Matson and Marion Motley), here’s my pantheon of the Top 10 all-time running backs:

1. Barry Sanders. The most dazzling runner the NFL has ever seen — averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 100 yards per game — then retired in his prime. His moves were an optical illusion, tricking many a defender’s eyes.

2. Jim Brown. The best fullback in NFL history, also retired in his prime. Won eight NFL rushing titles in his nine seasons.

3. Gale Sayers. Knee injuries prevented Sayers from ever reaching his prime, cutting short his career after seven seasons. A big back with speed, second only to Sanders in dazzle.

4. O.J. Simpson. Third to Sanders and Sayers in dazzle. First back to rush for 2,000 yards in a season and did it when the NFL was playing only 14 games.

5. Walter Payton. The most complete back in NFL history – running, catching, blocking.

6. Emmitt Smith. Played more games, gained more yards and scored more touchdowns than any back in NFL history.

7. Curtis Martin. Put him on the 1990 Cowboys and he’d have become Emmitt Smith.

8. Earl Campbell. Second-best power back in NFL history after Brown.

9. Thurman Thomas. Backbone of a team that went to four consecutive Super Bowls, the Bills were an incredible 48-4 when Thomas rushed for 100 yards in a game.

10. LaDainian Tomlinson. Second to Payton in his completeness, could run, catch or throw for scores.

What’s YOUR Top-10? Leave a comment. How can any list not have Emmitt at #1?

 Emmitt Smith - Career stats - 4409 rushes, 18355 yards, 164 touchdowns - Gosselin comment - Played more games, gained more yards and scored more touchdowns than any back in NFL history. - The Boys Are Back blog

Courtesy: RICK GOSSELIN | SportsDayDFW 

RELATED: Emmitt Smith reacts to the retirement of Ladainian Tomlinson  

Legendary Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith - The Boys Are Back blog

Legendary Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith was not just an accidental tourist in the career of former TCU great LaDanian Tomlinson, who is retiring today as a member of the San Diego Chargers.

Smith, the league’s all-time leading rusher, was Tomlinson’s inspiration as a little boy growing up a Cowboys fan in Waco, and then moreso when he went on to have an outstanding college career at TCU.

There is no question Tomlinson, who finished his 11-year career with the Chargers and the Jets as the league’s fifth all-time leading rusher, had his sights set on Smith at the top spot.

He didn’t quite make it but what he accomplished was enough to make him a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer and it earned him the respect and admiration of his idol.

"I have known LaDanian since he was 13 years old," Smith said. "When you know someone when they are very young, and you watch that person grow into being a man and one of the very best to ever play the game, it is inspirational for me personally. He was a pleasure to watch play football. He did it with pride and passion and he was a true professional from his very first day in the NFL. I am extremely honored to know that I have had a positive influence on him. What he accomplished in his career gives me great pride."

And although Tomlinson didn’t get the rushing title or a coveted Super Bowl, Smith said LT leaves the game with dignity and a respect that few enjoy.

"LaDanian has had a tremendous impact on the league, not only as a player but also as a person with great character, and it shows by the respect his peers have for him and how well-known he is to the public," Smith said. "He accomplished many great things as a player, but I don’t know of any player recently who has left the game with as much admiration and respect from his peers as LT enjoys.  And that might be an athlete’s most cherished accomplishment."

Clarence Hill Jr. | Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

NFC EAST UPDATE: Patriots surprise ex-Giant Ballard, claiming him off waivers

Tight end Jake Ballard showed up to the New York Giants ‘ facility on Tuesday precisely at 4:02 p.m. ET, according to multiple Giants beat writers.

Ballard, who was waived by the Giants on Monday, thought he had cleared waivers and would be returning to the Giants after the team let him go following a failed physical on Monday. He expected to revert to the Giants’ PUP list and ultimately land on injured reserve, where he would spend the season.

There was only one problem: The New England Patriots decided to claim Ballard.

Ballard’s agent Blake Baratz tweeted out the news:

As I stated yesterday a “smart” football organization might claim @NYG_J_Ballard85 while he’s hurt to own his rights. He’s now a Patriot!

– Blake Baratz (@the_ifa) February 14, 2012

The Patriots later confirmed the move via a news release, announcing that they had also placed tight end Brad Herman on injured reserve.

What an insane sequence of events for Ballard. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the Super Bowl, was cut loose by the Giants, was given the impression he’d be coming back, and then ultimately landed with the team he helped beat in the big game.

This will surely frustrate the Giants. They didn’t want to lose Ballard, but they took the risk of waiving him. The Patriots decided to improve their team by using the rules to their advantage. They will likely stash Ballard, even if they know he can’t help them in 2012.

UPDATE: Ballard released a statement through Baratz later Tuesday, according to The Star-Ledger .

“While this was very sudden, and I am still experiencing a great deal of differing emotions, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you and place some closure on a wonderful chapter in my life,” the statement reads. “I will greatly miss my teammates, the fans, the organization, and albeit short-Iived, I will forever cherish all the great memories that we created during my time in a Giant uniform.

“Simultaneously, I am humbled by the opportunity that the Patriots have afforded me and as I have always done, I will bring nothing but hard work, professionalism, and integrity to what is already a world-class organization.”

Junior Seau found dead at California home

Junior Seau found dead at California home

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Former NFL star Junior Seau was found shot to death at his home Wednesday morning in what police said appeared to be a suicide. He was 43.

Police Chief Frank McCoy said Seau’s girlfriend reported finding him unconscious with a gunshot wound to the chest and lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.

A gun was found near him, McCoy said. Police said no suicide note was found and they didn’t immediately know who the gun was registered to.

"We believe it was a suicide," said Oceanside police Lt. Leonard Mata. "There is no indication of foul play."

Seau’s mother appeared before reporters, weeping uncontrollably.

"I don’t understand … I’m shocked," Luisa Seau cried out.

Her son gave no indication of a problem when she spoke to him by phone earlier this week, she said.

"He’s joking to me, he called me a `homegirl,’" she said.

Continue reading →

HOMER NEWSPAPER: Scott Norwood honored by Buffalo Bills

Scott Norwood is the 31st former Bills player to receive the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Distinguished Service Award, which honors past players for their contributions to the franchise on and off the field.

James P. McCoy /Buffalo News

It’s been 20 years since Scott Norwood has visited Ralph Wilson Stadium and the way the media greeted him before Sunday’s game, it was as if he never left.

“It’s been a while since I was besieged in this manner,” said Norwood, who played in 108 games for the Buffalo Bills from 1985 to ’91. “It feels terrific to be back.”

Norwood was honored with the 26th annual Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Distinguished Service Award, the 31st former player selected for the award, which honors past players for their contributions to the franchise on and off the field.

“I didn’t do it alone. I do remember that. I think coming back into this setting is definitely a time to look back,” said Norwood, who connected on 72.3 percent of his field goals (133 for 184) in his career. “It’s not something many of us do in our normal lives. We are pretty set toward what is going on that particular day or the next week. It is a time of reflection. For what I had to give, I think I performed and maybe exceeded what I could do.”

Norwood set a Bills record for most field goals in a season with 32 in 1988, a mark that was broken by Steve Christie in 1998 (33). His 670 career points ranks third on the Bills’ career scoring list.

“Kickers have come in since and have continued to take it notches up, which is great to see,” Norwood said. “I saw that firsthand when Stevie Christie came in. I certainly had acknowledged he was a great kicker at that time and I could see the reason they moved forward without me.”

Norwood was named to the Pro Bowl and earned All Pro in 1988 but is best remembered for missing a 47-yard field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXV in January 1991 against the New York Giants.

“I led the league in scoring, made Pro Bowls and did other things of that nature,” he said. “I was supported of course by a great team and franchise.”

Courtesy: Rodney McKissic | The Buffalo News

ESPN – NO LOVE FOR DALLAS: Eagles will beat Cowboys, ‘heat is going to be too much for little Romeo’

With the Cowboys traveling to Philadelphia for a Sunday night rivalry game with the Eagles, the outcome of the contest was one of the topics on a recent segment of ESPN’s “First Take.”

Former Dallas Morning News columnist Skip Bayless and former Cowboys defensive back Darren Woodson were joined by ESPN columnist Stephen A. Smith.

Woodson said the Cowboys would win and Bayless, who predicted a narrow victory for the Eagles, noted that the Cowboys were the best team in the NFC East.

However, Smith saw things differently.

The former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist not only picked the Eagles but added that Tony Romo would shrink under the pressure of a big game.

“They’re not beating the Eagles Sunday night,” Smith said of the Cowboys. “It’s not happening. It’s not happening. I think the win over the Washington Redskins really got the Eagles out of their doldrums. I really believe that they’ll be up and hype for this game, considering the way they stunk up the joint when they were last at Lincoln Financial Field. I think the Philadelphia Eagles are going to show up Sunday night against their heated rival and arch nemesis, and they’re going to be ready to roll. And I think that kind of heat is going to be too much for little Romeo. That’s what I think.”

When the discussion turned to head coaching, Bayless pointed out that Philadelphia’s Andy Reid is 12-0 following a bye week.

Smith chimed in by adding: “I believe in Andy Reid before I believe in Jason Garrett.”

ESPN EX-PHILADELPHIA EAGLE: DeMarco Murray’s 253-yard performance was a fluke

DeMarco Murray’s record-setting rushing performance against the St. Louis Rams was a topic of discussion on ESPN’s “First Take.”

The Monday show featured former Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles fullback Jon Ritchie. Ritchie was asked if Murray’s performance on Sunday was a fluke.

Ritchie said it was.

“Heading into this game he was averaging under three yards a carry,” Ritchie said. “This will never happen again, in my opinion. I like DeMarco Murray as a back, I do. And I think he catches the ball really well. I have issues with his pad level, at times, but against these Rams, it didn’t matter. They’re going in trying to tackle him high. No. 32 against the run coming in.”

Ritchie added that St. Louis was banged up defensively, especially in the secondary, which forced the Rams to keep both safeties away from the line of scrimmage.

“It was just a mess,” Ritchie said of the Rams defense. “A perfect storm for DeMarco Murray.”

ESPN’s Skip Bayless, who was also part of the discussion, isn’t completely sold on Murray shouldering the Cowboys running attack.

“I’ll just say he’s not the real deal,” Bayless said on the show. “I’m not going to trust that DeMarco will save the day without Felix Jones”

RIVAL: Theismann says Romo ‘Doesn’t understand’ how to play QB

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Joe Theismann didn’t hold back Tuesday in his criticism of Donovan McNabb. Now Theismann, the former Washington Redskins quarterback is turning to another object of his scorn: Tony Romo.

Theismann, now an NFL Network analyst, explained his frustrations with the quarterback on NFL.com’s “Dave Dameshek Football Program”, calling Romo “average” and saying the Dallas Cowboys need to actively seek a replacement.

“Tony Romo continues to do things to hurt his football team,” Theismann said on the podcast, which was released Thursday. “He doesn’t understand how to play the quarterback position. Somebody had to say it, and I just said it. Tony, you have to start proving to everyone you understand football. You’re doing things that Pop Warner kids would get benched for.”

Romo has been a frequent target of NFL analysts this season, with criticisms peaking after he threw three second-half interceptions to allow the Detroit Lions to rally for a 34-30 victory last week. Former Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders, also an NFL Network analyst, said Romo isn’t the right quarterback in Dallas.

Theismann echoed that sentiment, saying the Cowboys need to start looking for someone other than Romo and 39-year-old backup Jon Kitna to guide the offense.

“I think the Cowboys seriously have to start looking to the future,” Theismann said. “We’ve seen Romo do a lot of different things, and he was very courageous with the ribs (which were broken in Week 2), but this game was unforgivable, at this level or even on a college level.”

Theismann also took aim at New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, calling him a “middle-of-the-road guy,” but he was effusive in his praise for Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers, whom he called “the best pure passer in the history of football.”

“We’ve never seen all of the elements that go into the greatness of throwing the football in one individual like you see in Aaron Rodgers,” Theismann said. “And he’s got a cockiness about him that I absolutely love. When you walk out there, you have to think you’re the baddest man in the valley. Aaron Rodgers does that, and the team believes in him.”

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