DALLAS’ DREADED DEAD-MONEY DEALS: Winds of change–The Dallas Cowboys transition of power is shifting | Stephen Jones Era–From Texas Hold’em 2 Texas Fold’em | NFL salary cap leads to philosophy shift
THE SAFETY VALVE IS OPEN: Dallas Cowboys firmly support young J.J. Wilcox following the 2014 NFL Draft | Dallas Cowboys defense
IRVING, Texas – Perhaps rookie safety Ahmad Dixon will turn into something truly special, but the numbers speak for themselves.
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Dixon No. 248 overall, eight picks away from the end of the 2014 NFL Draft on Saturday. The fact that they took him means they see something promising in his play, but his position on the draft board doesn’t inspire much in the way of expectations.
That’s by design, to hear it from Dallas Cowboys executives. The safety spot is a position some consider to be a dire need for Dallas, but it’s hardly evident based on the draft strategy. With the No. 16 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys had a shot at any of this year’s premier prospects – Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor and Jimmie Ward – not to mention a slew of other safeties drafted behind them.
Despite that perception, though, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said he was “pretty comfortable” with the outlook at safety going forward with Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, Jeff Heath, and Matt Johnson.
“I think I was always pretty upfront about that. You can obviously upgrade it if you take them one – I’m not going to deny that. To some degree there was one in the second there we liked a lot, the Northern Illinois safety,” he said. “But after that, we kind of felt like we were getting a lot of what we had. We like J.J., we like Church and we like Heath. We’ll just see how these guys play out.”
That’s an attitude both Stephen Jones and Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones repeated several times throughout the weekend. Specifically, it seems the offseason optimism is for Wilcox to grab hold of the starting role he briefly held in 2013.
The Georgia Southern standout was taken No. 80 overall just last season and endured plenty of ups and downs — from losing his mother in training camp to being named the starter to a knee injury that forced him out of the lineup – during a rollercoaster rookie year.
“We thought we had really hit on a big one right up until he lost his mother – we were naming him the starter the day he left,” Stephen Jones said on Friday night. “Obviously, we couldn’t do that because he’d have to miss quite a bit of time.”
Dixon, Johnson and Heath should provide plenty of competition for Wilcox, not to mention fellow second-year safety Jakar Hamilton. The Cowboys also signed three undrafted safeties in free agency.
In the meantime before training camp, however, hopes remain high for Wilcox.
“We feel good about him – that’s saying a lot,” Jerry Jones said. “But, boy, he looks good out here and we have high expectations for him.”
NFL TRADE DEALINE APPROACHING: Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones open to a trade, but it’s got to fit salary cap
The Dallas Cowboys are open to making a trade before the Tuesday deadline, but making it work with their salary-cap situation is another matter entirely.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the defensive line is the obvious spot the Cowboys would be willing to listen to offers.
“We’re certainly open to it,” Jones said Friday. “I know our guys are working back there. I’m working. If the right situation presented itself, we would certainly do something. I mean, it’s no secret we’re moving a lot of guys in and out in our defensive line and that will probably continue to be the case. I think we already have some workouts scheduled for Monday. We’re just taking a look at guys. [Defensive line coach] Rod [Marinelli] is doing a heck of a job. I admire our young guys that are in there playing hard. To some degree, it’s a good situation. The guys know it’s week to week, and they’ve got to play hard and give it their best and play the right style of defense. You’ve got to admire what that group is getting accomplished. But we certainly would look at any type of situation there if the right deal was there, but we also can’t, for a quick fix, do something that would hurt long term.”
The Dallas Cowboys are only $2 million under the $123 million salary cap. They are projected to be $31 million over next year’s cap.
“At the end of the day it’s got to fit our cap, and that’s another thing,” Jones said. “It would have to really just fit right to sacrifice our cap some, because it will be an issue for us next year, and we certainly manage our salary cap hand in hand with ’13, ’14 and ’15 all side by side as we manage and we see how that affects each year.”
The player also would have to be the right fit on the field. A new player, no matter how talented and experienced, enters as a rookie in terms of his knowledge of the team’s playbook.
The Colts recently made a splash by trading for former first-round pick Trent Richardson, but in four games with Indianapolis, Richardson has rushed for 228 yards on 75 carries and has lost a fumble.
“You have to measure everything,” Jones said. “You have to measure the cap but I think people are getting more and more skilled at that in terms of how they look at it and know that if you trade for a guy he’s got to fit. He’s got to fit under the cap. He’s got to fit under improving your team and I think teams are understanding that and that’s why you’re probably seeing more trades but it’s certainly not as easy as it would be if you didn’t have a salary cap but I don’t think we’re ever going to have to worry about that again. As far as I’m concerned it looks like we’re going to have a salary cap for a long time.”
(Watch Video | Play Audio)
Stephen Jones on NFL Trade Deadline options and Jay Ratliff
Stephen Jones spoke with the media about the legal issues involving Jay Ratliff, and what the team is looking at heading into the NFL Trade Deadline.
DOUBLE DOWN ON DEZ: Jones’ agree on Bryant’s ability to beat coverages
Dez Bryant has been targeted 36 times, more than any Dallas Cowboys player this season. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his son, Stephen, the team’s executive vice president, believe Bryant should get more opportunities even when he’s covered by more than one defender.
“I do think sometimes he’s going to win the battle even if he’s doubled,” Stephen Jones said Monday on KRLD-FM. “He deserves those shots.”
His father echoed thoughts on Tuesday during his KRLD-FM radio segment.
“He can make that catch with two people on him,” Jerry Jones said.
As for Bryant, he professes he doesn’t care about the number of chances he gets each week.
“It’s not about me,” said Bryant, who has made 23 catches for 282 yards and four touchdowns. “We got too much talent on this team. That’s the great thing about it. Everybody can make a play.”
Editors comment: Defenders paranoia over Dez Bryant’s playmaking ability should be tested occasionally. That type of mental pressure could lead to one or two DPI (defensive pass interference) calls … which is as good as a catch! If the flag is thrown, the only thing it risks is the RAC (run, after catch) factor. If the result is an INT, it’s generally in the range of punt/kickoff territory … which is manageable. Not suggesting that Dallas forces the issue constantly, but it should be tested at opportune or strategic moments. The advantages of a run game threat can be duplicated with a Deep to Dez threat. Keep these defenses off balance and guessing! The Jones’ are right … Dez can win those match-ups … if it’s timed properly and the ball is thrown accurately.
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’: Cowboys Super Bowl quest includes the fountain of youth and secret sauce
ARLINGTON – Jerry Jones will outlive us all. Some wonder if Jerry Jones is slowing down. He’s 70 years old. But the Dallas Cowboys owner insists he is as mentally sharp as he was when he bought the team in 1989.
This has always been a working theory around these parts, admittedly rooted in a gut feeling rather than tangible medical evidence.
But now … now we have something to work off. The Dallas Cowboys owner received some very unusual news during a recent visit to the doctor. He shared said unusual news with the media.
The doctor convinced him he has the perspicacity of someone nearly half his age.
“I’ve been told that I have, by CAT Scans, that it’s like the brain of a 40-year-old,” Jones crowed. “…The guy really did not know it was me. I was there anonymously. He said, ‘And so I just wanted to come down. I saw your chart. I know how old you are. That part is really impressive.’”
Jones remains confident in his abilities to manage the organization and earn another Super Bowl title.
“I know more about what I’m doing than hopefully I did 25 years ago,” he said, referring to the time he entered the NFL as an owner.
Jones’ comments came, of course, one day after his son, Stephen, the team’s executive vice president, declared, “We’re convinced we’ve got the secret sauce to put this thing back together again and win championships.” (see below)
By promoting Jerry’s 40-year-old brain and Stephen’s secret sauce this week, the Jones Family seems to think the Dallas Cowboys have what it takes to return to glory.
RELATED: Stephen Jones says Cowboys have the ‘secret sauce’ to win championships again
IRVING — What’s going to make the Cowboys better than 8-8 this year? The “secret sauce,” says executive vice president Stephen Jones.
Answering a question from reporters about whether his father, owner Jerry Jones, hears criticism, Stephen said it is motivation.
“Obviously we feel like we have a great organization in the Cowboys, but we can always be better. We look for ways to be better,” Stephen said. “We do that both on the field and off the field. We’re convinced we’ve got the quote-unquote ‘secret sauce’ to ultimately put this thing back together again and win championships.”
The sauce includes making the playoffs, and Stephen was asked if the Cowboys’ record will be better than 8-8.
“We certainly expect it to be,” he said. “We want people to be accountable. Our commitment when we started was no more 8-8s. I think we’ve got good personnel. I think we’ve got a great staff. I think we can do that. We need to stay healthy. We need to stay focused. We need to get better every day. And I think we’ll be better than 8-8.”
Stephen said his father still has a drive to work and succeed, even at age 70.
“You don’t run across many people like him that are driven to be successful, not only in business, but I think he’s equally driven for the Cowboys to win championships,” Stephen said. “We’ve won them. He certainly doesn’t want to think we’re through winning them. I don’t think we’re through winning them. … I think it’s still out there for us to go get. We just have to keep working hard and keep holding everyone accountable to one another. I think good things will come.”
MEET THE STUDS: Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks arrive at Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference (Special Feature)
Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks arrive at Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference
Dallas Cowboys’ top three 2013 Draft picks inside Valley Ranch for a tour and press conference
Dallas Cowboys’ 2013 Draft pick WR Terrance Williams is greeted by Jerry Jones at the Dallas Cowboys Valley Ranch NFL Draft war room
MANY more photographs below …
LINEMAN IN LIMBO: No guarantee that right tackle Doug Free remains in 2013
PHOENIX – Starting right tackle Doug Free‘s status with the Dallas Cowboys is secure for now.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones didn’t dispute that Monday afternoon; however, he did say that “it’s not guaranteed” that Free will return in 2013.
Free didn’t lose his starting job last season, but he shared playing time in the last four weeks with Jermey Parnell.
“I think he improved last year,” Jones said of Free. “Whoever knows what caused [the struggles], ’cause Doug is one of our hardest workers, a leader in the room. Obviously, when the competition level got going there he responded well with probably his best games near the end.”
Jones was also complimentary of Parnell.
“We like Parnell a lot,” he said. Jones later added that the Cowboys “need tackles. You have to have more than two tackles.”
The NFL draft will dictate what the Cowboys could do with Free. Jones said there are moving parts revolving around the position and if the Cowboys draft a tackle they believe can either start or become the swing tackle, Free could become a post-June 1 cut, saving the team $7 million.
BEHIND THE LINES: This Dallas man, Jordan Woy has flown largely under the public’s radar (Special Feature)
Eavesdrop on Jordan Woy’s flurry of phone conversations on any given day, or peek at his endless trail of texts, and you’d be hard-pressed to guess what he does for a living.
That’s him crunching numbers and talking contracts from his high-rise office overlooking Turtle Creek Boulevard in Dallas.
Must be a lawyer, or a financial planner, right? Maybe a CEO?
That’s him, too, zipping around Dallas in his black Maserati, Blue-toothing with a colleague about the long-term effects of concussions. Sure seems to know a lot about them.
Ah, a doctor? (Sweet ride, doc.)
But a text, asking him to arrange a meeting with a starlet, suggests he could be in showbiz. And a soothing exchange — "How’s Katie? How’s everything? Let me know if I can help." — spins you in a completely different direction. Marriage counselor? Therapist?
The answer, Woy might tell you, is all of the above.
SIDELINE MEDIA CIRCUS: Teammates brought Josh Brent to game; he went home to avoid distraction
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday that the Cowboys were unaware that inactive defensive lineman Josh Brent would attend Sunday’s game against the Steelers at Cowboys Stadium.
Teammates urged Brent, who had been scheduled to start against the Bengals, to attend, Garrett said.
Also Monday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Brent went home after he became aware he was being shown on television at Sunday’s game and perhaps becoming a distraction.
“The last thing he wants to do is be a distraction,” Jones said Monday on KRLD 105.3 FM “The Fan.” “He got word that he was showing up on television, and he made the decision that he was going to go home.”
Brent’s presence on the sideline became a topic of discussion among some fans and media during Sunday’s game. CBS analyst Boomer Esiason said it was a “disgrace” for the Cowboys to have him on the sideline during the game.
The team has taken to heart the words of Brown’s mother to support Brent.
“I think what happened is Josh had planned not to be there,” Jones said. “It was our understanding a few of his teammates who are on injured reserve had gone by to get him, to try to keep his spirits up, and obviously came to the game.”
Jones was asked if Brent will be on the sideline at the next game, Sunday when the Cowboys play host to the New Orleans Saints.
“Well, I don’t want to speculate,” Jones said. “Obviously, Josh is certainly aware of the situation. It’s certainly not an easy one.
"Everybody is mourning the loss of Jerry Brown and wants to honor and celebrate his life. Certainly Josh knows where that is, and the last thing he wants to be is a distraction. It’s something that Josh is going to have to endure for the rest of his life. We’ll just see how things go.”
RELATED: Cowboys will be more sensitive to public appearances by Josh Brent
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team will continue to support Josh Brent but that it will be more sensitive to his public appearances with the team.
“It becomes a very sensitive topic to a lot of people when you are in a public place like the game, and there were no bad intentions other than to support Josh, a part of our football team,” Garrett said Monday at his press conference at Valley Ranch.
Brent’s presence on the sideline at Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh sparked some criticism on social media and among fans and observers. Namely, CBS analyst Boomer Esiason called it a “disgrace.”
Garrett said the Cowboys will think about how to deal with that situation next week.
“I thought Josh handled it beautifully,” Garrett said of the player’s visit to the sideline. “He came, and when he felt like there were some issues, he felt like the right thing to do was to leave. But we’re going to support him in every way that we can. We’ll also be sensitive to this kind of an issue.”
Garrett said he did not know Brent was going to be at the game, although he had talked to him on the phone the previous day. He said he learned that the players encouraged Brent to come to the game.
“That was a result of the wishes of Jerry Brown’s mom, who stood before us at the memorial on Tuesday and really encouraged everybody and almost made a plea to everybody to keep Josh in our family and keep him close and support him in every way that we can,” Garrett said. “And the players really took that upon themselves to say, ‘Hey, Josh, you need to be here at this game.’ That was something that they felt was really, really important. Encouraged him to do that. It turned into a little something that maybe a lot of people didn’t exactly expect.
“We’re trying to handle it day by day and work our way through it. We’ll have some more discussions about that going forward.”
Brent left in the third quarter when he learned that his presence on the sideline was causing a stir.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown Jr.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown Jr.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and his wife Candice arrive at the memorial service for Jerry Brown
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
Dallas Cowboys Executives Stephen Jones, left, and Jerry Jones Jr.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett | Dallas Cowboys NT Josh Brent
Dallas Cowboys NT Josh Brent
Courtesy: Dallas Morning News
DECEMBER HEAT: Stephen Jones declines comment on Jerry Jones and Jay Ratliff confrontation
Stephen Jones didn’t confirm, or deny, that his father got into a heated exchange with nose tackle Jay Ratliff after a 38-33 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on December 2.
Reportedly, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones approached Ratliff, who has missed seven games this season because of numerous injuries, in the Cowboys Stadium locker room and said that the team needed him on the field. Ratliff became angered and the two men exchanged words jaw-to-jaw before others stepped in to intervene, according to a report by CBSDFW.com’s Mike Fisher.
But Stephen Jones, the team’s executive vice president, declined to give any details when asked about the alleged confrontation today (Monday).
“That’s in our locker room right after a game, certainly the press wasn’t in there. We’d like to keep those things internally,” Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “Certainly there’s always going to be reports of things. Those are just things that I wouldn’t want to comment on.”
Mike Fisher wrote that Jones, 70, did not back down as the 6-4, 303-pound defensive lineman “rose to physically challenge him and then made derisive mention of Jones’ age.”
Ratliff, who signed a five-year, $40 million contract extension with the Cowboys last year, has battled ankle and groin injuries during his eighth NFL season.
Editors comment: Jason Garrett also addressed the issue at today’s afternoon press conference. Garrett limited comments to the fact that both people are passionate about the Dallas Cowboys, that Ratliff will be on the field when he’s physically able, and that no disciplinary measures have been taken.
PENALTY PROBLEMS PERSIST: Stephen Jones – ‘Whatever we’re doing is not working’
For the fourth time this season the Cowboys committed 13 penalties in a game.
Oddly enough, the league’s second-most penalized team improved to 3-1 in those contests with a 38-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
It’s unrealistic to expect more wins if that trend continues and Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones address that topic on Monday.
“We’ve got to stop the penalties,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “They’re inexcusable, yet we continue to have them. They kept drives alive for the Eagles a couple of times by being offsides. That’s just unacceptable.”
Morris Claiborne, Jason Hatcher, Josh Brent and Anthony Spencer combined to go offside six times. Claiborne was also flagged for holding twice and pass interference once. John Phillips had two false starts, Doug Free had another and Orlando Scandrick was called for holding.
In the end, the 13 penalties cost the Cowboys 75 yards and raised their season average to 8.2 penalties per game. Only the Washington Redskins (8.3) average more penalties per game.
While dissecting the problem, Jones said the Cowboys coaching staff has to do more to find a solution before the penalties end up costing the club a chance at the postseason.
“I know [Garrett] wants to do more. We talked about it,” Jones said. “We addressed it after the game. He’s going to get with Rob [Ryan] and we got to do more because whatever we’re doing is not working. They pulled [Jason] Hatcher out of the game after his second consecutive offsides, but it’s got to be more than that.
“Somehow we got to get focused. For some reason, the guys continue to make those mistakes and at some point that’s going to cost us a game that may cost us our season.”
Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the Cowboys’ 74 penalties this season.
Week 1: 13 penalties for 86 yards in win at Giants.
Week 2: 5 penalties for 47 yards in loss at Seahawks.
Week 3: 13 penalties for 105 yards in win over Buccaneers.
Week 4: 2 penalties for 10 yards in loss to Bears.
Week 6: 13 penalties for 82 yards in loss at Ravens.
Week 7: 6 penalties for 43 yards in win at Panthers.
Week 8: 2 penalties for 10 yards in loss to Giants.
Week 9: 7 penalties for 50 yards in loss at Atlanta.
Week 10: 13 penalties for 75 yards in win at Eagles.
WIN-WIN CONTRACT SITUATION: Dallas cornerback "in a happy spot" in the Cowboys defense
Mike Jenkins was the subject of trade rumors during the off-season after his agent requested a trade, but the trade deadline came and went Thursday, and Jenkins still is on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. Dallas never considered trading the cornerback despite having Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne as starters and Orlando Scandrick as their nickel back.
"We need him," executive vice president Stephen Jones said Thursday. "We need corners in case something happens. We’ve only got four corners."
Jenkins said Thursday he kept his mind off the trade deadline.
"I figured if it was going to happen, I would have heard something by now," Jenkins said. "So I just tried to stay focused on the week, learning what I needed to learn for this week and just going on with the Cowboys."
Jenkins has been a team player despite his reduced role on the defense, and he said he was not disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to go somewhere to start.
"I’m happy," Jenkins said. "The situation, I’m past that right now. I’m just happy that they’re playing me. I’m getting to play. I can’t complain. Coaches are communicating. I’m not left out of anything. So I’m pretty set. I’m good. I’m in a happy spot."
Jenkins missed the off-season work, training camp, the preseason and the season opener while recovering from reconstructive shoulder surgery. Since then, he has played only 85 of a possible 352 defensive plays, including but six snaps against Baltimore and one against Carolina. He also has played 22 special teams plays.
Jenkins has been targeted eight times, allowing only three receptions for 82 yards and no touchdowns, according to STATS, Inc.
"I feel like I’ve played pretty good," Jenkins said. "As far as the situation going in, I’ve been put in all around the field, just playing safety. I feel like I’m doing pretty good. I also feel like I can do a lot better, because I missed out from the preseason, and I just came straight into the season. I know there’s a lot of room for improvement."
Jenkins’ versatility should help him in contract negotiations next spring. He is in the final year of his rookie contract after the Cowboys made him the 25th overall pick in 2008, and he likely will seek a place where he can compete for the starting job. He has 47 career starts.
"Hopefully, a lot of guys see that I’m flexible," Jenkins said. "They can move me around. I can play anything. I think I have enough film as far as a corner standpoint. I just want people to know they can also move me around like the Charles Woodsons, put me in situations like that, and I can guard anybody on the field. So hopefully that helps me out in the future."
DALLAS COWBOYS FAMILY NEWS: Jerry Jones’ mother, Arminta Pearl Clark Jones, passes away at age 90
IRVING, Texas — Arminta Pearl Clark Jones, 90, the mother of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, passed away today at Baylor Medical Center after a lengthy battle with pneumonia.
And while there was sadness in the Jones family because of her death, there were also smiles of joy because of the life she lived as a loving mother, grandmother and ambassador for the Cowboys organization.
"We are celebrating her life," Jerry Jones said by phone from his home in Highland Park Tuesday afternoon. "She was a great mother, so attentive. They called me about 2 a.m. from the hospital. She was in intensive care. Every member of our family, including all the grandchildren, was at her bedside during her passing. We were able to communicate and talk to her and say our good byes. It was peaceful."
Although his mother celebrated her 90th birthday last week and was also able to attend Jones’ 50th wedding anniversary with his wife Gene last week, she had been hospitalized since August when they held their annual family reunion in conjunction with the Cowboys final preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.
Jones said she developed pneumonia and was never able to beat it.
He jokingly called her "an angel "because she was able to put up with him and his late father Pat Jones, who passed away in 1997, because they were so much alike. Both were successful businessmen, characters and noted charmers, which is why they were both so good in the sales industry.
Jones viewed his mother as a mentor to him in his business beliefs and success on par with the great influence that his father had on him personally and professionally.
"I got to spend a lot time around my mother over the years," he said. "She made a major influence on my life”
"It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Arminta Jones, the mother of Jerry Jones," Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys’ vice president of public relations/communications, said in a statement. "Arminta, who celebrated her 90th birthday last week, with all of her family, passed away peacefully this morning in Dallas."
Arminta Jones is survived by two children, Jerry and Jacque, a brother and two sisters, four grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
Arminta Pearl Clark was born on October 17, 1922 in Ozan, Arkansas. She married J.W. “Pat” Jones on October 25, 1941 and they had two children, Jerry and Jacque. They were married for 56 years until J.W. passed in 1997.
A Jones family picture taken in 1995 at Pat Jones’ retirement party at the former Exotic Animal Paradise between Strafford and Marshfield. In the front row, from left, are: Jerry Jones Jr., Pat Jones, with Jessica Jones in his lap, Arminta Jones, holding Haley Anderson and Jordan Jones. In the second row, from left, are: Steven Jones, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Jerry Jones, John Chambers, Gene Jones, Jacque Jones and David Huff. Pat Jones was the founder of Exotic Animal Paradise, and ran it for many years with Arminta by his side.
Arminta Jones and her husband, Pat, are pictured on their wedding day, Oct. 25, 1941. They met at the Little Rock Business College.
Arminta Jones, right, mother of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, visits with Ebby Halliday during the Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Luncheon.
Owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, was presented his 2011 Star on the Walk of Fame at a ceremony held in November due to his unavailability during the Cherry Blossom Festival each year (NFL draft time). Jerry is seated with his mother Arminta Jones.
MEET THE NEXT GENERATION: Who will succeed Jerry Jones as owner of the Dallas Cowboys?
Jerry Jones turned 70 on Saturday.
Jones has three Super Bowl rings, a reported net worth of $2.7 billion, and his 3-year-old, $1.2 billion stadium is virtually paid for. Why wouldn’t he cherish becoming the first septuagenarian Cowboys owner?
But at some point, he will move on.
During a wide-ranging interview at the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch complex with The Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend, Jerry Jones candidly discussed a future that eventually, inevitably, won’t include him.
Jerry and Gene Jones’ children, Stephen, Jerry Jr. and Charlotte Anderson, are Cowboys executive vice presidents. Though details aren’t being released to the public, Charlotte has planned a party to celebrate a confluence of Jones family milestones.
Jerry’s and Gene’s 70th birthdays. The 90th birthday of Jerry’s mother, Arminta. And Jerry’s and Gene’s 50th wedding anniversary.
“Every day with Jerry has been exciting,” wife Gene says. “Stressful at times, but never boring.
“The one thing that hasn’t changed from the beginning is that the family was the most important thing. Our children have always been our proudest accomplishments, and they are our best friends.
“We’ve had many disagreements in life, but never about our children or [nine] grandchildren.”
Gene says it was a dramatic lifestyle change when, in 1989, Jerry decided the Cowboys would become the family business. Jerry Jr., Charlotte and Stephen were in their early-to-mid 20s.
Gene says it’s been beyond rewarding to work alongside them while they carved integral roles in the franchise and raised families of their own.
“I don’t see him slowing down in any aspect of his life,” Gene says. “Children, grandchildren, Cowboys, he wants the best for all of them.
“His passion and desire for all of us to share that championship experience never wavers. I see it every morning when he walks out the door.”
“I do want to emphasize that, at this particular time, it would be madness not to think about succession,” he says. “You have to. And you should.
“I’m very confident that if I got hit by a truck tomorrow, we’ve got a great succession plan. Everybody here understands football, loves it, is not really interested in anything else in sports and has tunnel vision relative to football.”
Is Stephen next in line?
Longtime speculation has been that Stephen, the Cowboys’ 48-year-old chief operating officer and director of player personnel, would eventually assume Jerry’s role.
That is partly true, Jerry says, pointing out that Stephen already oversees the scouting and player personnel departments, Cowboys Stadium management operations and attends NFL owners meetings.
But in reality, Jerry sees a continuation of Team Jones management already in place. Charlotte is vice president of brand management and the president of the charity foundation. Jerry Jr. is the chief sales and marketing officer.
In the early 1990s, Jerry transferred minority limited partnership interests to Stephen, Charlotte and Jerry Jr., giving them what he calls “serious skin in the game,” a daily incentive to fully invest their professional lives.
“I was fortunate to have put things like that in place long before the Cowboys were worth what they are now,” he says.
Seldom if ever speculated is the scenario of Gene stepping forward as principal owner, as Georgia Frontiere did when husband and Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom drowned in 1979.
Jerry notes that Gene has missed only one game, a preseason game, in 24 seasons. Jerry and Stephen say Gene probably spent more hours on Cowboys Stadium’s planning than anyone.
“There’s no question that on an ongoing basis she would be involved in everything that has to do with the stadium,” Jerry says. “In the NFL’s view, the stadium and the team are one and the same.”
Jerry also foresees some or all of his grandchildren joining the franchise, if they so choose, adding, “The way we’re structured here, I don’t ever see this team owned by anyone other than my immediate family.”
The oldest three Jones grandchildren are in college, working toward degrees that could point them toward the family business.
Stephen’s daughters, Jessica and Jordan, attend the University of Texas. Jordan, a freshman in UT’s textiles program, interned this summer in the Cowboys’ merchandising department.
Sophomore Jessica is a communications major, as is Charlotte’s daughter Haley, a sophomore at Arkansas.
“There’s enough work around here that there could be five more [Jones family members] and there wouldn’t be enough hours in the day,” Jerry says.
RELATED FEATURE ON THE BOYS ARE BACK BLOG:
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys introducing ‘Jerry Wipes’, a multi-purpose novelty
PHOTO: Jerry Wipes, inspired by a viral video of Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones getting his glasses cleaned, will be sold in the Dallas Cowboys online store. Jerry Wipes aren’t the first instance of the polarizing NFL owner poking fun at himself – or making money.
The Dallas Cowboys won their season opener against the New York Giants last week, but the breakout star of the game wasn’t anyone on the field. It was Jerry Jones’ glasses.
Jones, the highly visible and polarizing Cowboys owner, stole the thunder from his team’s road victory over the Super Bowl champion Giants when video footage taken of Jones watching the game showed him casually handing off his glasses to be cleaned by an unidentified man sitting behind him in the owner’s box.
The video went viral, and the questions (and jokes) flew. Who was the man cleaning Jerry’s glasses? Some sort of manservant from a bygone era of kings? Is the billionaire Jones really so rich that he can’t be bothered wipe a smudge off his own glasses?
Not quite. The glasses-cleaner turned out to be Jones’s son in law, Shy Anderson, who offered an explanation of the spectacle (sorry) to Alan Peppard of the Dallas Morning News:
"Jerry never talks to anybody during the game. He is so focused. But he started asking, ‘Where’s [Cowboys tight end Jason] Witten?’ I was looking over his shoulder and I could see his glasses were completely smudged. I said, ‘Seriously, Jerry? Let me see your glasses.’ I actually had an eyeglass cloth in my pocket."
So it was just family members watching out for each other, more than an extravagance of the uber-rich. But that isn’t stopping Anderson and Jones from cashing in on their brief Internet fame.
One week after he was caught by NBC cameras wiping the eyeglasses of Jerry Jones during the NFL game, the son-in-law of the Dallas Cowboys owner said he’s hoping to capitalize on all the attention by selling a product inspired by the infamous moment.
Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show that Anderson has taken good-natured ribbing for wiping the glasses. Anderson, who is married to Jones’ daughter Charlotte, has run the Dallas Desperados, an Arena Football League team, as well as other business interests.
Anderson has designed a line of eyeglass wipes printed with the words “Jerry Wipes” on them, to be sold in the Dallas Cowboys’ online store. No word yet on the price, or for how long the wipes will be sold. “It started out as a joke, but let’s see how far we can take it.” Anderson said.
It’s all par for the course for Jones, who is no stranger to hamming it up, laughing at himself, or making money. During his 24-year tenure as owner and general manager, he has turned the Dallas Cowboys into the most valuable pro sports franchise in the NFL and the United States, worth $2 billion. He’s also starred in a series of ads for pizza chain Papa Johns, in which he both break dances and raps. So Jerry Wipes aren’t the first or last time Jerry Jones will cash in on an opportunity.
COMPROMISING POSITION: Jerry Jones laughs about glasses cleaned, says he wouldn’t sit by him at a game
Jerry Jones is laughing about it now, and he’s glad he can – the moment the NBC cameras caught his son-in-law, Shy Anderson, cleaning his glasses for him.
“Had you told me last week that we’re going to be able to laugh and smile about this and it be something fun and notable to talk about, I would have taken that in a minute,” Jones said happily on his Friday morning radio show. “I was about to die up there. About to swallow my tongue.”
Jones said his glasses were just dirty, and that Anderson – the husband of Jones’ daughter, Charlotte Jones Anderson – offered to clean them.
“Listen, those things were fogged over, dirty, they had all kinds of prints on them,” Jones said, still chuckling. “He just reached down there and said, ‘Hand me those. You need some help.’ ”
But then, anything done near the Cowboys owner during a game is likely to wind up on TV, also.
Jones said with a laugh, “One of the things that I would do if I were another human on this planet is not sit near me at a ballgame because you could get compromised by what really is happening.
“And, of course, that was Shy Anderson, my son-in-law, he’s a vital part of our organization. trying to just help his father-in-law where he could see the ballgame. He reached down and said those things need cleaning. He’s paying the price on it.”
Jones laughed again, heartily.
“We’ll figure it out,” he said. “I heard that somebody might need to be shining my shoes up there. Somebody else serving me hors d’oeuvres in between the huddle.”
Jones said Anderson is enjoying the attention.
“We’re having fun with it, too,” he said. “And one of the great things about him, he does have a big-time sense of humor. We’re having more fun about how ridiculous it is. But it’s fun. Let’s keep it going.”
RELATED: AUDIO – Listen to The Jerry Jones Show
105.3 The Fan, CBS Radio Dallas September 7, 2012
Editor’s Comment: This portion of The Jerry Jones Show comes in the last few minutes. Enjoy!
ANNUAL EXPECTATIONS: Dallas Cowboys fans, players hungry for a Super Bowl run
Every NFL fan plays the waiting game.
He waits for the next game. The next season. The next chance.
The next championship?
Some NFL fans don’t even have their first.
And yet here, they wait for their sixth. Dallas Cowboys fans have been stuck on five championships for almost 20 years.
It has been since January 1996 that the Cowboys won a Super Bowl. That’s by far the longest drought in franchise history. Not only between Super Bowl titles but between Super Bowl appearances.
From the birth of the Super Bowl in 1967 until 1996, the Cowboys played in eight — 26.7 percent.
From ’72 to ’96, the Cowboys were in 30.8 percent of the Super Bowls played.
Now, since the New York Giants’ win over the New England Patriots last February in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, the Cowboys have appeared in 17.4 percent of the ultimate games.
The waiting game continues for Cowboys fans.
"If you’re a real fan, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in and out of the Super Bowl," said Stephanie Spencer, a 31-year-old nursing student from Moor Park, Calif., watching the Cowboys in training camp. "It matters that that’s your team, and you’re always there, anyhow. If you’re a true fan, you’re going to be there, anyway."
Not the longest wait ever.
Dallas Mavericks fans waited 31 years for their first NBA championship.
Baseball’s Phillies once went 79 years between championships.
So, hey, it could be worse.
But nobody wants it to be.
"The Dallas Cowboy fan base, it’s been awhile — they’ve stood by this team through a lot of good times and through a lot of bad," quarterback Tony Romo said. "I’ve been around now for 10 years with the Cowboys, so I get a chance to feel how passionate our fans are, and I love the fact that I get a chance to play for a great organization, a great owner and a great fan base. It excites me to know that one day we’ll have a chance and the ability, if we just keep continuing to get better and improve, to bring that back."
The Cowboys had a pretty good chance just five years ago to get to the Super Bowl. They were the No. 1 seed in the conference heading to the playoffs. But a first-round home loss to the Giants ended a 13-3 season, and the Cowboys have been back to the playoffs only once since then.
Romo was the quarterback for both those seasons.
"You’ve got to make hay while you’ve got great players like that," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "While you have great players like DeMarcus Ware. I think we’re close. Obviously, we’ve got to take the next step. I think with Jason Garrett’s leadership and the things we’re doing as a team, the fans should be excited, and we’ve got as good a chance as anybody."
What Cowboys fans have been waiting for.
The next season. The next game. The next chance.
NICKELS AND DIMES: Dallas Cowboys restructure DeMarcus Ware and Ryan Cook’s contract
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have created $2.755 million in salary-cap room by restructuring DeMarcus Ware’s contract for the second straight season, according to multiple sources.
Ware was scheduled to count $10.301 million, but after lowering his base salary to $825,000 and turning the difference into signing bonus the All-Pro outside linebacker will count $7.546 million against the cap this year.
The Cowboys have a little more than $5.5 million in salary-cap room entering the season and would like to carry over as much room as possible to 2013 because of the remaining $5 million hit they will take from the NFL’s cap sanctions that were imposed in the offseason.
The Cowboys also re-worked the contract of center Ryan Cook, whom they acquired in a trade from Miami last week, the sources said. The Cowboys lowered Cook’s base salary from $1 million to $700,000 and gave him a $300,000 bonus and added a year to his deal with him scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following the season. He will make $1.1 million in 2013.
PERSONNEL TEMPLATE: Dallas Cowboys find that being picky pays dividends
IRVING — The Dallas Cowboys are being stricter about who they consider drafting.
In turn, they’re being stricter about who they consider signing after the draft.
The result of the approach, born under former coach Bill Parcells, appears to mean a higher quality of undrafted free agent is going to training camp with the team lately, and so more are making the squad.
Former SMU receiver Cole Beasley made the Cowboys’ 53-man roster this week as an undrafted rookie, joining four such players who made it in 2011 and four in 2010. In the three years before that, Kevin Ogletree was the only undrafted rookie to make the team.
"We used to put 250 players on the board, however many get drafted. Now we put about 100, 120 players on our board, and they’re just the players we want," pro personnel director Stephen Jones said in training camp at Oxnard, Calif., last month.
"We don’t think about, ‘That guy is going to get drafted,’ so we put him on our board. If he doesn’t fit what we want, even though he may get drafted in the first or second round, we don’t put him up there. It keeps us focused not only all the way through the draft, but also through college free agency."
Last year, the leading scorer on the team came out of the leftover draft pool. Kicker Dan Bailey had the second-highest field goal percentage by a rookie in team history, making 32 of 37 kicks, and set an NFL record for consecutive kicks made by a rookie (26).
Guard Kevin Kowalski played in 11 games, linebacker Alex Albright played in all 16 and running back Phillip Tanner played in eight and scored a touchdown.
The undrafted class of 2010 has yielded a starting safety, Barry Church, and the starting center, Phil Costa.
"I just think if you have an attitude that it doesn’t matter where players come from, it matters what they do once they come here, I think you’re more susceptible, or more able, to find some of those guys, and that’s been our approach," coach Jason Garrett said.
Jones said the approach is a holdover from Parcells’ days as head coach (2003 to 2006). He drafted to a template and paid no mind to players who didn’t fit it.
"He may not fit from a scheme standpoint or from a cultural standpoint or a character standpoint, and those guys, we don’t want them on our football team," Jones said. "So let’s focus on guys that we do like. I think that’s the biggest change is the philosophy there — let’s go after Dallas Cowboys."
The Cowboys’ biggest hits with undrafted players came while Parcells was head coach.
Under his watch, the team found Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo and Pro Bowl receiver Miles Austin. Nine other undrafted players made the initial 53 in Parcells’ four seasons.
"We’ve evolved from a personnel department, I think, when you look back at the way we used to do it versus the way we do it now," Jones said. "We’ve got better scouts, better people. We’ve got better philosophies.
"And pretty much every time we sign those 15 to 20 guys, we sign them from our draft board. I think that’s why we’ve had some really good success with players who weren’t drafted."
SUPERBOWL REPOST: Belle of the Bowl – Five questions for Jessica Jones, Jerry’s granddaughter
Jessica Jones is a senior at the Episcopal School of Dallas, a model with the Campbell-Wagner Runway agency and — oh, yes — the granddaughter of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. (Her dad is Stephen Jones, Cowboys’ chief operating officer. “He basically does what my granddad does but isn’t as recognized,” is how Jessica explains it.) Caught at home this week on a snow-and-ice day, the Highland Park 18-year-old revealed where she likes to shop, who she wants to meet this week and which parties she might be crashing.
Are you sick of talking about the Big Game?
Everyone is asking me about the Super Bowl. I am just as excited as everyone else. I have only been to one Super Bowl since we were in it, in 1992. And all my friends want me to get them into parties. But we can only bring so many people, so they’re really sucking up to me. My family is throwing a party on Thursday for all the owners. It’s black-tie. Jamie Foxx is performing.
Which celebs will you be looking out for this weekend?
I would love to meet Rihanna. I love her fashion. I would love to meet Katy Perry. If I ran into those two it would be a good day. There are some rumors they’re coming.
Are there parties you’re trying to score invites to?
I am going to try to go to Leather and Laces and I want to get into the [official Cowboys] party with Drake. I’m a little underage, but hopefully they can put a little “X” on my hand. That means I can’t drink.
Some Dallas fashion folk are wondering what out-of-towners will think of local style. And local style makers. Your family is pretty high-profile. Feeling the pressure?
Everyone thinks Dallas is big hair, pink clothing and preppy. But we have really high fashion here, too. I mean Forty Five Ten is here. If I had more money I would shop there every day.
I’m pretty sure people think you do.
Yes, but I have a budget, about $500 a month. My mom gives me money on my debit card. I was overdrawn this month and she threatened to take it away. Most of my allowance goes to jeans.
Courtesy: JASON SHEELER
DALLAS COWBOYS TRAINING CAMP ENDS: The boys are back in Oxford in 2013
Dallas Cowboys executive vice-president Stephen Jones wrapped up today’s final workout in Oxnard, Calif. by saying that the team’s entire 2013-2014 camp will be back in the same location next year (… in other words, The Boys Are Back in town).
He’ll get no argument from Dallas Cowboys veterans who have seen the training camp bounce between multiple locations through the years, including last year’s stop in San Antonio.
Safety Gerald Sensabaugh said he’s in favor of Oxnard because “the weather’s always great” and the team can work with a heightened focus.
“We were able to get some optimum work in,” Sensabaugh said. “We’ve been taking full advantage of it. We got better as a football team.”
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett agreed.
“The weather … allows you to get more work in,” Garrett said of Oxnard’s daily high temperatures in the 70s, as opposed to triple-digit heat in Texas. “The players are more focused on what we ask them to do instead of the Gatorade and the water jug behind us. We have all practiced in some of those hot Texas days when the focus isn’t on competing. It’s, ‘Where’s the trainer? Where is the water? Give me a cold towel.’ All that stuff. This gets you away from that mindset and lets you go to work.”
Having a full off-season of work, rather than last year’s truncated schedule created by the NFL lockout, also helped the team achieve more in this training camp, said veteran receiver Kevin Ogletree.
“I think there was definitely more work put in. More work that got done because we were able to have that off-season time where a lot of the installations were put in,” Ogletree said. “We were out here reviewing it. Guys were able to go out there and play a little more loosely instead of worrying about making mistakes like in last year’s training camp.”
PRESEASON DEBUT: Morris Claiborne ready for San Diego
OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys first-round pick Morris Claiborne, who missed the preseason opener with a sprained MCL, said Wednesday he expects to make his NFL debut on Saturday against the San Diego Chargers.
The cornerback wore a sleeve over his left knee as he practiced in full pads Wednesday with the first-team defense.
"I’m supposing to be playing this week," Claiborne said after Wednesday’s practice.
Claiborne said he’s not sure if he’ll start Saturday. Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr started the preseason opener at Oakland.
Claiborne missed the entire offseason as he recovered from wrist surgery. After he was cleared for training camp, he suffered the knee injury.
Claiborne returned to the practice field in a limited role late last week.
Team executive vice president Stephen Jones said last week on KRLD-FM that, "Mo Claiborne’s got to get out there. The times he’s been out there, it’s been impressive."
Claiborne said he had no problems with Jones’ comments.
"I understand where he’s coming from," Claiborne said Saturday. "Anytime you put that much money in somebody to go out and play, you want them out on the field playing. I understand exactly where he’s coming from."
JERRY JONES: Andre Holmes “Has Chance To Play A Lot This Year”
Fresh off Thursday’s rejection letter to Plaxico Burress, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was talking up a tall wide receiver already on the roster.
Jones has been hyping second-year pro Andre Holmes since February. While Holmes starting camp with a whimper, failing his conditioning test, he has bounced back by putting together a string of much-improved practices this week. Jones’ dismissal of Thursday’s Burress rumors had everything to do with wanting to see what the young receivers already on the roster can do during preseason, and Holmes is right at the top of the watch list in Monday’s exhibition opener at Oakland.
“Holmes will get his opportunities,” Jones said Friday. “I’m seeing him be more consistent. He is getting his assignments down better, for a fact, and you know he’s got that height and got the ability to catch the ball. So that’s why he’s certainly someone that’s got a chance to get to play a lot this year.”
In addition to the 6-5 Holmes, Jones also singled out 5-8 receiver Cole Beasley as a player to watch on Monday.
Then again, there are countless rookies, first-year and second-year players that the owner is most interested in seeing against the Raiders.
“I think the usual cast, which are your young players,” Jones said. “Some of the free agents, (Brandon) Carr, I don’t need to see. I really don’t need to see (Lawrence) Vickers. I don’t need to see guys that are veteran players. I know they need to get some snaps, but I know what they can do. Frankly, I don’t want to be too aggressive relative to seeing a (Mackenzy) Bernadeau and some of those players like that. I don’t need to see (Jason) Witten.
"We need to see players and make sure that they can play when the lights are on the way that they practice out here. And that, to me, is what these first two preseason games are about.”
Courtesy: Josh Ellis
RELATED: Another big day for undersized Cowboys’ receiver Cole Beasley
Another day, another strong practice for free-agent receiver Cole Beasley. The rookie from SMU, who left camp for two days with thoughts about quitting football before returning, made several clutch catches in today’s afternoon workout, including a one-handed grab in front of Lionel Smith, a rookie from Texas A&M.
Beasley (5-foot-8, 177 pounds) worked with both the first- and second-team offense. After making a catch in traffic from quarterback Tony Romo, a fan urged coaches to pay attention because the Cowboys “need a (Wes) Welker.” Beasley’s one-handed grab of a pass from Kyle Orton only served to stir the crowd more and trigger more comparisons to the New England Patriots’ undersized standout from Texas Tech.
“I’m starting to get a few reps with the 1’s. I feel like I’ve been doing pretty good,” Beasley said. “I’ve still got some things I need to get better at. So I’m just working every day.”
Beasley agreed with the assessment of Stephen Jones, the Cowboys’ director of player personnel who surmised that Beasley has elevated his play since returning to camp.
“My mind is totally focused on football now,” Beasley said. “I’m just having fun and playing with my teammates.”
Beasley said he is aware of his surroundings when lining up against first-team defenders.
“You always know who’s across from you. But you have to ignore it and be confident in your abilities and go out there and make plays,” Beasley said. “In my heart, I think I’m the biggest guy out there. I feel like I’m just one of the guys out there competing for a spot, like everyone else.”
Asked about the one-hand grab, Beasley said: “Orton really just put it where the DB couldn’t get it. I just stuck my hand out there, happened to make the play.”
Beasley said he appreciates the fan support, hears the Welker comparisons and understands them.
“I would love to have the career that he’s had,” Beasley said. “But you try to block it out and focus on practice. I’m a little bit of an underdog and everyone loves an underdog … I appreciate all the people out there supporting me and helping me get through it.”
Courtesy: Jimmy Burch