<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Blue Star]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcdfw.com/blogs/blue-star http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:02:50 -0500 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:02:50 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Cowboys Arrive at Camp]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:46:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys_Arrive_at_Camp_6p_1200x675_493013059773.jpg The Dallas Cowboys arrive at camp in Oxnard, California Tuesday afternoon.]]> <![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Have Been in Contact with Chris Johnson's Agent]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:08:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Chris-Johnson-Tennessee-Tit.jpg

Even though the release of running back Ryan Williams was followed pretty much immediately by the signing of Gus Johnson, an undrafted running back out of Stephen F. Austin, the mere mention of shuffling at the running back position has some wondering if the Cowboys won’t look to sign a league veteran at some point.

This wondering has gone on throughout the offseason. For a good long while, the rumors involved Adrian Peterson. Now they involve Chris Johnson, the former 2,000-yard rusher who publicly invited the Cowboys to give him a call this offseason and still doesn’t have a team.

Cowboys executive vice president and C.O.O. Stephen Jones responded at the time by saying the team was happy with their current stable of running backs but that the man they used to call CJ2K is on the team’s short list should that change.

That hasn’t changed to this point, that we know of anyway, but NFL Media’s Rand Getlin reported Monday that the Cowboys have been in contact with Johnson’s agent--and they’re the only team who have been in contact with the former rushing champ's agent.

There’s a good chance that this means nothing, of course. But it’s worth keeping in mind as the Cowboys head to Southern California for camp.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett: We Have to "Define Ourselves" Again in 2015]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:43:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461347208.jpg

Cowboys veteran tight end Jason Witten has been outspoken this offseason in his belief that there is no building on the success of 2014--not really. It’s a new team, a new season, and while the idea of building on what they did last year is nice, the fact is those games don’t count toward a thing this year.

The Cowboys, like every other team in the league, have to start over from square one.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett agrees with this assessment, apparently, declaring this week that the team has to prove themselves this year, just as they had to prove themselves last year--when most preseason rankings had them near if not in the cellar in the NFC East.

“I think any coach or player or staff member in the National Football League, if you don’t have your goal of winning the Super Bowl, you’re really in the wrong profession,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “So everyone has that goal. I go back to we define ourselves by what we do. We did that last year. We have to do that again this year. I think everybody will understand that really well.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Umenyiora in Talks to Retire as a Giant]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:26:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/osi-umenyiora-second-half.jpg

A longtime member of the New York Giants’ vaunted defensive front will reportedly retire soon, but he wants to do so as a Giant.

According to Adam Caplan and Dan Graziano of ESPN, Osi Umenyiora is in talks with the Giants to sign a ceremonial one-day contract that would allow him to retire with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2003 draft out of Troy.

Umenyiora spent the past two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons after 10 years and two Super Bowl wins with the Giants. If this is indeed the end of his career, he finishes with 85 career sacks, all but 10 of which came with the Giants.

He played in 17 career games against the Cowboys and recorded seven sacks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett Looking to Help Dez Bryant "Get His Feet Underneath Him"]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:08:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/156051246.jpg

Echoing the sentiments of Cowboys executive vice president and C.O.O. Stephen Jones, head coach Jason Garrett stated this week that the Cowboys plan to ease Dez Bryant back into action to some degree, after he missed all offseason workouts as a means of lobbying for that new contract.

Dez has worked very hard,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We know that. He looks great. But at the same time we want to make sure he gets his feet underneath him. ... So we’ll catch Dez up. We’ll make sure we have our eyes on him and make sure we come up with the appropriate plan.”

Garrett made clear that there’s no acrimony between the two sides, after the contract negotiations got at least mildly acrimonious there toward the deadline, before the deal got done. That’s all in the business, Garrett says, and the team’s just glad to have Bryant back.

“You don’t want the business of the NFL to creep in as you get closer to the season,” Garrett said. “The business is real. Different teams deal with it really throughout the process of getting your team ready to play in the regular season. You have to take the emotion out of it. You have to understand it is a business and stay focused on what you want to be focused on. But it’s fun to have him back. It’s fun to have him in the fold and excited to see him out there on the practice field.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Waive RB Ryan Williams]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:48:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4537124122.jpg

After about a year, the Dallas Cowboys have decided to part ways with running back Ryan Williams.

Williams was waived by the team on Tuesday before they got on a charter plane to go to Oxnard, CA for the beginning of training camp, along with linebacker Cameron Lawrence and offensive lineman Ryan Miller. The team added undrafted running back Gus Johnson out of Stephen F. Austin, linebacker Justin Anderson and offensive lineman Ronald Patrick.

Drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the draft in 2011, Williams’ career to this point has been plagued by injuries. He had appeared in only five games in the NFL when the Cowboys signed him last May, and he never added to that total with Dallas, spending last year on the practice squad. He did lead the team in rushing last year in the preseason.

According to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas, Williams underwent knee surgery last month after the final minicamp of the offseason, making it all the more unlikely that he would have made the team out of camp.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Undergoes Hip Replacement Surgery Ahead of Camp]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:23:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP666561932430.jpg

The Cowboys’ rallying cry for 2015: Win one for the … hipper?

Joining Mavs owner Mark Cuban as DFW sports bosses mimicking The Six Million Dollar Man, Jerry Jones will arrive at training camp in Oxnard with an artificial hip.

In fact, Jones will speak at the team’s annual “state of the union” kickoff press conference tomorrow afternoon, just eight days after hip replacement surgery.

Jones, 72, downplayed a noticeable limp last season but decided on the surgery two months ago. He underwent the procedure on his left hip July 21 in Dallas and isn’t expected to miss any days or work during camp in California.

In other words, we’re reminded again that he’s a tough, old coot. Before camp in 2010 he underwent rotator cuff surgery to repair an old football injury.

Jones isn’t expected to need a cane or hovercraft to whiz around camp. Somehow it’ll be comforting to see him in his trademark golf cart.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Dez Bryant Was in "Financial Distress" Before New Deal]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:33:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459496698.jpg

In the weeks leading up to the franchise tag deadline, when it was looking like the Dallas Cowboys would be unable to get a long-term deal done with Dez Bryant, it was reported that the team’s confidence going forward without a new deal came from a belief that, mad about the tag or not, Bryant needed the money--and as such, would report to training camp (and not, as other reports suggested, hold out through camp and into the regular season).

Of course, a long-term agreement was struck at the deadline, making all those mid-holdout whispers forgettable. For awhile anyway.

We’re reminded of them now because a new report has at least that part of what was a cloudy story being true. In an interesting piece about the nuances of Bryant’s new deal on Monday, Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole cites four sources who say Bryant was in “financial distress” before signing the new contract on July 15.

As the report goes, this financial peril might have helped the Cowboys sign Bryant to a more team-friendly deal than he would have ever signed otherwise.

"What the Cowboys did is brilliant," a source familiar with the deal says in the piece. "They gave Dez an extra [$3.2 million] to get the long-term deal now and make him show up. But if something goes wrong and he defaults on the contract, they still have it. They don't have to go after him. He has to go after them, and that's a lot harder to do if you have other legal problems."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witten Still Among Best Tight Ends in NFL, According to Madden 16]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:00:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460756556.jpg

Going into his 13th season in the NFL, Jason Witten is still among the best tight ends in football.

Just look at the ratings in Madden Football 16.

Witten is the third highest-rated tight end, behind only the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski, who is apparently unstoppable in the game, with a 99 overall rating; and the Seattle Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham, with a 95. Witten is given a 93 rating, just ahead of Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers (4, 92) and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs (5, 91).

Here’s what the official EA Sports website says of their third-ranked tight end: “Witten does not dazzle with speed and quickness, but still features skills like 95 Catching, 92 Catch in Traffic, 88 Route Running, 85 Release, and 79 Spectacular Catch.”

No word as of yet if Witten is unhappy with any of his video game attributes, as Dez Bryant was when it was revealed he had a modest 89 speed rating in the game. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys VP: We Still Got Some Work to Do on Catch Rules]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:09:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461346220.jpg

Last week executive vice president and COO Stephen Jones became the first member of the Dallas Cowboys organization to come out and say that officials made the right call on Dez Bryant’s now-infamous non-catch in the Divisional Round of the playoffs in Green Bay last year.

Not long after that statement, though, Jones told the Talk of Fame Network that the Competition Committe, of which he is a member, has more work to do where that particular section of the rulebook is concerned. The league changed the language of the rule this offseason in response to Dez’s non-catch, but kept the basic substance--the part that keeps common sense far away from determinations of what is and isn’t a catch in the NFL, and relies instead on a series of insufferably detailed checkpoints from the time a player touches the ball to the time he hits the ground.

I think the same fury will be there,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “You can say they clarified it somewhat. Until we figure out as a committee how to write it; especially these really special athletes like Calvin Johnson, a player like Dez Bryant that can make these super human type of acrobatic catches, until we account for that, we’re going to continue to have these issues. ... The bottom line: if a receiver is in the air and he is going to the ground, then it’s not a catch. I think they ruled in Dez’s case, even though he took two or three steps, got a hand down, and, what I thought was a football move when he reached for the goal line; until you’re really able to clarify the difference in that and a player going in there high and catching it then landing on the ground and the ball coming out we’re going to continue to have people discuss this.

“[They’ll] have furor, have emotion until we get it right. In my mind, we still got some work to do.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kelly Optimistic About Sam Bradford's Recovery]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:39:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460476376.jpg

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly isn’t terribly worried about Sam Bradford’s lengthy history of injuries.

Maybe that’s not all that surprising, considering Kelly traded for Bradford after two ACL tears in two years. The injuries are just a part of the game, Kelly says, and even if Bradford is an extreme case, he reasons that everyone at the quarterback position eventually gets hurt.

Everybody gets hurt in this game,” Kelly said, per CSN Philly. “I don’t know any quarterback who hasn’t missed time. Tom Brady missed a year. Peyton Manning missed a year. Drew Brees has missed time. Nick Foles missed half a season. I mean, Aaron Rogers has been hurt. I don’t know if there’s any quarterback in this league that hasn’t been hurt.

“And if you haven’t, you’re probably young. That’s the deal. You’re going to get hurt in this game.”

Bradford’s history goes beyond the ACL tears, of course--he’s dealt with shoulder issues, a concussion in college and a high-ankle sprain early in his NFL career--but where those latest, most pressing injuries are concerned, Kelly likes Bradford’s chances of bouncing back completely.

“Our research in terms of dealing with guys with two ACLs, there’s a 10-to-12 percent chance of re-injury,” Kelly said. “So that’s an 88-to-90 percent chance that they’re going to be successful.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why Peter King Doesn't See Cowboys Pursuing Junior Galette]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:22:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Junior-Galette-New-Orleans-Saints.jpg

Less than a year ago, the New Orleans Saints signed outside linebacker Junior Galette to a new four-year, $41.5 million deal and made him a defensive captain. Last Friday, after the relationship between the pass rusher and the team soured to the point of no return, the Saints cut ties with Galette.

So could the Cowboys be interested?

Probably not, according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

Galette has 22 sacks over the past two seasons, but it’s worth noting that even after that outpouring, the Saints were willing to take a financial hit just to get rid of him this summer. He was charged with domestic violence stemming from an incident early this year, but the charges were eventually dismissed. He was also the alleged subject of a YouTube video that purportedly shows him hitting a woman with a belt at Miami Beach in 2013. No charges have ever been filed in that case, but the NFL is reportedly still investigating.

When King was asked about the possibility of the Cowboys pursuing Galette on Twitter recently, he responded, “I think Jerry has reached his turd quota.” This is presumably in reference to the biggest free agent signing of the Cowboys’ offseason, Greg Hardy, who, as you’ve probably heard, has a less than sterling off-field history himself.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' Special Teams in Good Hands With McCray ]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:04:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/danny+mccray.jpg

Greg Hardy stole the headlines and the Dez Bryant drama monopolized our attention, but the Cowboys quietly made a move back in May that I feel will help them immensely every Sunday in 2015.

The most underrated transaction of the offseason? Bringing back Danny McCray.

Crazy statement, I fully realize, because in his second tour with the team he might head to Oxnard this week needing to win a job to make the roster. But after a year with the Bears, McCray is back in Dallas in a situation and position I expect him to excel.

McCray was a special teams monster for the Cowboys from 2010-13. He was their leading tackler and even a team captain. And in the wake of the departures of special teams aces Dwayne Harris and C.J. Spillman, the Cowboys needed to reinforce those units. McCray is the perfect answer.

He’s athletic. Fearless. Trusted in the locker room and by the coaching staff. And, in a pinch, can also play some safety.

I’ve said before that any team with legit Super Bowl expectations wouldn’t have Jeff Heath on its field. I think McCray alleviates that problem this summer.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Milestone for Cowboys' Frisco Complex]]> Sun, 26 Jul 2015 18:52:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys_Complex_Frisco_July_28.jpg

The ascension of new beams signified the half-way point for the completion of the a new football training facility dubbed, "The Star."

"We have over 575 folks out here working at the site and working seven days a week, and we are on schedule," said Frisco Mayore Maher Maso. "It will open on time."

On Saturday, city leaders and members of the Cowboys organization showed off the progress at the site just off the Dallas North Tollway in Frisco.

"It's exciting to see the excitement of the community and we can't wait," said Charlotte Jones Anderson, Cowboys chief branding officer. "It's going to be a fabulous facility."

The stadium won't just be reserved for the Cowboys; athletic programs within Frisco ISD will also play at the facility.

"This facility is going to be a real work horse for our high schools," said Dr. Jeremy Lyon, Frisco ISD superintendent.

"It really gives me goosebumps to think about what's going to happen when these kids rub shoulders with the Dallas Cowboys when they're walking off the field, and Tony Romo's walking on," said Stephen Jones, Cowboys chief operating officer.

The Star will seat about 12,000 people, but the stadium and office building will take up about a third of the space on the 90-acre development.

Construction is expected to be complete in the fall of 2016, a timeline that has many counting down.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA['Arts and Craftsy' Tony Romo Stars in New DirecTV Ad]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 19:40:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/217*120/tony+romo+directv.JPG

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is showing off his comedic acting side in a new commercial for DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket.

Romo, who also made a cameo appearance in the new Universal Pictures film Trainwreck, picks up the ad campaign where Rob Lowe left off earlier this year, by playing two different versions of himself.

Watch the commercial below or view it on YouTube.

Dallas-based AT&T is making a $48.5 billion bid for the satellite provider DirecTV, and this week the Federal Communications Commission followed the U.S. Department of Justice in approving the deal.

The Cowboys head to training camp next week at Oxnard, Calif., and open the regular season at home Sept. 13 against the New York Giants on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Photo Credit: DirecTV via YouTube
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<![CDATA[Gregory Says He's Fine at Current Weight, But Looking to Add More]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:20:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/randy-gregory-94.jpg

One of the more popular on-field criticisms of Cowboys rookie defensive end Randy Gregory is that he might be too slim, too light.

On the one hand, there’s Jason Taylor, who made a Hall of Fame career wreaking havoc from the end position with a body type very similar to that of Gregory. On the other hand, there was only one Jason Taylor, and the tall, relatively-slim and dominant pass rusher remains a rarity.

At 6-foot-6, Gregory himself doesn’t lend much credence to the idea though, saying (a) That he’s been doing just fine at his current playing weight, (b) He’s already put on weight since being drafted by the Cowboys in the second round, and (c) He intends to just keep getting bigger.

“I think I actually did OK playing at the weight that I played at in college. I was 235, 240 pretty much my whole college career,” Gregory said, per Bleacher Report. “I've heard people say that I played bigger than my actual weight. I think if people actually sit down and watch game film, they'll see that I don't actually get pushed around as much as people say I do. I think people just assume, ‘He has a light body. He's a pass rusher. He must not be a good run defender.’ But I think if you ask anybody on the staff, Coach [Rod] Marinelli or anybody else, they'll tell you I'm doing a good job setting the edge and added weight is only going to help me. So I'm planning to add more.”

<![CDATA[Former Cowboys RB Tashard Choice Likes Joseph Randle's Instincts]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:22:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455452934.jpg

Former Cowboys running back Tashard Choice likes what he sees out of Joseph Randle.

Drafted out of Georgia Tech in the fourth round in 2008, Choice spent a little over three seasons with the Cowboys, running for 1,139 yards and eight touchdowns in that time--he also provided the “Tash” in the “Smash, Tash and Dash”  running back trio of Choice, Marion Barber and Felix Jones.

This year, the Cowboys may be back to relying on a trio of running backs, in Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar, for the first time since Choice was in town--no word as of yet if they'll have a fun, rhyming nickname--and among that trio, Randle may very well lead the way.

“One thing that jumps off the screen to me when I watch him and watch film on him is his instincts,” Choice told G-Bag Nation on 105.3-FM The Fan, via the Dallas Morning News. “More than other running backs he has great instincts where he finds the line of scrimmage, he always fits where the run is supposed to go to. Watching him play the game and watching him in person he jumps out on me. He’s faster and bigger than I thought.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[That Time Michael Irvin Told Tim Brown Not to Come to Dallas]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:25:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/michael-irvin-richard-sherman.jpg

By 1994, coming off back-to-back Super Bowl Championships, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith were well established as The Triplets--and Irvin apparently wasn’t too hot on the idea of becoming quadruplets with the addition of another future Hall of Fame receiver.

In the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this week, Charean Williams relates the story of Dallas native Tim Brown approaching Irvin at the Pro Bowl after the 1993 season. To hear Brown tell it, he was met with outspoken resistance from The Playmaker when he mentioned the idea of returning to Dallas as a free agent. In fact, Irvin told Brown flatly not to come to the Cowboys.

“I think it was the first year I made the Pro Bowl as a receiver, and I was a free agent going into that offseason, the offseason of ’94, and I ended up signing with the Broncos,” Brown told reporters on a Hall of Fame conference call on Thursday. “I sort of happily walked up to Michael thinking it was going to be a great concept, and I said to him, ‘Hey, man, look, man, I’m thinking about coming home to Dallas. I would love to come there and be No. 2 to you.’ He got so upset. ‘Tim Brown, don’t you ever think about coming... .’

“I was like, ‘Mike, man, what’s going on?’ He was like, ‘No. I’m glad you told me first. I’m calling Jerry right now and telling him don’t do it.’ So that was pretty much the end of that conversation, and I was a little upset, because I did want to come home, and I wanted to play for the Cowboys. I’m glad that worked out the way it did for many reasons at this particular point. But yeah, that is a true story.”

<![CDATA[Dez Bryant Isn't Happy with His Speed Rating on Madden 16]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:26:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461347692.jpg

With a 96 overall rating, the Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant is the second-highest ranked wide receiver in Madden NFL 16, the latest edition of the iconic game, which will be released on August 25. But he’s not totally thrilled about the latest video game version of himself.

Only Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers is ranked as better than Bryant in the game, with a 97 overall rating. Bryant did beat out the Lions’ Calvin Johnson (3, 95 overall rating), the Giants’ Odell Beckham, Jr. (4, 94 overall rating) and the Falcons’ Julio Jones (5, 94 overall rating).

EASports.com says of Bryant: “Fight for the ball with Bryant’s three 98s for Catching, Jumping, and Spectacular Catch. He’ll get there with 89 SPD/90 ACC/92 ELUS and breaking loose is easy with 91 SPM/95 JKM.”

Which left Bryant with one question, which he took to Twitter to ask, via the Dallas Morning News: “89 speed? Y’all [expletive] crazy.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Joseph Randle Glad to Put Shoplifting Incident Behind Him]]> Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:27:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459967304.jpg

After receiving deferred adjudication stemming from his shoplifting arrest last October at Stonebriar Mall in Frisco, Cowboys running back Joseph Randle is just glad to have the ordeal behind him, his attorney said this week.

“He’s just relieved and ready to move on and focus on training camp,” Randle’s attorney Steven Bell said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He’s a good young man.”

Randle was arrested last year after he left a Dillard’s department store with a pack of underwear and a tester bottle of cologne. According to the Morning News, the Cowboys may fine Randle between $10,000 and $30,000, but he won’t be suspended by the team.

Earlier this offseason, authorities in Kansas said that Randle would not face any felony domestic violence charges in connection with an incident in a hotel room in Wichita in January.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Summer of Patience Continues Toward Brady Decision]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:27:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461029880.jpg

While we tap our feet waiting for next week’s start of training camp in Oxnard, California let’s review the Cowboys’ summer of, well, waiting.

We waited to see if DeMarco Murray would get an attractive offer in free agency. After three days, he flew to the Eagles.

We waited to see if Greg Hardy’s suspension appeal would be upheld and/or reduced. After seven weeks, it was both upheld and reduced, from 10 games to four.

We waited – ever so anxiously – to see if the Cowboys would reach a long-term agreement with receiver Dez Bryant. After four months they finally did, beating the deadline by a only a few hours.

And now we wait yet again, this time for a decision that doesn’t directly affect the team but will most certainly impact their 2015 record. After seven months – and counting – still no answer on whether or not Tom Brady will be playing for the Patriots when they visit the Cowboys Oct. 11 at AT&T Stadium.

That marquee matchup will be Hardy’s first as a Cowboy. But will it be the first of the season for New England’s future Hall-of-Fame quarterback?

The AFC Championship Game was played Jan. 18. Afterward came allegations by the Colts that the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs as to give Brady a better grip in cold weather.

Independent investigator Ted Wells concluded and made public his report on May 6. Finding the Patriots cheated and that Brady was uncooperative in the investigation, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended the quarterback four games and docked the team $1 million and two draft picks on May 11. Three days later the NFLPA appealed the suspension. And on June 23 Brady had his day in court, face-to-face with Goodell.

Now, a month later, we’re still waiting for the biggest decision of the early NFL 2015 season.

You’d think it wouldn’t take seven months for this kind of jurisprudence to run its course. I mean, Dallas is fixing potholes from the Winter snow faster than the NFL is working. Obviously it’s a huge decision for the Cowboys.

If the suspension stands, on Oct. 11 they’ll face a man currently with zero starts, 27 passes and one touchdown to his name – Jimmy Garoppolo.

If it’s reduced, they’ll welcome to Arlington for the first time a man with 53,000+ yards, almost 400 touchdowns, 10 Pro Bowls, two NFL MVPs, three Super Bowl MVPs, four Super Bowl rings and a bust awaiting in Canton – Tom Brady.

Waiting is indeed the hardest part. But this one just might be worth it.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Randy Gregory on Cowboys: "I'm Glad They Believe in Me"]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:37:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/randy-gregory-charles-haley.jpg

Cowboys rookie defensive end Randy Gregory took quite a tumble on draft day.

Widely thought of as a lock to go in the early- to mid-first round before testing positive for marijuana at the Combine, Gregory fell into the Cowboys’ laps in the second round and they were glad to take him at 60th overall--with the knowledge that they’d have to have a support system in place for the Nebraska product.

That support system in Dallas is now in place, according to Gregory himself, and while he admits he set himself up for a fall at the draft, he’s glad things worked out the way they did.

"You just have to be patient,” Gregory told Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. “It was frustrating, but I dug my own grave and I owned up to it. The best thing I could was learn from it. I think I have learned from it, and I think I'm with a great organization, the Dallas Cowboys, where they can help me. In just the couple of months I've been there, they've done a lot. I have a support group there and they believe in me. I'm glad they believe in me."

<![CDATA[LT, Emmitt Say Murray Was Underwhelming in 2014]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:30:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461343460.jpg

I thought I was seeing things. Or not seeing things. Or, since I hit the big 5-Oh last summer, merely declining with age.

But now? I think I was right all along.

I thought and said and wrote last season that DeMarco Murray constantly missed holes. He made the wrong cut, or made no cut all – taking on a tackler instead of juking for extra yards. After almost every run – and certainly every game – I had the feeling that the Cowboys’ running back didn’t maximize his opportunities.

Bottom line: I was convinced the blocking was far superior to his running.

But then you look up at Murray leading the NFL and setting a Cowboys’ franchise record with 1,845 yards and you begin to question your eyes, your mind and your perspective.

My brother always agreed with me. So did lots of media dorks in the press box. Then Murray flew to the Eagles in free agency and his heir apparent, Joseph Randle, claimed he “left a lot of meat on the bone.” Considering Randle’s resume, it was hardly the confirmation I needed.

But then a guy named Emmitt Smith spoke up, saying he felt Murray left as many as 700 yards on the field in 2014. And now Smith’s – er, our – sentiments are being echoed by another all-time great running back, LaDainian Tomlinson.

“As a guy that watches a lot of film, Emmitt is correct,” the former star at TCU and the Chargers told DFW.com. “There were a lot of times, and DeMarco is a very physical runner and instead of making that last guy miss and taking it for 50 or 60, he would try and run him over. That’s just his style and he would end up getting tackled for 20 instead of 50. So Emmitt is right in that sense, but at the same time, one thing that I do respect about DeMarco is he knows his strengths. He is not a juke guy, he’s a downhill, physical runner.”

On one hand it’s preposterous that two guys who never did what DeMarco did are criticizing the manner in which he did it. Smith’s best year was 1,773 yards; Tomlinson’s 1,815.

On the other hand, they’re right. We’re all right. Right? 

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dez's Agent: "The Deadline Certainly Helps Move Things Along"]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:19:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459496698.jpg

Dallas Cowboys executive vice president and COO Stephen Jones was quick to point out that the reality of the franchise tag deadline played a key role in Dez Bryant’s new five-year, $70 million deal getting done. Bryant’s agent Tom Condon won’t disagree with that assessment.

There's no question that the deadline certainly helps move things along,” Condon told SiriusXM NFL Radio recently, per the Dallas Morning News. “My experience in the league has been regardless of what level, whether it was the players association or the individual clubs, pretty much everything comes down to the deadline. And with Dez, they had been talking to him about a contract with a previous agent. That was over a year ago. When we got on the job, certainly there was some conversation but it wasn't to the extent as it was as we got closer to the deadline.”

Condon only started representing Bryant in November of last year, after the All-Pro parted ways with Eugene Parker for the second time in his career. So Condon was still getting to know Bryant as they worked on this new contract.

"Yeah, we're very happy for Dez. As they got to know him through the process, not only is he an obviously fabulous athlete, he's a dynamic and explosive receiver. But, just as a human being, I just was crazy about him,” Condon said. “He has a huge heart, is a great competitor. I talked to a bunch of his teammates about him and his coaches and they all said the same thing, that he was just a fabulous teammate, and a great competitor and the hardest-working guy on the team. It's a pleasure to try to help somebody like that. What he had gone through in his life, and to come out like this is really, I think, something special."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Looking Forward to Dez-Byron Matchup]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:12:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/471748516.jpg

When Cowboys training camp opens next week in Oxnard, California first round pick Byron Jones will face receiver Dez Bryant for the first time.

The Cowboys, who watched Tyron Smith get a baptism by fire courtesy of DeMarcus Ware in his rookie year and believed it went a long way in helping to mold Smith, are looking forward to it.

Of course, Bryant stayed away from the team all offseason as he waited for a new, long-term contract, and Jones was drafted out of UConn in the first round of the draft in late April.

Bryant tweeted Jones shortly after he was selected that night and probably met and spoke with the rookie on the handful of occasions that the All-Pro receiver made appearances at team workouts, but they’ve yet to line up.

When you’re playing against the best of the best it can only make you better,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. "I’m sure Byron is looking forward to it. I know he had some spirited compete plays with Jason Witten who is one of the best in the business. Now he’s going to get to see Dez live and up front. I’m sure he looks forward to it and it’ll be good for him."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles Expect Bradford to be Ready for Camp]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:35:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Sam+Bradford+Hand+Injury.jpg

It’s looking like the Philadelphia Eagles will have their new starting quarterback on the field when they open training camp on August 2.

According to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, Sam Bradford is expected to be ready to go in camp after being held out of all 11-on-11 drills in OTAs this summer as he recovered from his second ACL tear in as many years. Shorr-Parks cites a source close to the situation as saying, as of now, Bradford “feels great.”

This isn’t particularly surprising, as Bradford said at the end of minicamp over a month ago that, barring something unforeseen and terrible, he’d be a full go when they reconvened for camp.

"If I'm not ready for 11 on 11 by training camp, then something has gone horribly wrong," Bradford said. "That's the plan right now. We're going to keep plugging away and be ready when camp starts."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFLPA May Still Pursue Collusion Charges Against Cowboys, Broncos]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 11:17:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460752374.jpg

Last week, in the days before Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas got their new, long-term contracts, reports surfaced that the NFL Players Association was looking at pursuing collusion charges against the Cowboys and Broncos.

Based on a conversation executive vice president Stephen Jones had with Bryant, the Players’ Association believed the Cowboys and Broncos had contact regarding their respective disgruntled receivers--which would constitute collusion.

If Bryant and Thomas didn’t get new deals, we were told, those charges would be pursued.

Bryant and Thomas did get new deals, of course, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve heard the end of this.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFLPA is still deciding whether or not to proceed with the collusion charges, and the notice for the two teams to preserve any contact they’ve had remains in place.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys VP: Mo Claiborne "Has a Chance to Have a Big Year"]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:09:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mo-claiborne-cant-relax.jpg

Morris Claiborne was limited all offseason as he recovered from a ruptured patellar tendon, but a week away from training camp, the team feels good about the former No. 6 overall pick.

Claiborne tore the patellar tendon in his left knee in a Week 4 victory over the Saints last year--he did manage to record an interception the week before, giving him exactly one in each of his first three seasons in the league--and had surgery to repair it shortly thereafter. Then in December, he had surgery to safeguard against a similar injury in his right knee.

To date, he’s missed 19 regular season games and two playoff games in his short career.

But the Cowboys expect him to be back and healthy when Training Camp opens in Oxnard, CA, and Jerry Jones has made clear that he remains pretty high on No. 24--despite the team declining his fifth year option and drafting a corner in the first round this offseason--saying that he thinks Claiborne has a chance to surprise a lot of folks in 2015. Jerry's son Stephen Jones, the team’s executive vice president, is similarly confident in the LSU product.

“He’s had a really good offseason and I think he feels better than he’s ever felt,” Stephen Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He really has a chance to have a big year for us.”

<![CDATA[Dez Bryant Could Be Limited to Start Training Camp]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:52:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453320170.jpg

After being absent from Valley Ranch all offseason, Dez Bryant could be limited when training camp opens next week.

Bryant spent the late spring and early summer months locked in a sort of stand-off with the team over his contract. Basically, the team gave him the franchise tag and he made it abundantly clear that he didn't want the franchise tag--he wanted a long-term contract, even going so far as to say he wouldn’t "be there” if the deadline passed without a deal.

As it happened, a deal did get done at the 11th hour, with Bryant signing to a five-year, $70 million deal with less than an hour before the deadline, but before that he missed all offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp--a few appearances at Valley Ranch and AT&T Stadium to hang out with teammates notwithstanding.

Because of that time missed, the Cowboys will look to play it smart where Bryant’s return to action is concerned.

“We have to get our hands around Dez, he hasn’t been in a competitive training offseason and you want to make sure you don’t throw him to the wolves,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He works hard but there’s nothing like working with your teammates in a competitive environment. It’s an art to get through the preseason without significant injuries. Those things happen but we’re going to do everything we can to manage and be better at it.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stephen Jones Says Call on Dez's Non-Catch Was the Right One]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:35:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459955030.jpg

This week, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president and C.O.O. Stephen Jones became the first member of the organization (that we know of, anyway) to say publicly that the call on Dez Bryant’s now-infamous non-catch was the correct one. He addressed the issue at the opening of the Dallas Cowboys Club bar and restaurant at the DFW Airport.

"As it turns out, according to the rule, I think the call was correct," said Jones, a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee, per ESPN Dallas.

The Competition Committee tweaked the rule pertaining to receivers establishing possession this offseason, but really the only thing that was changed was the language. What constitutes possession is more or less unchanged. Jones said they would continue to consider the rule in the future.

"Now, going forward is there a better way that some of these plays that are made by great players like a Dez Bryant or a Calvin Johnson, is there a way to tweak a rule to where you can say, ‘Hey those guys really caught those footballs and they should be catches even under the NFL rules?’ Well, that’s the job of the Competition Committee and for us to continue to look at ways to get better," Jones said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Emmitt Smith Thinks Cowboys' RBs Will Be Fine]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:32:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/edt-emmit-smith.jpg

Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith doesn’t think any one running back on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster is as good as DeMarco Murray. But he thinks the committee of backs will be just fine running behind the team’s vaunted young offensive line in 2015 and, collectively, make up for the production lost when Murray went to Philly.

“I expect to see something very similar to what we had last year? Do I expect us to go out and run the ball exactly how DeMarco Murray ran last year? Probably not as an individual but I do see us collectively being able to run the ball as effectively as he did last year,” Smith told 1310-AM The Ticket recently, via the Dallas Morning News. “The one thing I saw with DeMarco Murray that I absolutely loved was he was able to square his shoulders, get north and south and go downhill with the football.

“But when it comes down to the three guys that you just mentioned (Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar) are very unique in their own way, and that's what makes this offensive line so great and they'll make these guys work together and jell together."

The Cowboys must be confident in what they have in the backfield as well. The team went against expectations in the draft and did not select a running back at all, this after many assumed they’d take a runner in the first round and just about everyone assumed they’d draft one at some point.  Instead, they stood pat and appear to be content to roll into 2015 with the trio of McFadden, Randle and Dunbar shouldering the load.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Beckham's Hamstring "Feeling a Lot Better"]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 14:36:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/beckham7.jpg

Last year, Odell Beckham, Jr. missed the first four games of the season with a nagging hamstring injury, before getting on the field and promptly earning a reputation as maybe the most exciting young receiver in the game. So this offseason, there was no more unwelcome sight for Giants fans than Beckham on the sidelines of offseason workouts, nursing another hamstring injury (the right one this time).

The good news for that group is that, as of now, Beckham says he’s on the mend.

It feels a lot better actually,” Beckham said of his right hamstring in a sit-down with NFL Media’s Kim Jones. “I’d rather be healthy than anything else. I just don’t want to go through what I had to go through last year and not just for myself, for this team.”

Beckham was asked if he’ll be ready for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

“That’s the plan,” Beckham said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[S. Jones Ramps-Up Camp Optimism]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:01:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jerry-stephen-cowboys-camp-072814.jpg

Can’t wait for next week’s Cowboys’ “State of the Union” press conference to kick off training camp in Oxnard?

Good news: You don’t have to.

It was unofficial and impromptu at the opening of team’s new Cowboys Club at DFW Airport, but vice president Stephen Jones on Tuesday said what we’ve all been thinking. That his team had a pretty spiffy offseason.

“It’s very exciting and I do believe we’ve put together a team here that’s one of the better ones we’ve had in quite some time,” Jones told reporters at the event. “I do believe it’s all coming together for us.”

Surely Jones or his father, Jerry, will come up with a better rally cry for 2015. I mean, who could forget 2012’s “Glory Hole” or that infamous “Secret Sauce” from two summers ago. But for we’ll take it. And, from what I wrote Monday, obviously I agree with Stephen.

“I’m not a big fan of grading an offseason,” Jones said. “Everybody thinks when they draft players they did well because they drafted them where they had them on their board. The question is was your board accurate? The same thing with free agents and same thing with signing contracts. It’s all about the production on the field. We obviously feel like we got a lot accomplished. Whether we did or not remains to be seen and it’ll all be in whether we have a successful season. We theoretically got done what we felt like we needed to do to make our team better and take the next step. Now we’ll see if it happens.”

At this time next week the Cowboys will begin that evaluation out in California.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Company with Romo Ties Sues NFL Over Canceled Event]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 20:26:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/470394354_master.jpg

A company partly owned by Tony Romo sued the NFL on Tuesday over a canceled fantasy football event in Las Vegas that was to involve the Dallas quarterback and other star players.

The Fan Expo LLC alleged in a lawsuit filed in Dallas County that the league intimidated players with threats of fines and suspensions if they attended what the NFL said was a gambling-related event because it was to be held at a facility associated with a casino.

The Texas-based company claims the NFL initially approved the event, set for mid-July, by allowing some members of league-owned media outlets to participate. Then in June, according to the lawsuit, players and in some cases family members of players were told they could be disciplined if they showed up.

"This case is about the NFL's blatant and premeditated sabotage of an event designed to bring together the very people who are the backbone of the NFL -- the players and the fans," said the lawsuit, which seeks more than $1 million in damages.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league was reviewing the lawsuit and would "respond accordingly."

The Fan Expo created the National Fantasy Football Convention and used Romo as its headliner while getting commitments from Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, New England tight end Rob Gronkowski and Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell.

DeMarco Murray, Romo's former teammate and the NFL rushing leader who signed with Philadelphia in free agency, also was among the 60 players the lawsuit says had agreed to attend.

The suit said there were another 35 players who were considering signing agreements.

The event was to include autograph sessions with players and clinics with fantasy football experts.

It was to be held at the Sands Expo, a convention center that's part of the Venetian Resort but doesn't have gambling or slot machines.

The lawsuit said the mother of New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was among those warned by the NFL that her son would be punished if he participated. It also said NFL senior labor relations counsel Brook Gardiner contacted the Cowboys, prompting the team to call an event organizer.

After failed attempts to persuade the NFL that the event wasn't associated with gambling, it was called off and refunds were offered to fans who had already booked trips. Organizers say they are planning to hold the event in Los Angeles next summer.

The suit listed several examples of what the plaintiffs considered casino ties to other players and teams, including an upcoming cruise hosted by Gronkowski and a fantasy football event in Las Vegas with ties to New York Jets receiver Brandon Marshall. The fantasy event was about the same time that Romo's was supposed to be held.

"Given the NFL's close ties to gambling, to now argue that the NFFC's July 2015 event was a violation of the gambling policy is utterly disingenuous," the lawsuit said. "Instead, the NFL, recognizing the commercial opportunities available to the NFFC, likely decided to kill Tony Romo's effort so that it could replace it with one of its own."

Romo was critical of the NFL in a radio interview after the cancellation was announced in June, also saying he was disappointed the league waited until a few weeks before the event to make an issue of it. He disputed the league's claim that it raised concerns soon after learning of the event.

Julie Pettit, an attorney for Fan Expo, confirmed that Romo had a stake in the company but wouldn't say whether he approved the decision to sue the NFL.

<![CDATA[Cowboys One of Just 12 Teams Leaving Home for Camp]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:49:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/joseph-randle-darrion-weems.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys are going away for training camp this year, to Oxnard, CA, as they do every year. That used to be the norm in the NFL but, according to Pro Football Talk, it now puts them squarely in the minority.

The Cowboys are one of just 12 teams not using their home facilities for training camp in 2015. Compare that to the year 2000, in which 27 of the 32 teams in the league went offsite for camp.

The others going away for camp this year are the Saints, Bears, Redskins, Panthers, Raiders, Chiefs, Colts, Bills, Steelers, Vikings and Packers. The Vikings and Steelers have been camping at Mankato State University in Mankato, MN and St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, respectively, for the last 50 years. The Packers are in their 58th year of holding camp at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.

Oxnard, CA, host to the Cowboys once again this year, has been their training camp home off-and-on since 2001. In years that they haven’t been in Oxnard, the Cowboys have held camp at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio. Beginning in 2016, the new facility in Frisco will be open, and the team is expected to spend at least part of training camp there.

Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: New Deal for Eli Manning Could Be Coming Soon]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:50:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459480778.jpg

All offseason, the New York Giants have made it clear that they’re not terribly worried about Eli Manning’s future with the team. Manning is set to enter the final year of his current contract, and both he and the team have seemed content to let that year play out, and then work on a new deal.

But now, it looks like the two-time Super Bowl winner Manning could be locked up by the Giants a lot sooner.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported this week that the Giants are looking to get Manning his new contract in the coming weeks.

“This is another one where the Giants hope to do a deal either before training camp or early on in training camp,” Rapoport said, via ProFootballTalk. “My understanding is the Giants brass is confident in doing a deal in due time. Actually, just talking to people on both sides of this, it seems to make sense for both sides to do a deal, one that they think and hope will get done this year.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Irvin Credits Social Media with Helping Get Dez Deal Done]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 11:54:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/michael-irvin-jimmy-johnson.jpg

It’s not every day that you hear a retired football player praise social media, but that’s exactly what Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin did when he joined G-Bag Nation on 105.3-FM The Fan on Monday.

Irvin believes a tweet from Dez Bryant last week, just a couple of days before the deadline, was crucial in ultimately getting the deal done. Bryant had tweeted that, “on [his] beautiful babies,” he would “not be there” if a long-term deal wasn’t in place before the deadline passed.

It's not often I'm going to come in and say 'Thank you social media.' But you cannot convince me that that did not have some bearing on getting the deal done because once Dez went out with that, 'I'm putting this on my kids. I'm going to miss that game.’--listen guys, y'all know what that means for a brother,” Irvin said, per the Dallas Morning News. “To say, you know, 'I swear to you on my mama and on my daddy's grave, I'm putting this on my kids, that just means everything.

“I believe that definitely had an impact, because if he misses a game or two he's losing $800,000 a game, he could still come back and sign after that and then even force Jerry to give that money. 'Jerry, you want me to sign? Put it back on some type of way and I'll get back on.'”

<![CDATA[Emmitt Smith Thinks Murray Could've Had 2,500 Yards Last Year]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 11:57:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/emmitt-smith-toughness.jpg

Back in May, Cowboys running back Joseph Randle made some headlines when he suggested DeMarco Murray “left a lot of meat on the bone” in 2014. The criticism seemed a little crazy, since Murray led the NFL in rushing last year and set a new franchise record for rushing yards in a season, with 1,845.

But apparently the man whose franchise record Murray broke, Emmitt Smith, doesn’t exactly disagree with Randle’s assessment. Smith told 1310-AM The Ticket in DFW this week that he believes Murray could have run for 2,500 yards last year--which would shatter the NFL record by nearly 400 yards.

The statement came in response to a question about running backs who run behind great offensive lines--like Smith did for many years, and Murray did last year--and whose accomplishments are therefore devalued to some degree in the minds of fans.  

"At some time it does become a little insulting,” Smith said, via the Dallas Morning News. “When I think about DeMarco Murray, he has his own talent but when I was watching him run last year, and this is just me evaluating, I saw some opportunities there that was left on the football field where he could've had 2,500 yards, but he maximized what he had and he did the best with what he had. He had tremendous opportunities and the Cowboys--here's the most important thing--the Cowboys gave him the opportunity to do it, which showed, truly what his ability was like and how good that offensive line was in terms of combination.

"At the end of the day, you've got to have something yourself individually that makes everything look better and click better and feel better. ... There are certain talents out there that turn sugar into wine. DeMarco did that on his own, and yes he did have a great line in front of him to make that happen too."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Collinsworth: "No Way" Jerry Would Let Deadline Pass Without Dez Deal]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 11:30:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cris-collinsworth-sb.jpg

Presumably, Cris Collinsworth was not surprised when Dez Bryant agreed to a new, five-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys less than an hour before the deadline passed.

In an interview with NBC 5’s Pat Doney, the Sunday Night Football announcer and former NFL wide receiver credited Bryant with (a) being one of the best receivers in football, if not the best, and (b) playing a major role in the Cowboys’ return to serious contender status for the first time in years.

Basically, Bryant’s importance to what Jerry Jones is trying to build made it so Collinsworth never had a doubt that Bryant and the Cowboys would get a deal done.

"I would've liked to have been Dez's agent, because there was no way Jerry Jones was not going to sign that guy this year,” Collinsworth told Doney. “They have the table set. They have a chance this year. And it's been a long time since they've had this kind of a football team put together. But you're not quite there if you don't have Dez Bryant. If he's not the best receiver in football right now he's darn close to it. I love how competitive he is. I love the way he fights for the football in the endzone. I am a huge Dez Bryant fan."

<![CDATA[Top 10 Cowboys' Offseason Moves]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 07:20:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457518412.jpg

Most of the time when a team loses the NFL’s leading rusher in free agency, you’d rubber-stamp the offseason as an abject failure.

But if you look closer, the Cowboys’ summer hasn’t been a bummer.

Sure DeMarco Murray flew to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, but it’s not wrong to say the Cowboys let him leave. They set their price for his worth and the Eagles topped it. It sets up for a fascinating season in which we’ll constantly compare Murray’s production to that of the Cowboys’ running back by committee behind the NFL’s best offensive line.

But aside from that headline-stealing move, the Cowboys’ transactions were a string of positivity:

10. Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan – Coming off a 12-4 season, it was crucial to keep the continuity on both sides of the ball.

9. Cole Beasley – A guy who quit football is now a developing, reliable weapon with a new four-year contract.

8. Rolando McClain – He’s a knucklehead that will serve a four-game suspension to start the season, but he proved last season that he can be a positive playmaker at middle linebacker.

7. Orlando Scandrick – Couple summers ago Jerry Jones was blasted for giving him a long-term deal. Now the owner is praised for keeping his best cornerback happy with a contract extension.

6. Jason Garrett – A no-brainer, sure, but the five-year contract he signed in January set the tone for an aggressive offseason.

5. Defensive Draft – Adding cornerback Byron Jones and pass rusher Randy Gregory as rookies who can immediately step onto the field and help the defense was just what the draft doctor ordered.

4. La’el Collins – Despite a checkered past, the LSU behemoth could force his way into the starting lineup along Dallas’ talented offensive line.

3. Darren McFadden – He’s no Murray, but he at least gives the Cowboys a proven veteran back in case Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams fizzle.

2. Greg Hardy – We can debate the move to acquire a man of his questionable character, but there’s no argument that Jones reiterated a loud “go for it” mode by signing the talented pass rusher.

1. Dez Bryant – Despite the above moves, the offseason would’ve been a failure had the Cowboys not signed him to a long-term deal last week. Now, the pieces are in place for a Super-Bowl run this season, and beyond.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blandino Revisits Dez's Non-Catch in Meeting with Cowboys]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:21:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461346426.jpg

Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, meets with all 32 teams in the league during the offseason. But this offseason, he made sure to have “lengthy discussions” with the Dallas Cowboys, whose season came to an end on a controversial call in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Since the officials in Green Bay decided on review that Dez Bryant did not complete the catch near the goal line on that 4th-and-2, Blandino has spent a fair portion of his time defending the call. He did so further in his meetings with the Cowboys this offseason.

They may not agree with the call, but it was always positive,” Blandino said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “‘Hey, look let’s get to some common ground as to what are we going to teach our players. How can we be consistent?’ And, so, they’ve been great throughout the entire process.”

The controversy surrounding the ruling led the the league’s Competition Committee revisiting the rule this offseason, but all that was changed, really, was the language of the rule.

“The message to the coaches and players--because we’ve gone out and visited with every staff--is if you’re falling to the ground to make the catch, then you have to maintain the control when you land,” Blandino said. “And if you reach or do anything with the football, that’s not going to trump that requirement to maintain control.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[After Further Review, Dez's Contract May Not Be His Last ]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:30:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457518412.jpg

A Cowboy for life!

Or, merely a Cowboy through 2019?

As excruciating and dramatic as the negotiations were between the Cowboys and Dez Bryant were last week, in all likelihood it won’t be the last contract the receiver signs. With the ink not dry on this deal it feels ridiculously premature to start fretting over the next one, but the relief we all felt last Wednesday won’t be eternal.

The five-year, $70 million will certainly keep Dez happy and allow his team to be contenders in 2015. And it will keep him with a star on his helmet through 2019. But then what? Bryant will only be 31 in 2019. Maybe not in the prime of his career for a receiver, but still a star worth … resigning?

Tony Romo is 35 and playing as well as ever. Jason Witten is still productive at 33. Cardinals’ receiver Larry Fitzgerald is still regarded as a Top 10 receiver at 32. With the way Bryant takes care of himself physically, it seems likely that he'll continue playing at high level into his 30s.

So, with any luck, we’ll have another summer of drama come 2020. And that one, guaranteed, will be a Cowboy-for-life opportunity. 

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Among Potential Destinations for Chris Johnson?]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 12:55:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456278354.jpg

The Cowboys went into the break between the final minicamp and training camp happy with their situation at the running back position. That could change, of course, and if it does, it seems likely that the team will at least give a look to former 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson, who remains on the market after an unremarkable year with the Jets in 2014.

The longtime Titan was injured in a drive-by shooting this offseason--a shooting that killed a close friend of his--but has recovered and is looking to return in 2015. Could that return come with the Cowboys? Maybe. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora at least brought “America’s Team” up as a potential destination for CJ2K in a piece about his recovery last week.

Several other execs brought up Dallas as a possible destination, with the Cowboys currently hoping that a trio of backs will replace the elite production of DeMarco Murray,” La Canfora wrote. “If a team like Baltimore or Kansas City were to lose their starting running back, I'd keep an eye on both as landing spots for Johnson. Denver could make sense over time and New England as well.”

Last year with the Jets, Johnson failed to put up 1,000-plus yards for the first time in his career, but his yard-per-carry average actually went up from 2013, his final year with the Titans, from 3.9 to 4.3.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[John Daly Predicts 2,000-Yard Season for Darren McFadden]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:07:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/john-daly-cowboys.jpg

John Daly is not going to win the British Open, but he does have the designation of making the boldest NFL prediction of any golfer in the tournament--that we know, of, anyway.

During a weather delay Saturday, Daly got on Periscope in his “Cowboys jammies”--some Cowboys pajama pants and a Cowboys T-shirt--talk to fans. At one point, he was asked who his favorite Cowboy was.

"I love them all," Daly said, per the Dallas Morning News. "Romo is my buddy. I'm glad we signed Dez Bryant. We have the best offense line in NFL football coming up and Darren McFadden is going roll. He is going to have over 2,000 yards is my prediction."

That’s among the bolder predictions you’ll ever hear, considering that McFadden has only gone for 1,000-plus yards once in his career, and that was five years ago. But we like Daly’s support of his fellow former Arkansas Razorback. Do you, John Daly.

<![CDATA[Emmitt Smith Says He Couldn't Imagine Going to Philly]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:06:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/emmitt-smith-passes-walter-payton.jpg

Emmitt Smith understands why DeMarco Murray went to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency this offseason, but he couldn’t imagine jumping from Dallas to Philly himself.

"No. I couldn't imagine being in that position at all,” Smith told Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia last week. “I like to think that Philadelphia, although as much as they hate the Dallas Cowboys, love to get quality football players on their football team, and DeMarco Murray happened to be one of those guys.”

The NFL’s All-Time Leading Rusher, Smith saw his almost-20-year-old single-season franchise rushing record broken by Murray last year, and was never short on praise for No. 29. But he doesn’t think the loss of Murray necessarily puts the Cowboys behind the Eagles in the NFC East.

"No, I don't think it switches the balance of power," Smith said. "I think the balance of power still has to be played between the goal lines ... but I still think our Dallas Cowboys are a team that you have to deal with and you cannot take us lightly."

<![CDATA[DeMarcus Lawrence Will Work Off the Left Side in 2015]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 13:06:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461344812.jpg

With Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory in the fold, the Dallas Cowboys will move second-year defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence to the left side of the line for the most part in 2015--where, they believe, they can get the most out of the Boise State product.

“He goes either way, but I really like him on the left because he’s so explosive out of his stance, so fast,” said Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, per the Dallas Morning News. “You know, sometimes that’s a bigger, thicker offensive tackle over there. You might be able to take advantage of him with your speed and quickness.”

Indeed, Lawrence’s speed has always stood out. It was one of the reasons Dallas traded up to land him early in the second round. This year, he’s added some size, too--he’s up 10 pounds from his 2014 playing weight of 250--which will serve him well against the run.

“I feel like I can hold my own,” Lawrence said. “I’m way more comfortable on the left. I’m right-handed and it’s just more natural to put my right hand into the ground and get off.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Running Back Position A Topic Prior To Cowboys Training Camp ]]> Sun, 19 Jul 2015 22:19:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Doney_Machota_Cowboys_Web_1200x675_487315011883.jpg NBC 5's Pat Doney and Dallas Morning News Cowboys reporter Jon Machota discuss the topic of running backs for the Cowboys as Training camp starts later this month.]]> <![CDATA[Pat Doney And Jon Machota Discuss Dez Bryant's New Deal]]> Sun, 19 Jul 2015 22:14:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Doney_Machota_Dez_Bryant_1200x675_487315011845.jpg NBC 5's Pat Doney and Dallas Morning News Cowboys reporter Jon Machota talk about Dez Bryant's new contract prior to the start of training camp later this month.]]>