AROUND THE NFL: Former Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa retires
Former Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa surprised everyone Monday by retiring from the NFL at only 26 years old.
This morning, Costa released a statement via his agent explaining his decision to retire after just signing a two-year contract last month with the Indianapolis Colts.
“Unfortunately, the day-to-day physical rigor of the NFL season has taken a toll on my body and has been a driving force behind my decision,” Costa said in his statement.
Costa, who started all 16 games in 2011 for the Cowboys, played in only three games each of the previous two years. A dislocated ankle caused him to miss the majority of the 2012 season.
Costa also thanked the Cowboys, Colts, his coaches, teammates, family, friends and the fans for all of their support throughout his career.
“As I look forward to the next chapter of my life, I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have played in the league,” Costa said.
DALLAS COWBOYS LIVING LEGEND: Former safety Cliff Harris to have football stadium named after him
ARKADELPHIA, Ark. — Ouachita Baptist University has demolished its home football stands to make way for a new structure expected to be in place by next season.
The new stadium will be named for Cliff Harris, who attended OBU and later played in five Super Bowls for the Dallas Cowboys. Harris was present for Friday’s demolition.
The school’s sports information director, Kyle Parris, said the demolition took longer than expected when the stadium’s press box remained intact after much of the rest of the stadium came down. It eventually was dismantled.
A.U. Williams Field dates to 1912 but the seating torn down was erected in the 1960s and 1970s.
PHOTO: Former NFL Dallas Cowboys safety Cliff Harris, left, and Ouachita Baptist University President Rex Horne walk past the stands at A.U. Williams Field in Arkadelphia, Ark., Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Part of the stands at the NCAA college football stadium were demolished Friday to make way for construction of a new facility to be named for Harris who played at the school in the 1960s.
Former Dallas Cowboys safety Cliff Harris drives a power shovel at A.U. Williams Field at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark. Harris, who played for the school in the 1960s, participated in the demolition of part of the stands at the field. A new stadium named for Harris is to be built in time for the 2014 season.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley a finalist for the fifth time
IRVING, Texas – Former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Charles Haley is once again one of the finalists for the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Haley, a finalist for the fifth time, joins four first-year eligible nominees among the 15 modern-era finalists to be considered for election to the Hall of Fame when the selection committee meets in New York City on Feb. 1.
If Haley made it this year, he’d be the 15th Cowboys player to be elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Troy Aikman, Larry Allen, Tony Dorsett, Bob Hayes, Michael Irvin, Tom Landry, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro, Deion Sanders, Tex Schramm, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach, Randy White, and Rayfield Wright.
Haley played 12 seasons and in 169 games and is the only player in NFL history to play on five Super Bowl winning teams between his time in Dallas and San Francisco.
He began his career as a linebacker in San Francisco, where he recorded four double-digit sack seasons. He’d later get traded to the Cowboys, where he’d record two more double-digit sack seasons in 1994 and 1995 as a defensive end. Haley finished his career with 100.5 total sacks, getting named to five Pro Bowls and garnering two All-Pro selections.
Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, who was a semifinalist this year and won two Super Bowl titles during his time in Dallas, didn’t make the list of finalists.
The 15 modern-era finalists will be the only ones considered for Hall of Fame election when the 46-member selection committee meets. A finalist must receive a minimum positive vote of 80 percent to be elected.
To be eligible for election, players and coaches must have last played or coached more than five seasons ago. Derrick Brooks, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison and Walter Jones are the four first-year eligible nominees. Haley and Kevin Greene have both been eligible for 10 years.
All the finalists were determined by a vote of the selection committee from a list of 126 nominees, which was reduced to a list of 25 semifinalists. In addition, Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey were selected as senior candidates by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee, leaving 15 modern-era and two senior nominees among the full list of finalists.
Here’s a list of all the finalists:
Morten Andersen, Kicker
Jerome Bettis, Running Back
Derrick Brooks, Linebacker
Tim Brown, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner
Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner
Tony Dungy, Coach
Kevin Greene, Linebacker/Defensive End
*Ray Guy, Punter
Charles Haley, Defensive End/Linebacker
Marvin Harrison, Wide Receiver
*Claude Humphrey, Defensive End
Walter Jones, Tackle
John Lynch, Free Safety
Andre Reed, Wide Receiver
Will Shields, Guard
Michael Strahan, Defensive End
Aeneas Williams, Cornerback/Safety
POPCORN ALERT: Terrell Owens joins Seahawks; Dallas Cowboys face Seattle in Week 2
Terrell Owens is coming back to the NFL after one year on the sidelines.
The 38-year-old Owens had a tryout with the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, and hours later the team announced it had agreed to terms with the former star receiver. He hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2010 season with Cincinnati, when he caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine touchdowns.
He then had surgery on his left knee and didn’t receive any offers to play last season.
Owens had 35 catches for 420 yards and 10 touchdowns while playing eight of 11 games for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League. He was released and lost an ownership stake in the team in May.
Owens, a third-round draft choice by San Francisco in 1996, has started 201 of the 219 regular-season NFL games he has played. He has 1,078 receptions for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns — the second most in league history.
His nine seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving and 13 years with at least 50 catches rank third. His total receptions are sixth on the NFL career list.
Owens spent eight seasons with San Francisco, two with Philadelphia, and three with the Dallas Cowboys before a pair of one-year stints with Buffalo and Cincinnati.
Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman agrees to terms with Bengals
After weeks of flirtation, the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday finally agreed to the terms of a deal with former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman.
Newman, 33, joins his former Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who currently holds the same position in Cincinnati. A year after Zimmer took the Bengals DC job, Cincinnati added another former first-round defensive back of the Cowboys, safety Roy Williams.
Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, a Cowboy during the 2008 season, has been with Cincinnati since 2010.
The first selection of the Bill Parcells era, Newman was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. He started 131 games in nine season with the team, making two Pro Bowls, but has battled injuries in recent years, and struggled down the stretch in 2011.
He was released by the Cowboys on March 13, saving the team roughly $6 million in salary cap space.
Adam Schefter reports the Bengals are also negotiating a trade that would send former first-round linebacker Keith Rivers to the New York Giants.
Former Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber retires
Former Cowboys running back Marion Barber, who played last season with the Chicago Bears, has decided to retire.
The Bears made the announcement on Friday.
Barber, 28, played six seasons with the Cowboys. He joined the Bears last season as a backup to Matt Forte. He no longer had a future in Chicago after the Bears signed Michael Bush early this week to be Forte’s backup in 2012.
Barber had his best year in 2006 when he scored a league leading 14 touchdowns. He rushed for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2007 when he made the Pro Bowl.
Barber never came close to those numbers again because of injuries and wear and tear on his body from his bulldozing, barbaric style of running.
“I want to thank everyone who helped me become a better player,” Barber told ChicagoBears.com. “I owe a lot to a lot of coaches, and am also very grateful to the owners and organizations I played for. Last but not least, I want to thank the fans for the support and inspiration they gave me.”
Charles Haley approaching next Hall of Fame step
Fort Worth Star-Telegram / Paul Moseley
Former Dallas Cowboy star Charles Haley poses at his Dallas home with his unprecedented five Super Bowl rings and trophies, won while playing first in San Francisco (two on the left), then Dallas (three on the right). Haley is up for admission to the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
IRVING, Texas — Will Charles Haley again get one step closer to the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Fifteen modern-era finalists for the 2012 Class will be announced this Saturday. Haley and former Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells (2003-06) are among 26 current semifinalists. It is usually limited to 25, but this year there are 26 resulting from a tie for the final position.
A finalist the last two years, Haley won an NFL player-record five Super Bowls in 13 NFL seasons – two with the San Francisco 49ers from 1986-91 and three with the Cowboys from 1992-96. He was inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor this past November.
Parcells won two Super Bowls with the Giants (1986 and 1990) and compiled a 34-32 record with the Cowboys, becoming the first head coach in NFL history to lead four different teams to the playoffs (Giants, Patriots, Jets, Cowboys).
The finalist list will increase to 17 with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee, Jack Butler and Dick Stanfel. The 2012 Hall of Fame Class will be determined and announced Feb. 4 on Super Bowl weekend.
IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN: Former Dallas Cowboys WR Terrell Owens closer to playing football (and selling popcorn)
After three tumultuous seasons with the Cowboys, flamboyant wide receiver Terrell Owens could soon be returning to the area to play football.
No, not for the Cowboys, but for the Allen Wranglers.
The Indoor Football League team extended a formal, six-figure contract offer to Owens a month ago. Talks between Wranglers owner Jon Frankel, Owens and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, have increased recently, Frankel said.
Frankel said he talked to a member of Rosenhaus’ agency Thursday that Owens is "significantly closer" to signing with the Wranglers’ team than he was a month ago. Rosenhaus couldn’t be reached for comment.
Owens, 38, would become co-owner, CEO and wide receiver for the Wranglers, Frankel said. The team begins a 14-game season Feb. 25, with seven home games at the Allen Event Center (capacity 6,300).
Players in the Indoor Football League get free housing, free food and a flat rate of $225 per game that increases to $250 per game for each win.
"It doesn’t make a ton of financial sense, but it would make it the No. 1 fan experience in Collin County," said Frankel, who bought the team in May. "The awareness of the team would skyrocket, and I would imagine we’d sell out every game."
Owens is a free agent who has received little NFL interest after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and having surgery in early April. No NFL teams attended Owens’ workout in late October.
Owens signed with the Cowboys in March 2006 and posted three consecutive seasons with more than 1,000 yards receiving and at least 10 touchdowns.
He also sparked plenty of off-the-field drama.
"At first everybody thought it was a big joke but it wasn’t a big joke. It’s serious," Wranglers coach Pat Pimmel said about the contract offer to Owens. "It’s real close. I think it will be within the next week or so. He would have never got his agent involved in it if he wasn’t thinking about it. He can still play, you know that."
Jones clearly hoping no current Cowboys implicated in Hurd scheme
Like everyone else at the Cowboys headquarters, owner Jerry Jones was surprised to hear that former Cowboys receiver and current Chicago Bear Sam Hurd was arrested on federal drug charges.
It goes without saying that Jones is very interested in how the case will unfold and if it would have any ramifications in the Cowboys locker room.
“I sure was sad to hear that,” Jones said Friday on his local radio show on KRLD-FM. “That’s not good for obviously him and his [family] but certainly for his extended friends and associates. We’ll see how this unfolds as we get more information on it.
“He was always an exemplary player for us, an exemplary person and citizen. You could just count on him at all times.”
Hurd spent spent five years with the Cowboys before signing with the Bears as a free agent this season. Arrested a Chicago steakhouse Wednesday night, Hurd is accused trying to “possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more” of cocaine.
Federal authorities are regarding him as a major player in the drug game with a list of NFL players as his clients.
The latter could hit home for Jones and the Cowboys considering Hurd’s close association with the team. It’s hard to fathom him dealing with and to NFL players and no Cowboys are involved.
That’s a question Jones can’t answer at this point.
“I have no detail at all on his activity and when and where and how,” Jones said. “I just couldn’t answer that. But I’m really satisfied with how the basic method of understanding the example that we want our players to set and appropriate behavior.”
Former Cowboys assistants Sparano, Haley, and LB Jack Del Rio ousted as head coaches this season
Two former Cowboys assistant coaches, Tony Sparano and Todd Haley, were fired from their head coaching jobs on Monday.
Sparano, a Cowboys assistant for five seasons (2003-07), was fired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Another former Cowboys assistant, Todd Bowles, was named as the interim head coach. Sparano was in his fourth season with the Dolphins.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs parted ways with Todd Haley after two-plus season as head coach. Haley was an assistant coach from 2004-06. He left the Cowboys to become offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals for two seasons, the final of which culminated in Arizona’s first trip to the Super Bowl.
Sparano and Haley joined Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville) as NFL head coaches who have been fired this season.
Interesting note: all three men had ties to the Dallas Cowboys. Del Rio was a linebacker for the team from 1989-91.
More about Sparano and Haley below: