Monday, July 31, 2006

Terrell Owens' day in training camp

July 31, 2006

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) -- A look at Terrell Owens' day in training camp with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday.

STRUTTING HIS STUFF: After beating cornerback Jacques Reeves on a quick slant in the end zone, Owens capped the play by dunking the ball over the crossbar, drawing a chuckle from an assistant coach nearby. Owens later gave a quick shoulder shimmy after catching a lob in the end zone over cornerback Terence Newman.

CAN'T CATCH 'EM ALL: Owens and cornerback Anthony Henry fought for a deep ball, but it wound up bouncing off Owens' shoulder pads. Another long pass drifted out of bounds, over two defenders; Owens leaped to grab it anyway but couldn't hang on.

WATCHING THE CIRCUS: "I'm surprised T.O. isn't beat down over the whole T.O. talk. It's certainly played out. But he enjoys it, so all the power to him. ... I just want to hype it up and feed off it. I love it." -- kicker Mike Vanderjagt.

Bullet in Davis' thigh also a punch line

/ Associated Press
Posted: 2 hours ago

OXNARD, Calif. (AP) - Watching Dallas Cowboys safety Keith Davis go through training camp, you wouldn't know he's running around with a bullet lodged into his thigh from a freak shooting only a few weeks ago.

Well, there is one way you'd know - if you were close enough to hear his teammates tease him about it.

"We tell him, 'We're not going to the huddle because we don't know if we're coming back,"' cornerback Terence Newman said. "I've been trying to catch him asleep and dig (the bullet) out so I can put it on eBay. But every time I touch his leg, he wakes up.

"It's all just fun and games," Newman added. "He just laughs. He knows he was a victim, it could've happened to anybody. He's taking it real well."

Davis was driving on a Dallas highway early July 16 when he was hit by two shots from another car. One bullet grazed his head, the other became lodged in his thigh. He was hospitalized for only two days, returning to full strength in time to join his teammates for the start of training camp.

Davis later changed some of the details of the story he gave police - he was leaving a party, not driving home from visiting family in Louisiana so he could go to church. What mattered most to the Cowboys is that he truly was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and coach Bill Parcells said an investigation by NFL security verified that.

Still, the incident raised eyebrows because something similar happened to him three years ago.

Of course, that's also why he's being teased so much.

Davis takes it all in with his usual easy smile. Considering how much worse it could've been, why wouldn't he?

"I'm truly blessed to be out here," Davis said Monday. "I'm having fun. I feel fine. Everything's going well. No limits."

Parcells cut Davis after his 2003 shooting, in part because the coach had just arrived and was trying to set a tone. He'd told players to avoid dangerous places and Davis' incident occurred in the parking lot of a topless club.

Davis' roster spot is more secure this time. The team's top special teams player, he started 15 games at free safety last season and earlier this summer received a two-year contract worth roughly $3 million, including about $2 million in bonus and salary this season, after New Orleans tried prying him away with an offer sheet.

Still, Davis sees nothing special about his quick return to action.

"This is what I do," he said. "I mean, this is my job, to come out here and perform on the football field. Everybody has been very supportive, since Day 1. It's good to be out here, good to be playing football."

He's been playing well, too. He had several interceptions in the first few practices, then was all over the running game Monday morning; two of his hits even led to brief scuffles.

"That's what we expect him to do," fellow safety Roy Williams said.

Davis needs a big camp because Parcells has talked openly about free safety being up for grabs. Other candidates are veteran Marcus Coleman and rookie Pat Watkins, whose 6-foot-5 height intrigues Parcells.

"I think I know pretty much what I have with Keith," Parcells said. "He's an aggressive player. He's fought his way onto this team and I have respect for him."

After all the bullets he's dodged off the field, Davis figures he can handle this competition.

"I feel like if I go out there and do what I do, then I'll be fine," Davis said. "Nothing against the other guys, but I just go out there and do what I'm supposed to. I bust my tail every day doing the little things to make me a better football player."

RECAP: Mickey Spagnola with The Hardline on The Ticket...

RECAP: Mickey Spagnola with The Hardline on The Ticket... thanks to TB @ CZ


The defense looks way ahead of the offense right now, but the offense did look better this morning. Bledsoe got a couple of good passes off to TO. This guy seems to catch just about everything thrown his way.

Gurode has been moved to first-string center. Parcells did play it down in the PC saying not to read much into it.

Columbo has shown a little more than Fabini. Parcells approached Fabini again today and said he needs to pick it up.

The jury is still out on Kosier, we'll have to see some more of him.

The defense really seems to have an attitude/edge. There is alot of hitting going on when there isn't supposed to be any hitting.

Parcells did say he will play Romo alot this season even possibly starting a game. Romo is in the final year of his contract and Dallas wants to see what they have. He said Henson is just not ready at this point.

Beriault leaves practice early Monday

Cowboys | Beriault leaves practice early Monday
Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:11:25 -0700

Matt Mosley, of The Dallas Morning News, reports Dallas Cowboys S Justin Beriault (head) left practice early Monday, July 31, after taking a shot to the head.

Hurd performing well in practice

Cowboys | Hurd performing well in practice
Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:11:40 -0700

Matt Mosley, of The Dallas Morning News, reports Dallas Cowboys WR Sam Hurd has shown flashes early in training camp. He's shown the ability to cut on a dime and appears to have caught passing game coordinator Todd Haley's attention.

Polite getting a lot of reps

Cowboys | Polite getting a lot of reps
Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:12:34 -0700

Matt Mosley, of The Dallas Morning News, reports Dallas Cowboys FB Lousaka Polite is getting a lot of reps while learning the F-back position. He has improved his pass-catching skills.

Cowboys waives B. Pierce

Cowboys | Team waives B. Pierce
Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:36:23 -0700

Rob Phillips, of, reports Dallas Cowboys TE Brett Pierce (knee) has been waived while injured. If Pierce is able to clear waivers, he will be placed on the team's Injured Reserve list.

K. Coleman continues to work with No. 1 defense

Cowboys | K. Coleman continues to work with No. 1 defense
Mon, 31 Jul 2006 17:37:09 -0700

Rob Phillips, of, reports Dallas Cowboys DL Kenyon Coleman continues to work with the No. 1 defense at left defensive end in place of DL Marcus Spears (knee).

Petitti muscles up for Cowboys

Web Posted: 07/30/2006 11:50 PM CDT

Tom Orsborn
Express-News Staff Writer

OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys right tackle Rob Petitti is finally serious about playing professional football.
It shows in his diet, which no longer includes large amounts of beer and fatty foods.

It shows in his commitment to improving as a pass blocker, something he struggled with last season.

It shows in his leaner, stronger body, a result of spending long hours in the weight room during the offseason.

"I care a lot more about football," Petitti said. "This is my job now, so I take it very seriously."

Petitti's transformation from an unpolished rookie with strength issues into an around-the-clock professional hasn't gone unnoticed.

"He looks like a different person completely," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said.

That's good news for a team whose fortunes this season likely will be determined by the play of the offensive line.

"It's vital," Parcells said of the need for the line to shine.

Petitti, a former Pittsburgh standout, started all 16 regular-season games as a rookie last season. After a decent start, he faded late, a development that led Parcells to tell him, "You've got to learn how to become a professional."

Petitti took the challenge to heart.

"I have a lot of pride, and the way last season ended wasn't a good feeling for me, so I told myself I was going to do everything I possibly could to do better this year," Petitti said.

The first step in his makeover was to gain strength in his upper body and legs and eliminate the body fat gained from years of partying and eating junk food.

"I worked out real hard every day, sometimes even on the weekend," said Petitti, who is 6-foot-6, 327 pounds. "I'm not getting thrown around as much. I'm more balanced. I have more power."

Parcells credits strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek for the increased muscle on Petitti, who says he can bench press 440 pounds, an increase of 70 pounds from last year.

"Joe got to the guy, and I just encouraged Petitti and told him, 'I think you can play this game if you understand what it takes,'" Parcells said. "He's a pretty bright kid. He's been very diligent in his training and has made a lot of progress physically that should allow him to play better.

"But I don't know. That's in the weight room, and you have to take it to the field."

Offensive line coach Tony Sparano suggested that wouldn't be a problem.

"This kid changed his body completely and is now prepared for a full NFL season," Sparano said. "We're looking for good things."

Petitti says he also feels healthier after swearing off beer and going on a protein-rich diet favored by his mentor, right guard Marco Rivera.

"I told (Petitti) he should get on his knees and thank God Marco was here for him," Parcells said.

The Cowboys signed free agent Jason Fabini in March to compete at right tackle, and many observers predicted the former New York Jets starter would unseat Petitti.

"All the press, all the magazines I read said there's no way (Petitti) can do it next year," Petitti said. "I just wanted a chance. And I worked hard, and I'm getting my chance. If I don't win (the job), at least I'll know I did everything I could this offseason."

Jones loves T.O.'s star appeal


OXNARD, Calif. - Jerry Jones has been known to make a brash prediction or two in the 17 years he's been the owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys.

But his team's recent dry spell, which has included nine straight seasons without a playoff win and a sub-.500 record (40-56) in this millennium, has humbled him a bit.

While he privately may believe the offseason acquisition of best-selling author and five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens is going to earn the Cowboys an all-expenses-paid trip to Miami in February, he's trying to keep a lid on his public optimism.

"I've had a lot of the fire knocked out of my pants by my predictions the last several years," Jones said yesterday. "It's humbled me not being in the playoffs. It's limited me as far as feeling optimistic.

"Having said all that, we've put together a team that makes us the best team on paper that we've had in the last 5, 6 years."

Paper, of course, is what Owens' 7-year, $49 million contract with the Eagles was written on. And we all know how that turned out.

With his team residing in the same division as the Eagles, Jones had a front-row seat for the whole Owens soap opera last year. Watched him try to renegotiate his deal just a year into it. Watched him turn on his quarterback. Watched him drop one napalm bomb after another on One NovaCare Way.

But Jones was unfazed. When the Eagles finally released the petulant, self-centered - and yes, very, very talented - receiver in March, Jones was there waiting for him with a big hug and a 3-year, $25 million contract.

"I've been around other players who have had criticism off the field, but have been inordinately hard workers in practice and tremendous competitors in games," the Cowboys owner said. "I bought into, or became comfortable with some of the things he's been criticized for. It's all about winning the game.

"Plus, we had the money right. We agreed in just about every way you can [regarding Owens' contract]. Are we being fair [to Owens]? Did we address the money in the right way with respect to recognizing where he is [in his career] and the circumstances [that led to his release by the Eagles]?"

Owens received a $5 million signing bonus and will earn another $5 million in base salary this season. He's scheduled to receive $8 million (a $3 million roster bonus and $5 million in salary) in '07 and another $7 million ($3 million roster bonus and $4 million in salary) in '08. The roster bonuses aren't payable until June of each year, which gives the Cowboys a little extra time to decide whether Owens is still worth the trouble. The same with putting so much of his money in salary.

The Eagles' willingness to take a gamble on Owens 2 years ago was prompted by a sense of urgency caused by three straight NFC Championship Game losses. They were desperate to get over the hump and Owens was their best shot to do that.

Jones felt that same sense of urgency. He has a soon-to-be 65-year-old coach - Bill Parcells - who is hardly in this for the long haul. He has a quarterback - Drew Bledsoe - who will turn 35 in February, and no viable replacement on the roster. His other top wide receiver - Terry Glenn - is 32. Tick, tick, tick.

"I do feel [a sense of urgency]," Jones said. "But the decision to bring T.O. on the roster was about winning."

In Owens, Jones sees a player who not only will bolster a passing game that finished 15th in the league last season, but also strengthen a ground game that will benefit from the soft coverages that defenses will play to keep Owens and Glenn from beating them deep. He sees an offense that will bring back memories of Aikman and Smith and Irvin.

"I've had my finest hours on the field in the NFL when we were really balanced [offensively]," Jones said.

Early on, there was a perception that Jones signed Owens without first consulting Parcells. That's mainly because Parcells didn't make an appearance to talk about it at the news conference to announce Owens' signing, or at the media breakfast at the league meetings in Orlando in March. But Parcells has since said he was part of the decision.

Jones insisted he didn't have to sell his coach on bringing Owens to Dallas. "I think we were pretty candid with the potential pluses and minuses,'' he said. "We didn't have a disagreement on those. I didn't feel myself having to coax him into it."

So, a guy who not once, but twice, trampled on the hallowed Cowboy star at Texas Stadium to celebrate a pair of touchdown catches a few years back, now is playing for the Cowboys.

"I've been asked how I felt when he did that,'' Jones said. "[They asked] did it make me mad? I tell them not half as much as the touchdown catches he made right before he went to the star. That'll make you mad.''

Part of the reason Jones doesn't find Owens as obnoxious as many others do is because, well, because he's a lot like Owens.

"I've been criticized at times for having controversial visibility that might have taken away from what we were doing as a team or franchise," the Cowboys owner said. "And I've made adjustments. I have."

Owens has claimed he has made adjustments too. Said last month that he has "grown from my mistakes" and that he plans "trying to be a better person in life and a better teammate."

Jones said that when he and coach Jimmy Johnson parted ways after the Cowboys won their second consecutive Super Bowl after the 1993 season, former 49ers coach Bill Walsh said "it was a classic example of two friends who grew careless with their relationship."

"Working with [Parcells], we have not been careless with our relationship," Jones said. "And I have every reason to believe that Terrell's relationship here will be the same way."

Cowboys Sign Fredrickson; Cut Three Players

Mid-Day Report
Cowboys Sign Fredrickson; Cut Three Players
Rob Phillips - Email Staff Writer
July 31, 2006 12:51 PM
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Fredrickson mostly will work on punts and kickoffs in training camp.

What's The Scoop:
Three days into training camp, Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells has started moving parts on his roster.

The Cowboys signed punter Tyler Fredrickson, who practiced with the team Monday, and released wide receiver Ahmad Merritt, linebacker J.J. Horne and cornerback Byron Parker.

Fredrickson, a former University of California standout from Santa Barbara, was released by the Denver Broncos last week. The Cowboys signed Fredrickson Sunday night after his workout here at the River Ridge Complex.

Fredrickson gives the Cowboys another punter to spell Mat McBriar in practice, but while doing so, he will have the opportunity to demonstrate his kick-off ability should the club enter the kickoff specialist market if veteran kicker Mike Vanderjagt can't handle those duties.

"That's what they want me to focus on for the most part, kickoffs and some punts to kind of help out Mat's leg," Fredrickson said.

A three-year veteran, Merritt was waived/injured by the Cowboys last August after suffering a foot injury in training camp. He dropped several balls during the first two days of practice.

The Cowboys signed Horne as a rookie free agent out of Pitt. Parker is a 25-year-old corner from Tulane.

Asked why they were released so soon, Parcells said, "It's real easy. You know they don't have any chance of making the team."

In Merritt's case, the Cowboys have several rookie receivers on the roster, including Jamaica Rector, J.R. Tolver, Miles Austin and Sam Hurd, and wants to give them as many reps as possible.

The Cowboys now have 83 players on their roster after also waiving Brett Pierce (torn ACL) injured. Once Pierce clears waivers he will revert to the team's injured reserve.

Quick Shots:
# Terrell Owens and cornerback Anthony Henry continue to battle for jump balls in practice. This time, Henry leaped to break up a Drew Bledsoe bullet pass down the left sideline intended for Owens.
# Kicker Mike Vanderjagt made 2-of-4 field goal attempts. He connected from 30 and 35 yards out but kicked wide right on his final two attempts from 38 and 42 yards. Shaun Suisham made 3-of-4, missing his 30-yarder.
# Safety Justin Beriault left the morning practice during team drills. Parcells said Beriault got hit in the head, and his return will depend on if he indeed suffered a concussion.
# Fifth-year veteran Kenyon Coleman continues to work with the first team at left defensive end in place of Marcus Spears, who had successful surgery Sunday to repair torn meniscus in his right knee.
# Roy Williams and wide receiver J.R. Tolver got into a brief shoving match during 11-on-11 drills and had to be separated.
# Former Cowboys safety James Washington attended Monday morning's practice and signed autographs. Washington, who lives in nearby Whittier, came to Oxnard to co-host his Fox Sports Radio show Out Of Bounds on Fox. "I think the defense is going to be solid," Washington said of this year's team. "Hopefully T.O. can do the things that we expect him to do between the lines, but I think overall it will be O.K."
# Linebacker Bradie James says he'd like to work out a contract extension with the Cowboys before the second game of the regular season, but he's not concerned about it. "To my knowledge, that's why I have an agent," said James, who is entering the final year of his deal. "That's why I pay him three percent to worry about that. It's up to me to go make the plays out there."

You Should've Seen:
Rookie safety Pat Watkins' dazzling interception during 11-on-11 drills. Watkins, the fifth-round pick out of Florida State, picked off Tony Romo's flea-flicker pass intended for Terrance Copper and raced down the right sideline to the delight of his new teammates. Parcells said Monday that Watkins has a real chance to compete for playing time at free safety.

Who's Hot:
Parcells said during mini-camp that wide receiver Jamaica Rector was pound-for-pound the strongest player on the team. The 186-pound Rector has translated that strength into success on the field in training camp. Rector, who spent last year on the practice squad, has made several impressive grabs in practice. He's trying to earn a backup receiver spot on the active roster.

Who's Not:
After working with the first team at center the first two days, Al Johnson practiced behind Andre Gurode on Monday. Parcells said not to read into the position shuffles on the offensive line. Johnson and Gurode are battling for the center job again this year.

Injury Update:
S Justin Beriault, head (7/31)
TE Brett Pierce, torn ACL (7/30)
DE Marcus Spears, knee (meniscus) - had knee scoped (7/30)
OT Flozell Adams removed from PUP (7/30)

Missed Practice:
DE Marcus Spears, torn meniscus
TE Brett Pierce, torn ACL

Returned to Practice:
OT Flozell Adams (7/30)

LB J.J. Horne, released (7/31)
WR Ahmad Merritt, released (7/31)
CB Byron Parker, released (7/31)
TE Brett Pierce, waived injured (7/31)
T Flozell Adams moved from PUP to active roster (7/30)
LB Bobby Carpenter, signed (7/29)
T E.J. Whitley, placed on injured reserve (7/29)
T Flozell Adams, placed on active PUP (7/28)
S Darrell Brooks, released (7/28)
G Shannon Snell, released (7/28)

Top BILL-ing:
"I just don't think it would've worked. He's a little bit of a renegade, gunslinging-type quarterback. I think he would've been a little error-prone. But he reminds me of a couple of players I've had before. That's always a good thing." - Parcells on why he didn't overexpose quarterback Tony Romo his first three years. Parcells plans to give Romo significant playing time in preseason.

Good To See Buzz on Pat Watkins

Originally Posted by AustinFan from a sports forum:

I know that it's early in training camp, but it's good to hear positive buzz on Pat Watkins. His name is popping up on the training camp reports for nice plays. More importantly, you could tell in today's press conference that BP thinks he might have found a mid round gem with this guy. I don't think that I've seen quite that reaction from Parcells before about a rookie this early in the process.

With his unique measureables, this guy could be quite an asset if he progresses fast enough to contribute this year.

Cowboys veteran Greg Ellis has worked with the first team at OLB in camp

Cowboys veteran Greg Ellis has worked with the first team at OLB in camp.

This shouldn't last long with Bobby Carpenter likely to at least push to start. Ellis has been noticeably happy around Cowboys camp.
Source: Dallas Morning News

Cowboys signed former Cal kicker Tyler Fredrickson to a one-year deal

The Cowboys signed former Cal kicker Tyler Fredrickson to a one-year deal.

Fredrickson will compete to handle kickoff duties. Mike Vanderjagt was hoping to have the honors.

Cowboys released WR Ahmad Merritt, CB Byron Parker, and LB JJ Horne

Cowboys released WR Ahmad Merritt, CB Byron Parker, and LB JJ Horne.

Dallas still has seven active receivers on the roster.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Free Agent PK/P Tyler Fredrickson worked out

Cowboys | Fredrickson worked out
Sun, 30 Jul 2006 18:23:30 -0700

Nick Eatman, of, reports the Dallas Cowboys worked out free agent PK/P Tyler Fredrickson (Broncos) following practice Sunday, July 30. He practiced kickoffs, punts and even short field-goal attempts during his workout.

Merritt struggling to catch the ball

Cowboys | Merritt struggling to catch the ball
Sun, 30 Jul 2006 18:30:48 -0700

Nick Eatman, of, reports Dallas Cowboys WR Ahmad Merritt struggled to catch the ball during team drills both Saturday, July 29, and again Sunday, July 30, dropping a few routine passes.

Cowboys end Spears tears cartilage in first workout

By Len Pasquarelli

Second-year defensive end Marcus Spears, a 2005 first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys who appeared in all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, suffered a torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee Saturday and will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Sunday.

The surgery is expected to sideline Spears, a starter in 10 games last season, for 2-3 weeks.

Spears sustained the injury while rushing the quarterback. As he broke toward the pocket, Spears' foot stuck in the turf, causing the tear.
"God gives you things, and you've got to take care of them when they come," Spears said. "It's tough man, because I don't want to miss [any time]."

The Cowboys, who have convened training camp in Oxnard, Calif., will fly Spears back to Dallas to have the procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon there. It will mark the second surgery on Spears' right knee, which was also repaired before the 2005 draft.

Spears actually injured his left knee in training camp last summer, severely spraining it in a scrimmage, but that incident did not require surgery.
Fortunately, for the Cowboys, the team does have some depth at end. There is even a chance that veteran Greg Ellis, who has been working in a hybrid role in camp -- an assignment at which he balked during the spring -- could be moved back to end. Still, the Dallas defense is stronger with Spears, who is a prototype 3-4 end in terms of size and skill-set, in the lineup.

The former LSU star, who was the 20th overall selection in the 2005 draft, registered 31 tackles and 1½ sacks in his rookie campaign. At nearly 300 pounds, he is a strong anchor versus the run.

Aikman: He measures up on any given day

Aikman's competitive nature not just for Sundays
By Marla Ridenour

Beacon Journal sportswriter

The measure of a man in the NFL comes on Sundays.

For Troy Aikman, it also came on Fridays.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback was so driven to win that the final serious practice of the week frustrated him as much as rival coach Buddy Ryan's blitz packages. Ex-Cowboys defensive coordinator Butch Davis said some drills that day reminded him of the Super Bowl.

``He used to get (ticked) off on Friday running the two-minute drill because everything was geared to the defense winning it,'' former Dallas offensive lineman Kevin Gogan said. ``Of course, they knew all our signals. So he'd get in the huddle and say, `I'm going to give this signal, but I really mean this.' He was so competitive he wanted to (mess with) those guys.''

Ex-fullback Daryl ``Moose'' Johnston said the nine-on-seven inside drill was just as infuriating for Aikman, even with Emmitt Smith on their side.

``There would be nine guys within six yards, they'd be walking up safeties, and he'd pull up and throw a play-action pass,'' Johnston said. ``They'd say, `This is a running drill,' and he'd say, `Yeah, but we're not getting anything out of this.' ''

There also were times during Aikman's 12 seasons when his coaches and teammates would admire the arm, the accuracy, the touch and the leadership that would help the Cowboys win three Super Bowls and make Aikman a first-ballot selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Aikman is one of six inductees getting ready for Saturday's 1 p.m. enshrinement ceremonies at Fawcett Stadium in Canton near the Hall.

``Sometimes in practice the ball wouldn't hit the ground the entire week,'' said Davis, a former Browns coach. ``Troy would go 18-for-18 in seven-on-seven, and if the ball hit the ground, somebody probably dropped it. And that didn't happen with Michael Irvin or Jay Novacek.''

No question, Aikman had help. His fellow ``Triplets'' -- Smith (1990) and Irvin (1988) -- also were first-round picks who might join him in the Hall of Fame. Smith, the NFL's all-time rushing leader, will be a first-ballot choice in 2010.

But Aikman didn't become a member of the 2006 class just because of the shrewd moves of team owner Jerry Jones and coach Jimmy Johnson, who both arrived in Dallas the same year as Aikman in 1989.

``As many people who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, nobody better typifies a pro quarterback,'' Davis said. ``He had the work ethic, toughness, charisma and performance. He was spectacular.''

Gogan went on to play with Dan Marino, Steve Young and Jeff Hostetler, and ranks Aikman's accuracy above all of them. Former Cowboys offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese said: ``Troy was the best quarterback I ever had and that includes Dan Fouts. Troy threw the ball better.''

Irvin will testify to that. He appreciated Aikman even more when he played with future Hall of Famer Brett Favre in the Pro Bowl.

``His ball goes whoosh and goes right on through,'' Irvin said of Favre. ``Troy's ball gets to me and says, `Here I am.' His ball whistles and stops right where it's supposed to and says, `Catch me, please.' ''

Switching sports

Growing up in Cerritos, Calif., Aikman dreamed of playing professional baseball until his father, a pipeline worker, moved the family to Henryetta, Okla., when he was 12.

``When I first moved to Henryetta, I was wondering what I had done to deserve such punishment,'' Aikman said. ``In California I could ride my bike anywhere I wanted to go. In Oklahoma we lived seven miles out of town on dirt roads with very few neighbors. It wasn't conducive for a young boy who all he ever wanted to do was play sports.''

Aikman credited the small-town life for shaping his values and beliefs. He nearly gave up football in the eighth grade, but playing in a football-crazy state landed him a football scholarship at Oklahoma.

Sooners coach Barry Switzer tried to adjust his wishbone offense to be more Aikman-friendly, but Aikman transferred to UCLA after the 1986 season. In his final game for the Sooners, Aikman broke his leg as No. 1 Oklahoma fell 28-16 to No. 2 Miami, which was coached by Johnson and included Irvin. Johnson lobbied to get Aikman a second time, having been first spurned when he was at Oklahoma State, but lost Aikman to Bruins coach Terry Donahue.

At UCLA, Aikman became the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year in 1987, won the Davey O'Brien national quarterback award and was a Heisman finalist in 1988. When he took over the Cowboys, Johnson had no doubt whom he wanted.

``I thought he was special before we got him,'' Johnson said. ``I said he'd rejected me twice, I was not going to get rejected a third time. Troy was always destined to do great things. The only thing I had to do was surround him with great talent.''

Johnson said what set Aikman apart was his work ethic.

``He worked in the weight room as hard as our offensive linemen,'' Johnson said.

But no amount of bench presses or film study could prepare Aikman for his rookie season, when the Cowboys went 1-15 and he didn't win a game. The only victory came after Aikman broke his finger and was replaced by ex-Hurricanes quarterback Steve Walsh, whom the Cowboys had taken in the supplemental draft. Aikman had plenty to deal with -- the physical pounding, the mental stress of losing and the challenge of Walsh.

``When we drafted Walsh, that bothered him and I liked that,'' Irvin said. ``Some people who got all that money would lose interest. Here you've got somebody who cares about it.''

Johnston said with a nearly all-Miami Hurricanes staff, he could see why Aikman might have worried.

``But even with Steve, who was a great leader and had great intangibles, it was night and day when Troy stepped on the field,'' Johnston said. ``As a leader in the huddle, he didn't have to say anything. It was an air he had about him. His strength was the innate confidence he had. He'd be a great general in the Army. You just wanted to follow him.''

Davis said 1-15 was ``the acid test'' for Aikman.

``The media was on him, the fans were on him, there were such high expectations of the first player taken in the draft,'' Davis said. ``But his toughness was exposed. He was so determined, so physically strong. He reminded us as a rookie of Terry Bradshaw taking a beating.''

Last month, Aikman called 1989 ``arguably the most difficult year I'd ever experienced in my life.''

``I was 22 so I could absorb some of the hits,'' he said. ``But the mental anguish was the most trying. You put in the time during the week and go through the physical punishment only to walk off the field all 11 times I played without having experienced what it was like to win.''

Aikman had also survived an 0-10 high school season at Henryetta, and he persevered. Walsh was traded to the New Orleans Saints in September, 1990. When Aikman's lineup was bolstered and the defensive unit built into the league's best in 1992, he would engineer Super Bowl victories following the '92, '93 and '95 seasons. He won the game's Most Valuable Player award in '93 and became the winningest quarterback of any decade in league history with 90 victories in the '90s.

But the game that is still talked about in Dallas is a 38-28 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship after the 1994 season. Larry Allen was playing one tackle spot despite a badly injured ankle, and the Niners jumped to a 21-0 lead with 7:33 left in the first quarter.

``He'd get hit and pop up every time,'' Johnston said of Aikman. ``We were close to digging out of that hole just because of him and it was amazing to see. The running backs coach called down and said, `You've got to stay in and help keep him on his feet.' I did it for a couple snaps and Troy said, `What are you doing?' He hated running backs staying in.''

Chalk it up as another of Aikman's pet peeves. Overprotective running backs and Fridays always got him down.

Drew Henson's Stock Rising?

Matt Mosley had this in his DMN blog regarding Henson.
Is Henson long for this team?

For the handful of you guys still holding out hope for Drew Henson's future in Dallas, here's some encouragement.
Contrary to what I'm reading in a lot of your comments, the Cowboys haven't given up on him.

Henson was completely deflated after the club pretty much dismissed his performance in NFL Europe. He goes to Dusseldorf and puts up respectable numbers behind a suspect offensive line. He also had a Frenchman trying to pick up the blitz.
Anyway, he came back home and apparently turned some heads at the veterans' minicamp.
And people that should know say Bill Parcells is attempting to wipe the slate clean and actually give Henson a chance. After last season's training camp, Parcells didn't even know Henson was still on the roster.

The one thing that Henson has over both Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo is mobility. He's the best athlete of the three and can make plays when things fall apart.
The problem is that he seems to think too much on the field. Coaches are trying to get him comfortable enough with the offense to simply react.
I'm not saying Henson's going to overtake Romo during training camp. Just saying don't write him off completely.

S. Green looking good so far at WR and on special teams

Cowboys | S. Green looking good so far at WR and on special teams
Sun, 30 Jul 2006 14:37:13 -0700

Nick Eatman, of, reports Dallas Cowboys rookie WR Skyler Green has shown surprisingly good hands after just two practice sessions. He has made several catches even though he's had to go high into the air and then land awkwardly. He also did a fine job catching punts during the afternoon special teams session, none of which escaped receivers coach Todd Haley, who told Green during practice, "You've already gotten so much better, Skyler."

Cowboys to try out Lincoln Kennedy

By: Mike Fisher
Date: Jul 30, 2006

OXNARD, Calif. – This former Pro Bowl tackle negotiated his release from an AFC team this weekend and will contact the Dallas Cowboys about a tryout on Monday morning, has learned.

Former Pro Bowl tackle Lincoln Kennedy negotiated his release from the Oakland Raiders this weekend and will on Monday morning contact the Cowboys about a tryout, has learned.

“I want to play in a win a Super Bowl,’’ Kennedy told us in a statement released by his agent. “I want to help a contender.’’

And he would love for that contender to be the Cowboys, a team that agent Scott Casterline has ties with, a team that has toyed with the idea of exploring more help at the tackle position.

Flozell Adams returned to work for the first time Sunday and looked a bit sluggish, though he is expected to work himself back to standout-level. Rob Petitti is trying to win the right tackle job (and has earned coach Bill Parcells' praise). Marc Colombo, Jason Fabini (not in the coach's favor at this moment) and rookie Pat McQuistan are candidates for backup jobs.

Kennedy, 33, has been out of football for two years and most recently was a commentator for NFL Network (he was not renewed for this season). A former Falcons No. 1 draft pick, he’s been mostly a right tackle in his career. He’s massive – Casterline says he’s in shape at 6-7 and about 380 – which obviously fits one requirement of the job.

The Cowboys had given some thought to looking at free-agent vet Adam Meadows, but Parcells this weekend scoffed at the idea because of Meadows’ lack of bulk.

Kennedy doesn’t have that problem. And he sounds motivated.

“I’ve spent the whole spring getting in shape,’’ he said, while Casterline spent the spring negotiating with the NFL commissioner’s office to secure Kennedy’s release from the Raiders. “I’ve got the ability and the desire to play.’’

Typical T.O. at Cowboys debut


OXNARD, Calif. (AP) -- An hour north of Hollywood, Terrell Owens did his best Saturday to force a dramatic debut to his first training camp with the Dallas Cowboys.

He started out by being fashionably late, making sure he was the last one out of the locker room. Once he finally headed out to the practice field, his face carried an all-business look better suited for a playoff game.

Two hours later, with a mundane session coming to a close, Owens gave the fans what they came to see. Using his size and speed, he ran past cornerback Aaron Glenn, snatched a long pass and raced into the end zone, throwing the ball down in celebration.

A chant of "T.O." started immediately and grew louder at the urging of another newcomer, kicker and Oakville, Ont., native Mike Vanderjagt. Then Owens made his way back to midfield waving his arms to keep the cheer going.

If there was still any doubt whether Cowboys fans would embrace Owens, it ended right there. As long as he catches passes and scores touchdowns, they'll love him as much as anyone who has ever worn a star on his helmet -- regardless of what he once did to the star logo on their home field.

"They're excited for me to be here and I'm equally excited for me to be here," Owens said. "I got it every day in Philadelphia, fans chanting my name each and every day, so I expect that."

Problem is, many people are expecting a lot of other things that happened in Philadelphia, such as the confrontations with teammates and coaches that led to an ugly departure. Bracing for them might a better way of describing it.

But Owens, his new teammates and coach Bill Parcells all insist he comes to Dallas with a clean slate. Sure, they know the baggage he carries -- "You'd have to be living in a closet to not know some of the things," Parcells said -- but they're vowing to judge him only on what they see.

And so far, they like what they've seen.

"He's so physical, so fast," raved quarterback Drew Bledsoe, whose relationship with Owens will be scrutinized as much as Owens-Parcells. "The thing that's probably most impressive is what he does after he catches the ball. He turns up the field like he's trying to score every time he touches it. That's paid off huge for him. He's led the league in yardage after catch, and hopefully that will be the case this year."

It might be too early to start talking about statistical goals since it remains to be seen how Parcells will use Owens. It has often been said that he shouldn't expect to catch 100 passes, but the truth is he's only hit that mark once in his career.

Owens said his only statistical goals are to have "a lot" of receptions and touchdowns. He later said fantasy football team owners should pick him because "if you want touchdowns, if you want somebody to be up there at the top of the leaderboard, then I guess I'm your man."

He seemed to be going for a laugh with those lines. With a more serious tone, he talked about wanting to fit in.

"Bill kind of strives on that running game. I'm behind that 100 per cent," he said. "We're going to feed off each other. Some games, the running game is going to be where it needs to be and sometimes the passing is not. And sometimes it's going to be vice-a-versa."

Owens had a brief chat with Parcells, then another with Bledsoe during the first workout. Everyone was full of smiles.

Asked about the conversation with Parcells, Owens said the coach told him, "We're going to have some fun."

Owens knows he's not going to always have such pleasant exchanges with his new coach. That seems to be OK with him.

"I know Bill's the kind of guy that's going to test guys, so to speak," Owens said. "I'm kind of like a couple steps ahead of him in that department. If he gets onto me, I know it's for the good of the team. So I welcome that. ... As long as I'm doing my job, we'll have no problems."


"Not at all," he said. "I think everybody's speculating, they're kind of waiting for that to happen. So you guys keep waiting."

Parcells insists he's not thinking about when or if Owens will have another tantrum.

"We're going to treat him with respect and see what happens," Parcells said. "Coach him. Correct him. Try to put him in positions to make plays. OK? Make him part of the team. Make him part of the offence. That's what we're going to try to do. ... If it works, it works. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work."

Brett Pierce tears ACL - Out for the season

Cowboys | Pierce lost for the season
Sun, 30 Jul 2006 12:07:56 -0700

Todd Archer, of the Dallas Morning News, reports Dallas Cowboys TE Brett Pierce (knee) tore the ACL in his left knee late in Saturday's practice, July 29, and will undergo season-ending surgery. It's the third time Pierce has torn his ACL and second time in the last eight months. He originally suffered the injury while at Stanford. He was not wearing a brace when he was injured.

Upcoming scrimmage...

DMN Blog: uppcoming scrimmage 7 camp notes
Upcoming scrimmage...

The team will hold an intra-squad scrimmage next Saturday.
That's when the coaches can really start telling something about the fringe players.
DT Thomas "Pepper" Johnson came from nowhere to have four sacks in last year's scrimmage. Someone will emerge from next Saturday's scrimmage.
Two practices tomorrow. We'll be here for all of it.
Here's hoping you get absolutely no work done tomorrow. Talk soon.

Posted by Matt Mosley at 7:56 PM (E-mail this entry) | Comments (0)
Sunday's practice notes

I'm sure I'm reading way too much into this, but it sure looked like Terrell Owens had some bad body language going when the ball didn't go his way. Drew Bledsoe did not complete a pass to Owens all day and only threw one, which was a little off target and dropped.

After seeing the kickers struggle with field goals last year, the fans sure weren't happy to see Mike Vanderjagt miss on his first try of training camp from 30 yards. His second try, from 35 yards, was good but was an ugly, low kick. He made his final two attempts.

He may have been attempting to get away from Matt Mosley, but I saw owner Jerry Jones leap the fence behind the end zone. Not bad for a 63-year-old.

During individual teaching sessions, rookie running back Demetris Summers experienced the good and the bad of blocking blitzing safeties. He slipped on one attempt as Williams came in with a bull rush and was flattened, but stoned Williams the next time. He could learn from Marion Barber, who stoned Abram Elam.

The first camp skirmish went to tackle Marc Colombo and linebacker Kevin Burnett. After a Lousaka Polite run, the two exchanged small shoves before escalating into a tug-and-pull session that was broken up by teammates.
Linebacker John Saldi faces long odds of making the roster, but the son of former Cowboys tight end, Jay, had a nice moment in the running game, taking on guard Cory Procter and still being able to tackle Demetris Summers for a small gain.

Rookie Bobby Carpenter was working as an inside linebacker on the nickel defense.

For those of you who think Al Singleton won't have the starting role for long, Parcells had nothing but kind words for the veteran. Singleton is the type of player who goes unnoticed until he's gone. Carpenter will have to work to get the job away from him.

Tough day in the passing game when Drew Bledsoe was sacked (or as close to being sacked he can be in training camp) three times.

The Cowboys aren't sure if they will sign another tight end to replace Brett Pierce, who is out for the year with a torn ACL. Parcells admits they are short at the position but there aren't many options available. Too bad for Pierce. It has to be gut wrenching. This is the third time he has torn his left ACL in his life.
We'll leave you now for some of Matt's witty comments.
Posted by Todd Archer at 7:46 PM (E-mail this entry) | Comments (0)
The Practice Report...

Linebacker Kevin Burnett and offensive tackle Marc Colombo were involved in a skirmish during the team scrimmage portion of practice.
Burnett tried to land a punch, but the 6-8, 320-pound Colombo didn't seem fazed. And just so you know, I've heard more than one coach describe Colombo as the toughest player on the team.

Back in the Flo: Flozell Adams returned to practice Sunday. He looked sluggish during 1-on-1 drills, but he came around during team drills later in practice. Adams completely neutralized defensive end Chris Canty on one play.
Play of the Day: Linebacker J.J. Horne, a free-agent rookie out of Pittsburgh, had a nifty interception during team drills.

CB Aaron Glenn deserves honorable mention for diving to knock a pass away from Terry Glenn toward the end of practice.
Mike Vanderjagt missed his first attempt from 30 yards Sunday. He then connected on kicks of 35, 40, 45 yards. At least having a kicker miss a 30-yard field goal is something the Cowboys are used to. Many of you have asked whether Vanderjagt will be able to handle kickoffs during the season.
He hasn't done it since 2003, but the Cowboys are going to give him a try.
Parcells said he's never had a true kickoff specialist on his roster. The only time he's ever carried an extra kicker is because of injury.
-Right tackle Rob Petitti continues to receive praise. He bounced back with a strong practice today after Parcells spent some of Saturday's first practice calling him "stupid."

It's probably a good sign for Petitti. Parcells has a reputation of being tough on the players he actually likes. Petitti dominated some of the younger defensive linemen Sunday and his confidence seems to be growing by the day.

Plan to ask Parcells about the center position tomorrow. Al Johnson has been working with the first team, but I know that some members of the organization are pulling for Andre Gurode. Gurode has always had a little more girth, though he's listed at 312 pounds (one pound more than Johnson).
Johnson is more versatile, but he gets knocked off the ball at times. Don't be shocked if Johnson gets some reps at guard before this camp ends. Parcells likes to experiment with his players and he desperately needs to create more depth at center.

Not a lot of chemistry between Drew Bledsoe and Terrell Owens today. I've not seen a defensive back stay close with Owens through the first two days. I did see CB Anthony Henry jam him at the line of scrimmage Saturday. Owens never got into his route on the play.

The infamous four-cone drill: Passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Todd Haley runs the most entertaining drill at camp. Players have to make sharp cuts around the cones while catching balls. The fun part is that Haley's firing the balls as hard as he can from about eight yards away.

On Sunday, Haley appeared to take it easy on Owens. He took something off all four balls.
Is it safe for Rowdy to ride around the practice field with small children on the front of an ATV?
One DMN reporter spent some time signing autographs after Sunday's practice. Anything for the fans.

Mid-Day Report- Day Two

Tight End Depth Takes Severe Hit On First Day

Mickey Spagnola - Email Columnist
July 30, 2006 12:56 PM

Brett Pierce missed the final six games of last season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

What's The Scoop:
For a team planning to run a two-tight end offense, the last thing it needs is to lose any depth at the position. And that's exactly what happened to the Cowboys the first day of training camp, when backup tight end and special teams player Brett Pierce suffered a season-ending - and possibly career-ending - torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Incredibly, the tear was to the ACL doctors reconstructed last year after he suffered the same injury to the same knee against Detroit on Nov. 20. Pierce underwent reconstructive surgery Dec. 16 and was cleared to take part in the team's early-June mini-camp after spending the off-season rehabilitating.

This marks the third time Pierce has torn the ACL in his left knee. The original tear to his own ACL occurred his junior year in college. His career could be in jeopardy.

"It's unfortunate because he was working very hard to get back," Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells said of Pierce, who will be placed on injured reserve.

Pierce was expected to battle for the fourth tight end spot with Sean Ryan and Tony Curtis. There is a good chance the Cowboys will keep at least four tight ends, and possibly five, which could include fullback Lousaka Polite, who is working as an all-purpose player. The top three would seem set with Jason Witten, second-round pick Anthony Fasano and veteran free-agent Ryan Hannam.

The Cowboys might miss Pierce's special teams contributions more than those at tight end. The third-year tight end from Stanford was fourth on the team with eight special teams tackles last year before suffering his season-ending injury on kickoff coverage in the season's 10th game.

For at least the sake of numbers, the Cowboys will look at bringing another tight end into training camp once Pierce is officially placed on injured reserve. But as Parcells said, "I don't know, there's not too many guys available at this time."

Quick Shots:

After spending two days on active Physically Unable to Perform, Cowboys starting left tackle Flozell Adams has been activated and will take part in Sunday's practice. Parcells said Adams worked hard off to the side with the strength and conditioning coaches Saturday, pointing out he ran 86, 50-yard dashes during the two practices he missed.

The sign greeting players entering the east end of the locker room at The Ranch, "Who's All In?" has turned into this year's practice T-shirt for Bill Parcells. The back of his shirt has two large hands shoving Cowboys-logo chips into a pot, with the Who's All In? slogan above. Last year Parcells and strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek were the only two wearing the T-shirts with the slogan "Winning Is Our Business." Parcells said one of his players came up with this year's slogan, but refused to reveal his identity.

When Drew Bledsoe overthrew J.R. Tolver in the afternoon 7-on-7 drill, there was Keith Davis, despite the bullet still lodged in his leg following the July 16 shooting, Johnny on the spot to intercept the pass.

No matter it's just practice or even just a 7-on-7 drill, when Terrell Owens beat Anthony Henry for what would have been like a 60-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe, Owens spiked the ball in the end zone.

Cornerback Terence Newman was spotted on punt returns last year, and Parcells said he would do more of the same with him this year, except that he wanted Newman to take the responsibility more seriously, saying he told him just the other day, "When I do (use you) I want you to be ready to do it well."

When it was quarterback Jeff Mroz' turn to run the special situation play in practice, Parcells turned to the sideline to call for his free-agent rookie from Yale by yelling, "Come on genius," a playful dig at the rookie's Ivy League upbringing.

Owens wore football pants over his customary practice tights in the morning practice but just the blue tights for the afternoon practice.

Saturday's crowd of 5,500 was the largest first-day attendance in the Cowboys' three years of camp in Oxnard.

You Should've Seen:
Bill Parcells and Greg Ellis chatting amicably during the break in Saturday's afternoon practice. Ellis sprinted out to Parcells just as Bobby Carpenter was bringing his perfunctory cup of water and the disgruntled defensive end talked with Parcells throughout the five-minute break at the 40-yard line for all to see. Ellis was even seen smiling during the chat. Parcells didn't want to say what the two were talking about, but pointed out he has a pretty good relationship with Ellis and that "both of us can separate the business side of the game from the playing side."

Who's Hot:
Fourth-round draft choice Skyler Green has shown surprisingly good hands after just two practice sessions. He has made several catches even though he's had to go high into the air and then land awkwardly. He also did a fine job catching punts during the afternoon special teams session, none of which escaped receivers coach Todd Haley, who told Green during practice, "You've already gotten so much better, Skyler."

Who's Not:
During the Saturday afternoon team session drill, running back Keylon Kincade was beside himself when he lost the ball running up the middle. The lost fumble caused the second-team offense, being led by quarterback Tony Romo, to run to the fence across the empty practice field and back.

Injury Update:
TE Brett Pierce, knee (ACL) - will require season-ending surgery (7/30)
DE Marcus Spears, knee (meniscus) - had knee scoped Sunday morning (7/30)
OT Flozell Adams removed from PUP (7/30)

Missed Practice:
DE Marcus Spears, torn meniscus
TE Brett Pierce, torn ACL

Returned to Practice:
OT Flozell Adams (7/30)

T Flozell Adams moved from PUP to active roster (7/30)
LB Bobby Carpenter, signed (7/29)
T E.J. Whitley, placed on injured reserve (7/29)
T Flozell Adams, placed on active PUP (7/28)
S Darrell Brooks, released (7/28)
G Shannon Snell, released (7/28)

Bledsoe, Parcells can deal with Owens

ESPN Clayton

OXNARD, Calif. -- Fourteen years of dealing with NFL receivers has turned Drew Bledsoe, an English major at Washington State, into an amateur psychologist.

"The receiver position in general has volatile guys who are highly competitive and often don't touch the ball as much as they want to," Bledsoe said. "I've dealt with a lot of these guys. Eric Moulds could be a pain in the butt at times. I had Keyshawn Johnson. I had Terry Glenn when he was young and went through some stuff. He's a different guy now. That's just the nature of the position."

By season's end, Bledsoe probably can hang up a shingle and start a clinic. Or he might need counseling, because now he has to deal with Terrell Owens, who has trashed his former 49ers quarterback, Jeff Garcia, and ripped apart Donovan McNabb's locker room in Philadelphia. America's Team is adjusting to the NFL's greatest headache.

His entrance Saturday in Oxnard, Calif. was typical T.O. Thousands of Cowboys fans chanted "T.O., T.O., T.O" as Owens -- always the last player to run onto the field in practice -- raced to the field. He electrified the crowd with a 70-yard catch.

For skills, he's a dream. Owens is a rare combination of size, speed, break-away ability, hand-eye coordination and hands. But as a teammate, he can be a nightmare. Jerry Jones bought the whole package for $25 million over three seasons. Bill Parcells and Bledsoe have to deal with the good and the bad.

"You don't think I haven't been observing and watching," Parcells said. "You have to live in a closet to not know some of the things. You look at it. He's here. So my job is to get that player into the system and get him going.

There is no magic formula dealing with radical players. You approach it honestly and go from there."

Owens couldn't have been nicer at the open of camp. He was smiling, accommodating and friendly. Early in practice, Bledsoe went over to Owens and said, "Get ready to have some fun." Owens didn't have to run to a publisher to claim quarterback harassment.

"Regardless of the opinions and speculation, I'm going to be myself," Owens said. "I have nothing to prove. I mean, the sky is the limit to me. Let's say the star is the limit."

Oh, yes, "The Star." Owens, while a member of the 49ers, celebrated by spiking the ball on the Cowboys star at midfield of Texas Stadium after a touchdown. Bledsoe knows there will be problems with Owens. Parcells can't guarantee a successful relationship but he feels good about the Owens experience so far.

"I've had success with these type of players," Parcells said about dealing with high maintenance players. "All of these players that you would be referring to had one common trait: they respond to competition. If a player doesn't respond to competition, I can not deal with them. Those guys, once you show them where the competition is, most of them would respond favorably to it."

Owens had a blast Saturday competing against cornerback Terence Newman and safety Roy Williams, who ironically is the player whose tackle broke Owens' leg and created the opportunity for his heroic recovery to play in Super Bowl XXXIX against the Patriots.

"Eyes are always on me, and that doesn't bother me," Owens said.
Owens wouldn't field any questions about the Eagles or Donovan McNabb. He handled that in his book. "There was a lot of things I've gotten off my chest," Owens said. "I'm stress free at this point."

So are Parcells and Bledsoe, but they know storms are on the horizon. Owens won't change. He wants the ball. He wants to win. He wants it all. Parcells and Bledsoe won't change either. Parcells is the master of getting into players' heads. Bledsoe is an old-school quarterback not afraid to keep his huddle quiet and point out mistakes to his receivers.

Naturally, Bledsoe was asked how he would respond if Owens gave him the "Dude, you missed me" which led to McNabb telling Owens to "Shut the 'bleep' up."

"Well, if he's right, I'll say he's right and I'll get him on the next one," Bledsoe said. "If he's wrong, I'll tell him why I didn't throw it where he wanted it. Usually, I'm the one that goes and says something to a receiver."

Bledsoe was asked if he would ever tell a receiver to shut up.

"If they need to be told that," Bledsoe answered affirmatively.

It's funny listening to Parcells during press conferences because he won't even mention T.O.'s name. For two days, reporters tried to poke and probe about the subject, and Parcells was very open about it, but he would never mention Owens by name.

"I've always tried to give people the same consideration," Parcells said. "I judge somebody from what I see. The most I can ask from him is to be honest to me. I'm going to be honest to him."
Owens may be explosive enough to destroy a locker room but he's clearly explosiveness enough as a player to ignite an offense, too. He has the potential to average 20 yards a catch for the season and is explosive after the catch.

Despite being 6-3, 224 pounds, Owens can turn a 10-yard look-in pass into a touchdown. Observers marvel at his ability to accelerate after two steps. His run-after-catch ability makes him special.

The biggest question circulating around Cowboys camp is how much the Cowboys will pass the ball this season. Bledsoe's history with Parcells indicates that the Cowboys offense will feature plenty of passes. Bledsoe has thrown as many as 691 passes in a season for Parcells in the New England days. Last year, Bledsoe threw 499, but the Cowboys didn't make the playoffs.

But Parcells wants to run more. "I look at the champion of the league [Steelers] -- it's the team that threw the fewest passes," Parcells said. "This game doesn't change much."

The Cowboys passed the ball on 52 percent of their downs last year, and the plan to be closer to 50-50 this season. They invested a second-round choice in tight end Anthony Fasano of Notre Dame and expect to use more two-tight end sets this season. It helps when the other tight end is Pro Bowler Jason Witten.

"I would say we are going to be closer to 50-50 as far as running and passing just because of the weapons we have," Witten said. "We're going to feed each other. When teams start getting in that Cover 2 and double covering Terrell [Owens], now I think that is going to let Julius Jones and Marion Barber to get some yards in there."

But will there be enough balls to please T.O. Bledsoe averaged 34 passes a game last season. He completed 60.1 percent of them. That leaves 20 to 21 receptions a game. Witten usually gets four because Parcells loves the tight end. Backs out of the backfield usually get about the same. Glenn will probably get about four or five. The third receiver and second tight end can expect three. That could leave only four or five catches a game for Owens.

Will that be enough?

Owens should help Jones and Barber

OXNARD, Calif. -- Here are five observations on the Dallas Cowboys, based on Saturday's practices:

1. The addition of Terrell Owens, believe it or not, could make the biggest impact on the running game, which struggled last season at 3.6 yards an attempt. Whether he likes it or not, Owens will be the decoy on most early down plays, drawing the safeties away from stopping the run.

Expect more of an expanded role for Marion Barber, who backs up Julius Jones and is the third-down back. Parcells also plans to move fuillback Lousaka Polite into different positions where he could also help as an H-back. Jones had 993 yards on 257 carries while Barber had 538 yards on 138 carries last season. With a plan to use more two-tight end sets, the Cowboys continue to evolve into more of a power team under Parcells, and that certainly isn't a bad thing. It also doesn't hurt that Owens is a good downfield blocker on running plays.

Bill Parcells believes the days of just having one halfback who gets all of the carries are fading, and he says the colleges are one of the reasons why. His theory is colleges are rotating more backs into games and that is sending backs to the NFL who aren't used to taking a heavy pounding. "Eventually, whatever colleges do gets to the pros," Parcells said. "You've got to work a long time in college to find a big back. It's really a different deal from the Earl Campell days."

Jones is the starter but Barber is expected to be more involved in the rotation.

How good is the Cowboys offensive line? The Cowboys really don't know at the moment, and it could be the difference between making the playoffs or finishing at the bottom of the tough NFC East. Despite the addition of veteran Jason Fabini, Rob Petitti, last year's starter, will remain the starter at right tackle. Hard work during the offseason has given Petitti a new and improved body. He plays next to steady right guard Marco Rivera. The Cowboys are okay at center with Al Johnson.

The big question marks are on the left side. Can Kyle Kosier replacemen Larry Allen and his physical play at left guard? Can left tackle Flozell Adams return to Pro Bowl form? He's coming off a knee reconstruction and he's starting camp on the physically unable to perform list. Parcells says better depth and better competition for some of the positions will make the line better.
Another hope is that Owens' threat as a pass receiver will take some of the pressure off the line. Drew Bledsoe was sacked 45 times and the Cowboys want to become more of a play-action team to get bigger plays from Owens and Terry Glenn. The development of the offensive line will probably dictate whether this team makes the playoffs or not.

3. After three years of building, Bill Parcells has the type of defensive players he likes. He loves the youth and play-making ability of his 3-4 defense. DeMarcus Ware is a stud pass-rushing linebacker who should be a Pro Bowl player for a long time. The linebacking corps might be so deep that Parcells can't find playing time for everyone. In different packages, Parcells can rotate Ware, Al Singleton, Kevin Burnett and first-round choice Bobby Carpenter on the outside. On the inside, he has Akin Ayodele, Bradie James and Rocky Boiman.

The defensive line had a setback Saturday when defensive end Marcus Spears tore a meniscus and was lost for two to three weeks. Spears had surgery Sunday. Parcells feels he's solid at nose tackle with Jason Ferguson and he likes the youth at ends of Jay Ratliff, Chris Canty and rookie Jason Hatcher.
Where does that leave veteran Greg Ellis? Still unhappy. Ellis is a 4-3 defensive end struggling for playing time in Parcells' 3-4. La'Roi Glover struggled with the adjustment at nose tackle last year and he ended up being cut after the season. . "He has to play here or he can retire if he wanted to," Parcell said of Ellis. "Those would be his two choices right now.

4. From Mark Bavaro to Bill Coates, Bill Parcells loves tight ends. His latest star is Jason Witten, who made the Pro Bowl last year and was just rewarded with a $28 million contract extension. "The good news is that he loves the tight end position," Witten said. "But his expectations are really high. He's very demanding on the tight end position. First off, you better be able to block."

Parcells is particularly high on tight ends this year because he wants to use more play-action passes. The tight end is critical on those plays because he could block or be a receiver. Not only did the Cowboys add Anthony Fasano of Notre Dame in the second round of the draft, they also paid good money to sign Ryan Hannam from the Seahawks. Expect the Cowboys to use a lot of two-tight end sets this year.

Witten is now one of the leaders on the offense, but he still can't escape Parcells' talk about his former tight ends. "I've heard every Bavaro-Coates story there is," Witten said.

While offensive line is Parcells' biggest concern, the other big worry is at safety. There's no problem with Roy Williams. He's hitting everyone, and it won't be too long before Jerry Jones tries to lock him into a contract extension. Keith Davis is back despite being recently shot while driving his car. It's the second time in his career he's been shot.

"My father used to have an expression for things like that," Parcells said. "He said, `Hey Parcells, it's never your fault but you are always there."

Davis' return is important because he's a solid safety and a valued special teams player. Without Davis, the Cowboys would have to rely on veteran safety Marcus Coleman. It's not out of the question for the Cowboys to look for a good, young safety toward the end of camp. It's one of the team's thinnest positions.
John Clayton is a senior writer for

Big Bill had a big reason to come back

By Jim Reeves
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

OXNARD, Calif. -- It probably says something about Bill Parcells as a football coach that he looked a lot more comfortable chatting with Terrell Owens on the football field Saturday than he did sitting beside Jerry Jones at the Cowboys' kickoff news conference Friday afternoon.

During the latter, which lasted an hour in the midday sun, Parcells frequently mopped his face with a towel, fidgeted in his chair and obviously would rather have been someplace else than listening to Jerry filibuster for 20 minutes about various subjects and then ironically declare that "my theme is that it's time to quit talking and...see what happens out on the football field."

Maybe anyplace else.

Now it's fair for you to wonder exactly what the difference might have been. After all, in both cases Parcells was engaged with a massive, often out-of-control ego.

Then again, either Jones or Owens could have made the same point about Big Bill.

No, the biggest difference between Friday and Saturday was real estate.

Location, location, location.

Parcells would much rather be on the field, doing what he loves, than sitting behind a microphone, answering questions from the media, which is a part of the job he only barely tolerates.

"Ah, I was fine up there with Jerry [on Friday]," Parcells insisted after his first post-practice news briefing of camp Saturday. "It was hot and I'd just finished working out and couldn't stop sweating. That's all."

Funny, but it was Jones who was sweating the week after the 2005 season ended, wondering if the reports were true that Parcells was considering retiring rather than finishing out the last year of his contract with the Cowboys.

It was enough to prompt Jones to extend Parcells' contract another year, though Bill insists that it wasn't necessary and that he'd have been here, sitting behind that table with Jerry on Friday even if that extension hadn't been proffered.

Of course, Big Bill didn't turn it down, either.

Parcells' silence immediately after the season, combined with an ESPN report that he might retire, fueled speculation that he was ready to walk away. There's no question that he was thinking about his future.

"I don't think [retirement] would be the right word," Parcells said. "I did ask Jerry for a few days. When the season's over, and particularly that last day there when we found out right before that last game [that the Cowboys had been eliminated from the playoffs], you just need a little time to get yourself removed.

"You don't want to be doing things when you're in an emotional state. I just asked for a couple of days to think things over, but I wouldn't say [retirement] would be the right consideration."

Maybe not retire, then. Just quit. Walk away. Do something else with the rest of his life.

Whatever euphemism Big Bill prefers, it all adds up to the same thing, and that's OK. He will turn 65 next month, is a grandfather three times over and has been to the NFL mountaintop. He understands more than ever that each season could be his last.

At the end of each season, he reassesses his energy level to gauge whether he still has the desire to rededicate himself to the enormous effort it takes to coach a professional football team. When will he know it's time to go?

"When I don't look forward to the process," he said. "I think probably at age 50 or so I wondered, 'Hey, Parcells, is this all you want to do in life?'

"You kind of go through that stage of being uncertain, and I had that one health issue [heart bypass surgery] there that kind of woke me up a little bit. I thought, 'There's other things I want to do in this world.'"

Not too surprisingly, he found that none of those things interested him nearly as much as the one true love of his life: coaching.

"Once you get through that, which I am definitely through that, [and] you know just chronologically [that] you're close to the end, it gets more precious to you," Parcells said. "Because this is my life's work.

"When you get near the end, each season it gets more precious to you -- each game, each season. It sounds corny, but that's really the way it is for me right this moment."

Besides, to quit after last season would have been to admit that he couldn't finish the job as the Cowboys' coach. That he had failed. That is not how Bill Parcells wants to go out.

He may not get back to the Super Bowl, but at least he'd like for his last coaching assignment to be something more than a meaningless, regular-season game.

By his own admission, Parcells' rebuilding plan for the Cowboys is about where he'd hoped it would be three-plus years into the process. In today's NFL, three years is a long rebuilding program. That the Cowboys have yet to win a playoff game -- and have played only one -- since Parcells arrived is also tantamount to failure.

That's why this season is so important. It's why he and the Cowboys were willing to gamble on Owens. They are desperate to win.

It's why Parcells ultimately decided to come back again and why he says he's looking forward to this season more than he has any other in a long, long time.

"Each year that I've been here we've improved both the talent level and the class of person here," he said. "When you get a good talented player, a guy or two here, it inspires you to coach a little bit more because you want to give them what you got, and we've got a couple of those now who are starting to come as bona fide players in the league.

"That kind of encourages me. A couple of these guys have a pretty good ceiling to get to. They haven't got there yet, but they're headed in that direction."

It could well be Parcells' last year, win or lose.

"I do look forward to it with anticipation," he said. "When you know it's time to go, whether the results dictate that, or you just don't have the energy to do it anymore...I'm fortunate to be able to make those choices."

And fortunate to have a "golden parachute" supplied by the owner. The only question now is when he pulls the ripcord, and whether it's in glory or full-fledged retreat.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cowboys- Mid-Day Report

Marcus Spears Injures His Knee In Practice
Rob Phillips - Email Staff Writer
July 29, 2006 7:59 PM
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Marcus Spears became a full-time starter at defensive end as a rookie in 2005.

What's The Scoop:
Bad luck seems to follow Marcus Spears at training camp.

After missing most of last year's camp with knee and ankle injuries, Spears left Saturday's camp-opening practice with a sprained knee. Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells couldn't give a specific diagnosis at his news conference but said the second-year defensive end will have an MRI later today.

Parcells said doctors' preliminary diagnosis is damaged meniscus. If Saturday's tests confirm the diagnosis, Parcells said Spears would have surgery on Sunday to repair the damage and probably misses two weeks of practice. But he also suggested Spears still would be able to play in three preseason games.

"Problem is he misses all that work and he needs it badly," Parcells said.

One of two first-round picks by the Cowboys in 2005, Spears moved into the starting lineup in Week 7 last season. He finished with 35 tackles, six quarterback pressures and 1.5 sacks.

Kenyon Coleman and Jay Ratliff currently are working behind Spears at left defensive end. If Spears misses time, Parcells said he wasn't sure whether he'd move third-round pick Jason Hatcher from the right side behind Chris Canty to the left side.

Quick Shots:
# Terrell Owens put on a show in his first training camp practice with the Cowboys. He beat Aaron Glenn deep during seven-on-seven drills to catch a would-be touchdown pass from Tony Romo, prompting a collective roar from the fans.
# As Parcells predicted Friday, Keith Davis was on the field for the Cowboys' first practice and worked at first-team free safety. Davis, who was shot in the head and thigh on July 16, said he wants to put the incident behind him and concentrate on football.
# Greg Ellis might not be happy about his current contract situation or his role on the roster, but he was on the field, too, working a little as a stand-up outside linebacker on the left side.
# Roy Williams couldn't wait to get the pads on Saturday. The hard-hitting safety delivered a few bone-rattling hits during team drills, including a couple of pops to running back Julius Jones.
# First-round pick Bobby Carpenter worked at third-team outside linebacker behind Al Singleton and Rocky Boiman. He also took care of his first-round pick duties by fetching Parcells a cup of water during a break.
# Before practice, Cowboys owner-general manager Jerry Jones greeted the throng of fans lined across the chain-link fence and in the stands at the River Ridge Complex. Jones then signed autographs for more than 30 minutes until practice started.

You Should've Seen:
The thousands of Cowboys fans chanting "T.O.! T.O.!" as Owens trotted onto the field at 8:43 a.m. (PDT). Owens was one of the last players to make his way down the entrance ramp, and the fans ate it up.

Who's Hot:
Second-year linebacker Kevin Burnett looked good in his first practice since being placed on injured reserve Dec. 29, 2005, with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Burnett made a couple of big stops during goal-line drills.

Who's Not:
Left tackle Flozell Adams spent the morning practice in workout clothes instead of pads. The Cowboys placed Adams on the active Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) following Friday's conditioning run. Seventh-round pick Pat McQuistan worked with the first team in Adams' place. Parcells said he didn't have a timetable for Adams' return. "I hope it's not forever," he said.

Injury Update:
OT Flozell Adams, placed on active PUP - no timetable set for his return (7/28)
DE Marcus Spears, knee (meniscus) - MRI scheduled (7/29)

Missed Practice:
T Flozell Adams, conditioning

Returned to Practice:

LB Bobby Carpenter, signed (7/29)
T E.J. Whitley, placed on injured reserve (7/29)
T Flozell Adams, placed on active PUP (7/28)
S Darrell Brooks, released (7/28)
G Shannon Snell, released (7/28)

Top BILL-ing:
"Nothing. I told Bledsoe to get a haircut, he'd look a lot younger." - Parcells when asked whether he gave Bledsoe advice on how to deal with Owens.

T.O. press conference on ESPNews

Originally posted by RamHoss from a sports forum:

Little Recap

-said he is still learning the offense and that Parcells is not catering to him.

-said Parcells is excited for the season

-Talked about scoring a TD from Tony Romo

-said he understands Bill's run first philosphy, and that the pass and run games need to step up if the other is struggling. Mention having two great running backs.

-Said he understands why they call Dallas America's Team.

-mentioned how he enjoys going against solid corners like Newman and Glenn in practice, and helping the younger guys get ready.

-said that Bledsoe is the leader of the team, but himself and others need to step up in that role.

-when asked if he had any goals for the season in regards to catches and touchdowns, he replied "alot".

TO certainly is a charming guy. He had the media eating out of his hand. On a side note, they showed a practice highlight of TO and Vanderjact talking. One can only wonder what that conversation was about.

The Cowboys' forgotten man: Terry Glenn

By Andy Targovnik

The big-name offensive additions the Dallas Cowboys made this summer have caused a pretty good player to fly right under the radar screen. Considering Terry Glenn was the first Cowboys receiver who had a 1,000-yard season since 1999, it's a little surprising.

Even though he was constantly double-teamed, Glenn had 62 catches for 1,136 yards and seven touchdowns, while averaging a career high 18.3 yards per catch last season. The fact that Glenn signed a five-year, $20 million contract extension was mentioned and then quickly forgotten.

The prevalent thought is that Terrell Owens' presence will keep Glenn's production down. That's not necessarily true, however. Because opposing defenses now have to account for Owens, Glenn is sure to see a lot of single coverage. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe and Glenn feel so comfortable with each other, that no matter how many balls Owens catches, Glenn may put up similar or even better numbers than he did last year.

The fact that we don't hear Glenn's named mentioned is actually a tribute to how he has matured. Glenn, who previously quarreled with coaches, and was called "she" by Bill Parcells in New England, is now a no-maintenance kind of guy. After a decade, Glenn's only goal is to help the Dallas Cowboys win games. "I'm a 10-year vet now, I pretty much want to go out and win football games," Glenn said.

The young Terry Glenn might have been upset about all the hoopla that came with Owens' arrival, but not the new one. Glenn, who was ironically picked before Owens in the 1996 draft, has only been complimentary towards T.O. "When you get a guy like that, he makes you better, just like that. No offense to anyone else but Terrell Owens is a one-of-a-kind player. I couldn't be more excited about having him here."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cowboys agreed to terms with fourth-round WR Skyler Green

Cowboys agreed to terms with fourth-round WR Skyler Green on a four-year contract.
Green quickly became Bill Parcells' favorite player in minicamps after showing up looking like "a fat boy." An LSU product, Green is undersized but should help on returns right away and be a Dave Meggett type down the road.

Jul. 27 - 2:09 pm et

Cowboys signed former Ohio State LB Bobby Carpenter

Cowboys signed former Ohio State LB Bobby Carpenter to a multi-year contract.
Two-thirds of the Buckeye 'backers are under contract. Carpenter has fantastic size at 6-3/255 and knows Bill Parcells from way back; Bobby's dad played under the Tuna. Carpenter, who can play both outside and inside, is expected to start at OLB for the Cowboys in 2006.

Jul. 27 - 2:34 pm et

Cowboys signed seventh-round G/C E.J. Whitley (torn ACL) to a three-year contract

Cowboys signed seventh-round G/C E.J. Whitley (torn ACL) to a three-year contract.
Whitley, a Texas Tech product, was injured in Dallas' pre-training camp program and will miss his rookie season.

Jul. 27 - 7:26 pm et

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

An open letter to Terrell Owens detractors

By Os Davis on July 26, 2006 02:24 AM

Dear Everyone except Me in the Civilized Universe outside the Greater Dallas-Ft. Worth Metropolitan Area,

The subject at hand is one of the greater WR's of our era, Terrell Owens. Fantastic! I'd like to talk about an exciting gamebreaker of a player who has demonstrably proven that his ability to help put an on-the-cusp squad into the Super Bowl.

I'd like to write about good ole ' T.O., the number four all-time wide receiver in terms of touchdown receptions. I'd enjoy writing about a guy with six 1,000-yard seasons and his five straight Pro Bowl appearances. And we could relive a few great moments from the career of a guy whose statistics quite clearly show his contribution to the passing offense (not to mention his QB's numbers), and ponder just what he'll do to the Dallas Cowboys ' chances this year.

I'd like to, but I'm afraid this letter would lie online unread. Instead, it seems that folks would like discuss another spoiled jock's insipid comments to the likes of talking heads Bryant Gumbel and Jimmy Kimmel. Or maybe I could write up a review of "T.O.: The Novel, Episode I." (Shouldn't Simon & Schuster be prosecuted by a war crimes tribunal for crimes against the environment, i.e. destroying huge swaths of woodland for paper on which to print this thing?)

But why? Why? Why is everyone talking about this?

Didn't anyone see him in the "Real Sports" piece? Look at him: look at the s***-eating grin on his face while talking about Donovan McNabb and spouting silliness like "The only thing I can really think of is maybe it was the way I grew up ... I got picked on so much blah blah blah et cetera..." Why the grin? Because you're watching him!

Did anyone see Private Parts, the Howard Stern biographical movie? Check out this exchange on the shock jock's overwhelming success on the radio, from the movie's dialogue: "The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes. The average Howard Stern fan listens for ... an hour and twenty minutes."

"How can that be?"

"Answer most commonly given? 'I want to see what he'll say next.'"

"Okay, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?"

"Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day."

"But...if they hate him, why do they listen?"

"Most common answer? 'I want to see what he'll say next.'"

Who's waiting to hear what comes from T.O.'s mouth next? Anyone?

When RealFootball365's own Andy Targovnik said that T.O. might yet "win over the hearts and minds of fans," well...I suggest that maybe he has already. Maybe he's gotten inside the heads of Cowboy detractors (now I know you're out there) like he does with opponents on a great Sunday.

Didn't anyone hear him on Jimmy Kimmel Live? After Kimmel pressed the man to make nice-nice with McNabb, T.O. pledged that he "will make an effort to an effort to beat the Eagles." This may have been the moment to pay attention to. T.O. is capable of Deion Sanders-like clutch performance, seemingly willing himself to great heights in big games. I'm sure you saw Super Bowl XXXIX, in which Owens loaded the Eagles highlight tape with nine receptions for 122 yards, MVP-level play after what ESPN's John Clayton called at that time perhaps "the greatest recovery from an injury in 39 years of the Super Bowl."

Even when we must listen (hey, I do) to an athlete speaking about the imagined injustices done him or "telling it like it is," shouldn't T.O. be given a bit of a break? He did admit he was wrong about his problems in San Francisco during his recent media blitz, after all. And if we're listening to T.O., shouldn't we also be listening to say, McNabb, and perhaps criticizing his complaints of illness during the Super Bowl? Okay, sure, T.O. came off like an idiot in the aftermath, calling himself a "hero" (even though the media surely would have, had the Eagles won the Bowl) and negatively comparing McNabb to Brett Favre (even though McNabb is in truth no Favre).

But folks. As far as Simpson Bad Behavior Awards goes, T.O.'s childish rants and commentary are pretty low on the pole. This is nowhere near alleged rapist Kobe Bryant claiming Shaquille O'Neal had done the same and breaking up a championship franchise. This stuff is far below the level of Pete Rose gambling, John Rocker giving his views on America's race situation, or Michael Irvin partying his way to court and four years' worth of probation.

T.O. is just simply another dude of whom NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell was referring to when he said, "most professional athletes have been on scholarship since the third grade." He's what Jim Bouton meant by "a fifteen-year-old in a twenty-five-year-old body."

And everybody knows the mass media feeds on this stuff. They have no interest in applying duct tape to the Lone Star Mouth. There's nothing happening in the NFL right now and, in fact, that's what T.O.'s quotes and sound bites mostly are: nothing.

Michael Irvin arrested in July 3 traffic stop

Michael Irvin arrested in July 3 traffic stop
10:43 PM CDT on Tuesday, July 25, 2006

By BRANDON FORMBY / The Dallas Morning News

Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin was arrested in Carrollton during a traffic stop this month.

Police said Mr. Irvin was pulled over for speeding in the 2200 block of the Bush Turnpike about 8:20 p.m. July 3.

A computer warrant check showed that Mr. Irvin had an outstanding probation violation warrant for speeding in Dallas County. He was arrested and released that day after posting $500 bond.

Cowboys close to signing...

Cowboys | Team close to signing S. Green
Wed, 26 Jul 2006 16:59:21 -0700

Nick Eatman, of, reports the Dallas Cowboys are close to signing fourth-round draft pick WR Skyler Green.

Cowboys | Team close to signing Hatcher
Wed, 26 Jul 2006 16:58:38 -0700

Nick Eatman, of, reports the Dallas Cowboys are close to signing third-round draft pick DL Jason Hatcher.

Cowboys | Team close to signing Fasano
Wed, 26 Jul 2006 16:56:18 -0700

Nick Eatman, of, reports the Dallas Cowboys are close to signing second-round draft pick TE Anthony Fasano.

Cowboys | Whitley will receive a split contract
Wed, 26 Jul 2006 16:54:05 -0700

Nick Eatman, of, reports the Dallas Cowboys will eventually sign seventh-round draft pick OL E.J. Whitley (knee) to a split contract for about half of the NFL minimum $275,000, then he will spend the entire 2006 season on the Injured Reserve list with a knee injury.

Cowboys | Watkins agrees to terms
Wed, 26 Jul 2006 16:53:45 -0700

Nick Eatman, of, reports the Dallas Cowboys have agreed to terms with fifth-round pick S Pat Watkins on a four-year deal. Watkins will sign a four-year deal worth about $1.69 million. He will receive a base salary of $275,000 this season, followed by $360,000 (2007), $445,000 (2008) and $530,000 (2009).

Jaime Aron on the Cowboys

By Grizz

Jaime Aron has a new article on the Cowboys going to camp

Aron is one my favorite Cowboys beat reporters. It will be good to see more of his writing on the Boys this season.

Aron pulls out a quote from Parcells, who usually tries to keep it low-key, but even he is excited about this edition of the Cowboys.

"There's still a couple of things that concern me a great deal, but personnel-wise, I know we're getting closer to where we're going to be able to be competitive," Parcells said earlier this summer. "We are making a lot of improvement on defense, physically. I think we have more firepower on offense."

It all looks pretty good, except for the uncertainty over the offensive line.

Protecting Bledsoe's blind side once again will be Flozell Adams, who missed most of last season with a knee injury. The Cowboys struggled once the now-departed Torrin Tucker took over.
Free agent signee Kyle Kosier is the front-runner to replace Allen at left guard, but Kosier didn't even start every game for lowly Detroit last season. On the right side, guard Marco Rivera is vowing to make up for a disappointing debut season in Dallas, and there could be a battle at tackle between newcomer Jason Fabini and incumbent Rob Petitti.

Petitti has been repeatedly praised for his offseason work, especially in the weight room. After his trial-by-fire rookie season, he'll be pushed by Fabini, part of the growing collection of Parcells alumni.

The line's success might be as important as ever because it could ultimately determine whether Owens causes more trouble for the Cowboys or their opponents.

If they provide Bledsoe with enough time, he showed last season that he can still make any throw. And Owens would get plenty of them, which would make him happy.

There you have it, keep Bledsoe upright, keep Owens happy and keep on winning games.

Ellis won't hold out

Ellis will report to training camp
DE concerned about reduced role but will honor his contract

11:32 PM CDT on Monday, July 24, 2006
By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News

IRVING – While Greg Ellis' hopes of having parts of his contract guaranteed appear to be stalled, the defensive end will be on the Cowboys' flight to Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday, according to his agent, Butch Williams.

Because of a drop in playing time last season and a shift in how he will be used this season, Ellis is concerned about his role and long-term future in Dallas. Still, he tied for the team lead in sacks last season with eight, marking the fifth straight year he led or tied for the team lead in that category.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he is not worried about Ellis heading into training camp, although they have not talked since the June minicamp.

"He is a consummate pro and class individual," Jones said, "and got all the incentives there are to have a really great year."

If Ellis chose to hold out of camp, he would face a fine of $14,000 a day, according to the new collective bargaining agreement.

T.O. not original diva, but may be biggest one

John Czarnecki /
Posted: 3 minutes ago

All those sick of listening to T.O. stand up and holler.

But now that you're sitting down, you should know that Terrell Owens didn't invent this new diva-attitude that is the calling card of today's NFL receivers. Whereas Owens crossed the line with the Eagles and Donovan McNabb, guys like Joe Horn, Chad Johnson and Steve Smith may do some wild & crazy things but they are respected in their locker rooms.

Owens is respected, too. But he tends to divide and conquer. His new teammates in Dallas love him now, but no games have been played.

What does T.O. do when tight end Jason Witten catches more passes this season than he does? You can bet with this new double tight-end alignment in Dallas, that Witten will be flexed and become a favorite target of Drew Bledsoe, who still must worry about opposing pass rushers. T.O. will get his share of receptions, but he's not faster than Terry Glenn on a deep post pattern.

Cowboys receivers coach Todd Haley, who was shoved backward on the sidelines once last season by coach Bill Parcells, can be highly emotional.

When T.O. gets in his face, how will Haley react? You can bet that Owens won't dare challenge Parcells on any sideline.

On a personal level, Owens can be an engaging player. Plus, no one doubts his competitiveness and his game-breaking talents. And he's never been a slouch on the practice fields.

But he does have a problem believing that many in the media are out to get him. Hey, facts are facts. He's definitely not the first receiver told to shut up in a huddle by a quarterback.

When Joe Montana left San Francisco, Jerry Rice tried to overwhelm Steve Young, pestering him constantly for the ball. In Pittsburgh long ago, Terry Bradshaw seemed to prefer John Stallworth for his toughness and his unselfish ways. When he was forced to choose, he picked Stallworth over Lynn Swann and the latter blamed Bradshaw for years for the length of time it took him to reach the Hall of Fame. And who can forget how Cris Carter ganged up on an immature Daunte Culpepper in Minnesota? Carter and Randy Moss on the Vikings' sidelines with poor Culpepper stuck in the middle was worth a couple thousand words.

It is always necessary to put players like Owens in historical perspective. When he was a teenager the biggest star in the NFL was Deion Sanders.

When free agency began, Deion was a hired gun as a championship cover guy. One season in San Francisco; another in Dallas for Deion. The NFL world revolved around Deion, who reportedly received stock options in Sega to become a 49er and had his own stretch limo of a golf cart with the Cowboys.

And before Deion, there was Sterling Sharpe. There was one season Sharpe refused to play in Green Bay's season opener if he didn't get a new contract. Mike Holmgren was furious over the tactics, but that was Sharpe.

He was as selfish then as T.O. is today, maybe more so. Fans have simply forgotten.

Granted, there was one major difference between Owens and Sharpe. The talented Packer receiver rarely talked to the media. He was excellent when he did agree to an interview, but he preferred to stiff people and run and hide. But his actions didn't help his teammates. Yes, he was taking care of business, but he was also forcing his teammates to cover for him with the media, plus concern themselves with his priorities.

More than 20 seasons ago, Eric Dickerson was running wild through the NFL record books and I was there covering his every move and every comment.

The NFL was restrictive to Dickerson, considering all the financial bidding for his services by then-Southwest Conference schools. Whatever he received while at SMU played a role in the Mustangs receiving the death penalty by the NCAA. What was interesting is that Dickerson kept the car that another school's boosters gave him.

"What were they going to do?" Dickerson said, knowing that they couldn't report him and themselves to the NCAA. What sense would that make?

But what's important to know is that adults taught Dickerson how the system worked. He was a kid whose grandmother lived in a house with a dirt floor. Money was a good and wanted thing in his family's life. Dickerson is now well received by the Rams and owner Georgia Frontiere, but he was billed as greedy when he asked to have his contract renegotiated. But without free agency, Dickerson had no choice but to complain about his wages. However, in his last season with the Rams, he honored his teammates' picket line during the strike of 1987, when he lost more money in a week than many players earned in an entire season.

There are two receivers, Michael Irvin and Tim Brown, who came into the NFL together in 1988. Both men were great talkers, but even better teammates. It's difficult for talented receivers not to be concerned about their statistics, but Irvin and Brown were genuine team players that would do anything for a championship. Now, Irvin may have had a wild NFL career, off the field, but he was super competitive, like T.O. is, during practice and on game days.

Today, Irvin spends too much time defending T.O. to the ESPN masses that will listen. But even Irvin knows he never crossed the line with Troy Aikman in the huddle or anywhere else. It's a big difference in a team game; no matter how outrageous one acts otherwise.