<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Blue Star]]>Copyright 2016http://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.comen-usThu, 26 May 2016 11:41:47 -0500Thu, 26 May 2016 11:41:47 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Elliott Learning The Process With The Cowboys]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 23:03:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ezekiel+Elliott.jpg Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott is adjusting to the NFL style of football during this week's OTAs.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Romo Opens Up About Family, Faith and Football]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 22:43:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Romo-and-family.jpg Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo is very private when it comes to his personal life, however, Romo and his wife, Candice, graciously granted NBC 5's Meredith Land with unprecedented access to their lives.

Photo Credit: Romo Family]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Romo Opens Up About His Marriage]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 22:10:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TONY_ON_MARRIAGE_1200x675_692029507688.jpg In a rare, exclusive interview, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and his wife, Candice, open up about their family, marriage, faith and football.]]> <![CDATA[Tony Romo Opens Up About Family, Faith and Football]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 23:05:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Romo-and-family.jpg

Millions of fans know him as the quarterback for America's Team. They know about his wins, his losses and his injuries.

But Dallas Cowboy Tony Romo is very private when it comes to his personal life, his marriage, his children, his family and his faith.

However, Romo and his wife, Candice, graciously granted NBC 5's Meredith Land with unprecedented access to their lives, in their home with their children.

It is a very personal side of the QB few people have ever seen. Until now.

Meredith sat down with the Romos for a rare, exclusive interview, where no topic was off limits.

And the first topic Tony wanted to talk about were his adorable two little boys.

"If there is one thing that having kids has taught me it's that you can raise them in the exact same environment and they can be two different kids," said Tony Romo. "They love different things. They have different personalities. They're sweet boys. One just loves Lego's."

"Hawkins, our 4-year-old loves Lego's, Candice Romo said.

"He wakes up and says, 'did you get me new Lego's yet?'" said Tony.

"Our youngest, Rivers, our 2-year-old, out of the womb wanted a ball, wants to play football and basketball. He's like a miniature Tony," Candice said.

Meredith then asked Tony if he wanted his boys to follow in his footsteps and play football.

"We all want our kids to like what you like. For me, it's sports, but you really just hope they're really good kids," Tony said.

"Do you see more kids in your future? Tony needs a girl," Meredith said.

"Tony has days where he says he wants five kids and I'm like, 'well you can have them.' Yeah, we will have one more at least," Candice said.

"Yeah, I'd love a girl," Tony said.

Tony married Candice Crawford five years ago, in a beautiful ceremony in Dallas.

"Part of what attracted me to Candice is that she is similar to me and inherently, we are home bodies who like family," Tony said. When we go on vacation, we take her parents and we take mine and that's fun. It's enjoyable. No one loves her family, her husband, her kids more and at the same time no one works harder."

The two share a strong faith, which the Romos say brings perspective and peace, especially after tough losses.

"I am lucky to love something bigger than myself, the Lord," said Tony. "I think that's an easy way for me to get through the rough patches that go on in life."

"Without faith and the hope of something after this life, it would be a lot harder to get through the season," Candice said.

Meredith then asked Candice to tell us the one thing we may not know about her husband.

"He's very loyal. His best friends were his best friend from elementary school and his best friend from college," said Candice. "They all live here in Dallas and they came down here with Tony. They spend Easter with us and Christmas."

"It's mostly because they haven't gotten married," Tony added with a smile.

So, what's his relationship really like with his boss, owner Jerry Jones?

"He's always been there and he's honest "He's so supportive. It would be like a dad who has always supported you and rooted for you," Tony said. "He has to make tough decisions. I am in an easy spot, I am a player. I just have to go play and he has to build an organization."

Meredith also asked Tony what he thinks about his new teammate, Zeke Elliott.

"His job now is going to be to out and prove that he is who he is and he knows that," Tony said. I think it's really not anything else other than coming to work everyday and committing to it. If he loves the game of football, he'll get everything out of himself that he can and that's all we can really ask of someone who's taking on that position. And so far, he's done a very good job at that."

After having some time off, Tony says he is ready for the upcoming football season.

"Obviously, I have goals that are still left and I have to go achieve and I am taking the steps to go do that," said Tony. "These last few months have been very exciting and I like the way that's progressing, so I think that's exciting for me on an individual football level."

Tony also talked about his health.

"It feels like it's been the best two month stretch that I have had in a long long time. I think if things continue, it's going to be a really good thing for our football team and I am really excited about that."

Tony acknowledges that being the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys comes with a great responsibility, but also an incredible opportunity.

Did you ever dream that you would be where you are today?," asked Meredith.

"Yeah, I did," Tony says as he laughs. "I'm kidding. You don't think that far. You just want to play football and play in the NFL. I just kind of engross myself in where I'm at and try to figure out how to be good enough to help this football team now. Weirdly, along the way, you just better and better and then you show up one day and you're doing OK."

Photo Credit: Romo Family]]>
<![CDATA[Elliott Learning The Process With The Cowboys]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 23:04:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-525782468.jpg

There’s no shortage of high expectations for Cowboys rookie running back and first round pick Ezekiel Elliott. Some are ready to hand him the Rookie of the Year award more than three months away from the start of the season. But as head coach Jason Garrett always says, “it’s a process.”

Elliott is participating in his first organized team activities this week for the Cowboys and got in some first team reps on Wednesday.  So is this what he expected over the last couple of days?

“Yesterday, I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit shell shocked,” said Elliott. “But today I came out and was a little bit more prepared and was kind of more ready mentally and it started to be a little easier for me.”

It’s not that Elliott isn’t use to the spotlight, because there was no shortage of it playing at Ohio State. But as Elliott admitted, this is the next level and it’s something that you have to adjust to.

“He’s making some rookie mistakes, which is to be expected,” said running backs coach Gary Brown. “But we’re putting enough pressure on him that he’s staying tight and doing everything necessary to get himself right. It’s going to be a long process for him but he’ll get there eventually.”

Elliott is walking into a nice situation with the Cowboys. He has one of the top quarterbacks in the league in Tony Romo, a passing game led by Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, and possibly the best offensive line in the NFL.

Elliott has the tools to be a complete running back in the league, and showed some of that on the practice field Wednesday. He just may need a little time to develop and learn how the process works.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Cowboys Begin Offseason Workouts]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 17:07:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dez+bryant+cowboys+ota.jpg The Dallas Cowboys were back in action Wednesday at Valley Ranch for the first day of organized team activities, or OTAs.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dez Bryant: Close To "Getting Back To My Old Self"]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 16:33:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/170*120/GettyImages-4870436002.jpg

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is getting closer. Bryant hasn't been fully cleared to practice, but he caught passes during the pre-practice walk-through, along with some extra cardio work on the side at Wednesday's organized team activities.

Bryant is recovering from offseason foot and ankle surgery and is set to have more X-rays next week on his foot. If all is good, he's expected to be fully cleared to practice.

"I'm actually a little ahead of the game, but I'm going to stay patient," said Bryant. "We got a long way to go. Ready to play some football."

No doubt that Bryant is ready to get back on the field at full speed, and for good reason. On paper, the Cowboys look like they could have a fun offense to watch this season with Tony Romo at quarterback, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and the durable veteran Jason Witten at tight end.

"I'm looking forward to it," said Bryant. "I think we're going to be real strong. We're going to be a physical football team."

The Cowboys have always been a little cautious with Bryant and the plan is to increase his workload during OTAs next week. Bryant himself expects to play at an elite level this season, maybe even surpassing his All-Pro year in 2014. He caught 16 touchdowns for 1,320 yards that season.

"I'm past that. I'm going to be better than that," said Bryant.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Andy Jones Looking to Make Jump from Jacksonville U to NFL]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 14:11:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys+Helmet+Field.jpg

It’s a massive jump from Jacksonville University to the NFL, but undrafted receiver Andy Jones is intent on seeing if he can make it.

“It doesn’t matter where you came from if you come in here to work,” Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I feel blessed to be here, so I’m not going to lose out on that.

Jones got a signing bonus of $15,000 when he was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, which is a lot for a UFA—so much that it tells you something about how the team feels about the small school receiver’s physical traits. He was also one of just five undrafted free agents with a “draftable” grade among the 14 they ultimately brought in.

“He has a lot of physical traits,” said Cowboys receivers coach Derek Dooley. “The biggest thing with him was he came from a I-AA program, so he didn’t get a lot of the attention, didn’t quite have the production, didn’t have the exposure, probably didn’t have the development in a lot of ways. So we’re excited to see where he can go from here.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hey, Russell Westbrook is a Cowboys Fan]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 13:54:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/thunder+knicks.jpg

Just a month removed from the Oklahoma City Thunder dispatching the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs, we don’t imagine a lot of sports fans in Dallas-Fort Worth consider themselves big Russell Westbrook fans at the moment, but a tidbit about the OKC point guard in a recent ESPN write-up could soften the view of Westbrook in North Texas a little bit.

To wit, it turns out Westbrook, like LeBron James, is a Cowboys fan.

The fact about Westbrook comes in a list done by ESPN titled, “Everything you always wanted to know about Russell Westbrook but were afraid to ask,” which contains such biographical tidbits such as that Westbrook played football, baseball and tennis in high school, that he eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before every game and that he claims to have never shaved.

As for the Cowboys, it might not be well known, but Westbrook hasn’t really ever hid his fandom.

In fact in 2013, Westbrook and James tweeted some shade at Westbrook’s OKC teammate and noted Redskins fan Kevin Durant after a Washington loss and in early 2015, Westbrook tweeted “#cowboysnation” in celebration after the Cowboys’ wild card victory over the Lions in the playoffs.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett Preaching "Talk Less and Just Go To Work" in OTAs]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 13:23:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-501244264.jpg

Aside from the lack of pads and helmets, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett says there won’t be much difference visually between the practices his team will be going through this week in OTAs and the practices they’ll go through this fall.

The Cowboys get nine days of OTAs. Wednesday marks the second.

"We'll be out there going through what looks like a regular practice that we'll have during training camp and the regular season," Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. "Obviously different from the fact that we won't have pads on, but we'll structure the practice the same way."

According to Jason Witten, Garrett has been preaching a “talk less, work more” approach to the offseason workouts, and the team has taken to it quite well.

"Everything comes alive," Witten said. "You're down in a stance. You're going to get tired. You're going to get tested a little bit. You can't let it be any other way than to go out there and play. So it will be good for our football team. I think Jason has made it clear, his expectations, talk less and just go to work. And I think the team has really adapted that mindset this offseason."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Leary No-Shows at OTAs After Requesting Trade ]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 07:11:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ronald-leary-preseason.jpg

You just knew the Cowboys’ offseason was too quiet.

Just when we were dreaming of Ezekiel Elliott running behind the best, deepest offensive line in the NFL, there arises a potential hiccup. According to ESPN, backup offensive lineman Ron Leary has been a no-show at this week’s OTAs and is requesting a trade.

Leary signed his restricted free-agent tender worth $2.5 before the draft, but only in hopes of forcing a trade. He will only be fined if he misses mandatory minicamp next month, as OTAs are technically voluntary.

Signed as a free agent in 2012, Leary was a fixture at left guard for all of 2013 and 2014, and was part of the line that opened holes for NFL rushing champ DeMarco Murray. He began last season as the starter as well but lost his job to rookie La’el Collins in Week 5.

The Cowboys have lost Mackenzy Bernadeau and Jermey Parnell to the Jaguars via free agency the last two seasons, and Leary – in theory – should be the swing lineman.

But the Cowboys signed free agent Joe Looney, who has experience at center that Leary doesn’t. If Looney pans out, Leary would likely be inactive on game days. Making his “holdout” a minor inconvenience. Still, let’s consider the harmony at Valley Ranch officially disrupted.

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.

<![CDATA[La'el Collins "Extremely Excited" To See Zeke in Action]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:21:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lael-collins-starting-job.jpg

Like a lot of people in North Texas, Cowboys second-year left guard La’el Collins is “extremely excited” to see what rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott can do in the NFL.

A year after Collins joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent under some of the strangest circumstances we’ve ever seen with a highly-touted NFL prospect, Dallas selected Elliott with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft. Now Collins will be one of the men charged with clearing paths for the former Buckeye.

"He's a smart guy, fast guy, learns pretty fast," Collins told the team’s official website of Elliott.

Last year, it was Collins making first impressions on his new teammates, learning to live up to the highly regarded, much talked about “standard” the Cowboys’ much decorated offensive line has set for themselves—and of course, living up to that standard isn’t just a rookie year task.

“It’s a standard that we hold as a group,” Collins said. “I think coming in for me last year as a young guy really having to live up to that standard, continuing to work like those guys has helped me become a better player.”

<![CDATA[Eagles' Schwartz Doesn't Want a Pre-Determined QB Competition]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 14:08:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-501238924.jpg

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has all but had a tattoo put on his neck that says Sam Bradford is the team’s starting quarterback, but the team’s defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz doesn’t sound 100 percent onboard with this approach.

According to Schwartz, who is the Eagles defensive coordinator but drafted Matthew Stafford while the head coach of the Lions, the team would do well not to declare a starter until further along in the quarterback competition.

Don't judge him on something else,” Schwartz said of rookie Carson Wentz, per NJ.com. "And also don't pre-determine the result of the race. Let him go play. Don't put extra pressure on him.

"I can't speak for Carson. We have enough worries on defense right now. I think when we drafted Stafford, we just let him play. Was he our best quarterback? Was he ready? Unfortunately, he got hurt both his first and second year by holding the ball too long. I think he had the command and he would have been ready to play had it not been for those injuries."

The Eagles traded up from No. 13 to No. 8 to No. 2 in the 2016 NFL Draft to select Wentz.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jalen Ramsey Undergoes Knee Surgery]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:50:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-496171772.jpg

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, a much talked about potential draft target for the Dallas Cowboys going into the 2016 NFL Draft, had knee surgery on Tuesday to repair a partially torn meniscus in his right knee.

But the Jaguars, who selected Ramsey fifth overall, a spot after the Cowboys selected Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, remain optimistic about Ramsey’s prospects in 2016.

That's great news," said Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, per ESPN. “That's what we had hoped for. We knew all the scenarios. ... It sounds like come training camp he should be ready to go. Full go.”

Last season, the Jaguars’ top draft pick Dante Fowler, Jr. suffered a torn ACL in rookie mini-camp and missed the entire 2015 season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chris Brown Heaps Praise on Notre Dame Teammate Jaylon Smith]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:32:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/JaylonSmith.jpg

We get the feeling it’d be exceedingly difficult for undrafted Dallas Cowboys receiver Chris Brown, a teammate of second round pick Jaylon Smith at Notre Dame, to put into words just what Smith meant to his Fighting Irish teammates.

But Brown tried recently.

“You have a lot of great players that you just respect them because they’re great players, but you’re talking about a dude that never did anything wrong,” Brown said of Smith, per ESPN Dallas. “Never was late, did everything he needed to do, was vocal when he had to be vocal. He was a leader in his own right, and just to see something like that (one injury) was unfortunate, but we stayed with him throughout and we were supporting him. And we knew that whoever would give him a shot, they were going to get it done.”

Perhaps an encouraging sign for the Cowboys, who drafted Smith with the knowledge that he probably wouldn’t play until 2017 due to the devastating knee injury he suffered at last year’s Fiesta Bowl, is the fact that Brown says he hasn’t really seen any change in Smith’s approach to the game since the injury.

“Same dude. That’s the best thing about Jaylon. He’s the same dude through the in and outs," Brown said. "Real relaxed, but driven. I’m his roommate now, so he’s in the playbook as if he’s out there every single day taking every rep.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Rodgers-Cromartie Joins Giants After Missing 1st OTA ]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 13:19:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459494908.jpg

Like a lot of teams, the New York Giants opened up organized team activities on Monday, but they were missing one of their biggest names on the defensive side of the ball, in cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

But the man they call DRC was back on Tuesday, saying he had a personal matter to attend to Monday.

This, of course, refutes the whispers that Rodgers-Cromartie might be staying away from the team in response to their drafting Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple in the first round. Besides, as first-year Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was quick to point out, these are voluntary workouts.

"DRC wasn’t able to make it today,” McAdoo said, per Big Blue View. “We look forward to getting him back as soon as we can. It’s a voluntary opportunity. If he’s here we’ll coach him, if he’s not we wish him nothing but the best."

Rodgers-Cromartie is smack in the middle of a five-year deal with the Giants.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[With Romo's Return to Practice Field Blossoms Hope ]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 09:20:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-503288356.jpg

The Cowboys’ hope that in the NFC East they can go from worst to first today gets validation:

Tony Romo is back on the football field.

As OTAs (organized team activities) commence a three-week run at Valley Ranch, the quarterback will be back for 11-on-11 work for the first time since we saw him leaving the field in obvious pain on Thanksgiving day. Because of two broken collar bones Romo missed 12 games in 2015. The Cowboys went 1-11 in those games and limped to a 4-12 finish.

The rallying cry amongst true-blue believers, however, is that the team – with a healthy and upright Romo – is much closer to the 12-4 team that came within a controversial overturn of a Dez Bryant catch of making the NFC Championship in 2014.

After corrective and pre-emptive surgery to strengthen the collar bone, the 36-year-old Romo is more than ready.

He’s been throwing for more than a month and isn’t expected to be on any sort of physical restrictions once training camp starts in two months. Hope springs eternal. Especially in May.

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[Tony Romo, Candice Romo Speak Exclusively to NBC 5]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 22:58:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/candice+romo+tony+romo.jpg Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and wife Candice Romo invited NBC 5 into their home and talked about their sons, quite possibly their favorite topic.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Romo Opens Up About Football, Family]]> Tue, 24 May 2016 04:37:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tony+romo+candice+romo.jpg Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is opening up about his injuries, his family and his season ahead. Romo and his wife, Candice Romo, speak exclusively with NBC 5's Meredith Land.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Rico Gathers Being Helped Along By Dak Prescott]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 12:26:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/RicoGathers.jpg

Dallas Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has a long way to go as a football player, not that that comes as any surprise. After all, prior to becoming the Cowboys’ final pick of the 2016 Draft, the Baylor basketball star last played football in the eighth grade.

But having been back at it for a few weeks as a member of the Cowboys, Gathers is already feeling more comfortable than when he first arrived.

I’m comfortable now. I’m back into my own element,” Gathers told the team’s official website. “I’m just dialing in, focusing on what the coaches are telling us and I’m working hard.  As long as I can work hard we’re good physically, I just have to be in the playbook mentally.”

In the short time he’s been a Cowboy, Gathers has been helped by his teammates, including rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.

“I had my man Dak Prescott out there coaching me up and I really appreciate him and all of the other players believing in me,” Gathers said. “If you asked them if I’m making the same mistakes I made yesterday they’d say no so, it’s about me dialing into the playbook and knowing my assignments.”

Photo Credit: The Dallas Morning News]]>
<![CDATA[NFL to Elliott's Half-Jersey: So Long]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 10:31:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Elliott-Half-Shirt.jpg

Sorry, but Ezekiel Elliott’s half-shirt will not become the famous football look since Earl Campbell’s tear-away jerseys in the ‘80s.

Not because Elliott doesn’t have substance to back his style. But because it’s illegal.

Elliott, who stole the show at the NFL Draft wearing a dress shirt that showed off his abs, would be violating the NFL’s ridiculously strict and homogenized dress code by wearing his trademark shirt.

Rule 5. Section 4. Article 3. Item 2:

“Jersey must cover all pads and other protective equipment worn on the torso and upper arms, and must be appropriately tailored to remain tucked into the uniform pants throughout the game. Tear-away jerseys are prohibited. Mesh jerseys with large fishnet material (commonly referred to as 'bullet-hole' or 'port-hole' mesh) are also prohibited. Surnames of players in letters a minimum of 2½ inches high must be affixed to the exterior of jerseys across the upper back above the numerals; nicknames are prohibited. All jerseys must carry a small NFL Shield logo at the middle of the yoke of the neck on the front of the garment. All fabrics must be approved by the League office prior to production.”

Remember, this a league run by ninnies who fine players for personal messages on their eye black or for not wearing their socks high enough. You think Elliott’s abs are gonna get play? Right.

Elliott wore a half-shirt at an NFLPA Rookie Premiere last week. But until further notice the look will only be seen at Cowboys’ gift shops, Elliott bobbleheads and, oh yeah, the cheerleaders.

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[Cowboys Sign Long-Shot Hoops Star Gathers]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 14:57:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-454306262.jpg

The Cowboys historically have had success with cross-sport gambles. Particularly basketball players.

Rayfield Wright, Cornell Green and even Martellus Bennett played primarily hoops in college. Dallas even drafted a famous head coach named Pat Riley in 1967.

Above and beyond, they’ve at least made headlines by drafting track star Carl Lewis (’84) and a baseball prospect in Donald Harris (’92) . Oh, and track star Bob Hayes turned out to be a decent 7th-round pick in ’64.

Still, their selection of Rico Gathers last month was curious at best. Back in the days of Wright and Green the draft was 17 rounds, with more enough wiggle room for risk-taking. When the Cowboys selected Hayes, their final draft haul was a whopping 20 players. Miss a pick? No biggie.

But this year’s rookie draft class numbers only nine. The quality-over-quantity nature of today’s draft makes the pick of Gathers more, um, interesting? At 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds, he’s certainly got the body to play tight end in the NFL. And, as of yesterday, he’s got the contract.

The Baylor power forward with long arms, big hands and raw ability signed a four-year deal that includes a base salary of $450,000 this year and a signing bonus of $100,000. Not bad for a guy who hasn’t played organized football since 8th grade. The Cowboys’ history of success with basketball players played a role in their pick, as did college hoops stars-turned-NFL stars such as Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham.

The potential for Gathers is rich. But the odds are long. If he makes the practice squad the Cowboys should consider it worth their gamble.

For now.

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[NFC East Watch: Eagles QBs Splitting Reps Equally in OTAs]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 14:36:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Sam-Bradford-New.jpg

Even in the wake of his mini-holdout, the Philadelphia Eagles have made it abundantly clear that Sam Bradford is the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart. But for now, he isn’t seeing any more action than the team’s well-paid backup Chase Daniel, or rookie Carson Wentz.

The three Eagles quarterbacks have been splitting reps in OTAs equally, according to head coach Doug Pederson.

"I don't know if you counted reps today but in all the scripted team periods it was equal, so all three quarterbacks got the same amount," Pederson said, per Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com. "I’m not sure what the last period was—it was unscripted—but it was probably pretty similar. And that's the way we're going to approach the offseason."

Of course, it won’t stay this way forever, but Pederson doesn’t believe there’s any real drawback to the workload being split up equally between the three at this point in the offseason.

"This time of the year, no," he said. "All three of these guys are smart guys, they are sharp guys. I don't have any issues with dividing it up three ways. I know once we get later into camp, we need to get our starter, Sam, we need to give him more reps, but right now I'm not concerned with that."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Byron Jones Focusing on Safety Position]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 14:37:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/byron-jones-pats.jpg

As a rookie in 2015, Dallas Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones started games at both cornerback spots and at free safety. In 2016, the team will have Jones concentrate on the free safety position, and the coaching staff are excited to see what the first round pick out of UConn can do when putting his focus in one place.

His range is really good,” said Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, per ESPN Dallas. “He’s got good vision back there. I’m real excited to get him in a spot. We moved him around so much last year, so hopefully we get him in a position to use his talent and his vision. He is really smart.”

Jones finished his rookie season with 66 tackles and nine pass break-ups and, to his credit, never complained about being moved around.  

“Honestly I was just doing what I was supposed to do and coached to do,” Jones said. “They gave me a great challenge, and I tried to step up and meet it as best I could. That was something they told me when they drafted me with me being a versatile player.

“That was part of the deal.”

<![CDATA[La'el Collins Enjoying New Level of Comfort as Second-Year Pro]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 14:37:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lael-collins-starting-job.jpg

A year of experience makes a huge difference for NFL players, and Dallas Cowboys left guard La’el Collins is no different.

Collins started 11 games for the Cowboys after being signed as an undrafted free agent shortly after the draft last year, and played well. But at workouts this year, he has found himself more comfortable in the offense, a product simply of experience, and with that new level of comfort, Collins is free to just play—as he always has.

"Really just the game slows down for you, especially after the first year of experience knowing what to expect, knowing how hard I have to work this offseason to get stronger, faster and to be better mentally," Collins said, per ESPN Dallas. "[You] play off just natural instinct and reaction where you're not even thinking out there. That's my biggest thing this year. That's what I'm focusing on."

Collins’ counterpart on the right side, third-year guard Zack Martin, has noticed a difference in the LSU product.

"He's been awesome this offseason," Martin said. "You can tell he's more comfortable. He has a great feeling for what's going on, really coming to work every day. So we're excited to see him coming along."

<![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Want to Bring 2018 Draft to North Texas]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 14:40:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/byron+jones+godell_1200.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys want to bring the NFL Draft to North Texas in 2018, according to a report.

Per the Dallas Morning News, the team is making a play to host the 2018 NFL Draft either at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco or both. The Star, the team’s new $1.5 billion headquarters, is set to open in August.

After being in New York City from 1965 to 2014, the Draft has now been held in Chicago each of the past two years. Now there’s no shortage of teams hoping to bring the draft to their city and naturally, the Cowboys are right at the forefront of those hopeful organizations.

Not surprisingly, Frisco Mayor Maher Maso likes the idea.

"The potential for having the draft in Frisco at The Star is immeasurable, especially with an organization like the Cowboys behind it," Maso said, per the Dallas Morning News. "We feel it would be a huge benefit to our community and, frankly, to the region. If you think about it, something on the caliber of the NFL draft is really regional in nature and will benefit all the communities in North Texas."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Sign 2nd Round Pick Jaylon Smith]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 12:53:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/JaylonSmith2.jpg

Dallas Cowboys second round pick Jaylon Smith has signed his rookie deal, the team announced Friday.

With the signing of Smith, the 34th overall pick in the draft, Dallas has officially brought six draft picks into the fold. That leaves three picks unsigned, in the persons of third rounder Maliek Collins and fourth rounders Dak Prescott and Charles Tapper.

Along with Smith’s signing, the team announced the signing of sixth round pick, Baylor basketball player/tight end project Rico Gathers on Friday.

Per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, Smith received a $2.9 million signing bonus.

Smith is not expected to play this season, after tearing the ACL and LCL in his left knee in the Fiesta Bowl last year, an injury that also left him with some nerve damage—which makes him quite a question mark at this point.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ezekiel Elliott Makes Good First Impression with O-Line]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 15:59:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-525782468.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive linemen in attendance at the annual Reliant Cowboys Home Run Derby at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco this week haven’t known first round pick Ezekiel Elliott for long, but the rookie seems to have made a good first impression.

It seems like he's picking things up pretty quickly, which is what you like to see,” said center Travis Frederick, per the Dallas Morning News. “Early on, you see a mistake here or there, but you see less and less throughout time. So, hopefully once we get into OTAs, in a team atmosphere, we can get a really good evaluation.”

OTAs open up next week at Valley Ranch, so that further evaluation will have to wait for now. But we suppose there’s something to be said for the basic fact that the men who are charged with clearing the path for Elliott seem to like the guy.

“He's a good kid,” left tackle Tyron Smith said. “He's willing to come to work and willing to take advice. He's the right type of guy.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Got Bargain With Elliott]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 14:35:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/zeke-jersey1.jpg

Still not sure the Cowboys should’ve drafted a running back 4th overall. But I am convinced that Ezekiel Elliott will be a good player, at a great bargain.

On Wednesday Elliott signed a four-year, $25 million contract including a $16 million signing bonus. If he’s the three-down, blocking monster of a back the Cowboys expect, that will be a bargain. 

Elliott’s deal will average $6.2 million. By contrast best veteran backs on the free-agent market will earn more – Doug Martin of the Buccaneers ($7.1 million), Lamar Miller to the Texans ($6.5) and Chris Ivory to the Jaguars ($6.4). All of those players are at least 25 years old with at least 600 carries in the NFL.

Bottom line: The Cowboys paid less money for a newer car.

Elliott won’t turn 21 until the week before the Cowboys leave for training camp in Oxnard, California.

Reasoned vice president Stephen Jones of the decision to draft over sign, “We have an opinion that at the end of day, especially with running backs after they have had some wear and tear on them, may not be the right investment as they go forward. It is real easy to sit back and say, ‘Well, the value of the running back is coming this way financially in terms of cap dollars.’ We actually have done some work and believe that some of their best years, the great ones, are in their first five years. So you are maybe getting the best part of the running back in his first five years vs. the second contract.”

While I’m still philosophically opposed to the Cowboys’ drafting of a running back with their top pick, there’s no doubting they did their shopping wisely.

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: Noah Bullard, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Zack Martin on La'el Collins: "He's Been Awesome This Offseason"]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 16:01:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/194*120/496341894.jpg

This time last year, Cowboys right guard Zack Martin was preparing for his second pro season and noticing that his level of comfort as an NFL player was night-and-day from where it was as a rookie, when he didn’t have the benefit of having gone through an NFL offseason before.

Martin sees second-year left guard La’el Collins enjoying that new level of comfort this year.

"Oh, so much better," Martin said, per the Dallas Morning News. "You can already see it with [Collins]. He's been awesome this offseason. You can just tell he's more comfortable. He has a great feeling for what's going on, really coming to work every day. So, we're excited to get everyone together."

After signing as an undrafted free agent just after the draft last year, Collins began the season as the backup to Ronald Leary. But by the end of the season, Collins had taken over the starting job, where it looks like he’ll stay awhile.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tyrone Crawford's Strength is Back]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 13:44:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458288796.jpg

At the end of 2015, Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford was playing with a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, an injury that sapped the strength from the shoulder to the point that Crawford said he couldn’t bench press 225 pounds.

But Crawford had surgery in January and the strength has returned. Crawford said this week that he was back to 450 pounds on the bench press.

The Cowboys were planning on using Crawford at defensive tackle when they signed him to a five-year, $42.5 million deal last September, but the suspension to Randy Gregory means Crawford will probably begin the year as an end.

Crawford isn’t worried about making the change.

“The blocking—the different blocks you’re going to get—are a little different at defensive end,” Crawford said, per ESPN Dallas. “But all of my reads will probably come right back as soon as I do it for a little while.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Terrance Williams Not Worried About Contract Going Into 2016]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 16:02:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/terrance-williams-DRC.jpg

Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams is entering the final year of his rookie contract, but the Baylor product isn’t preoccupying himself with those matters as he prepares for his fourth season in the NFL.

With Dez Bryant hurt in 2015, the Cowboys No. 2 receiver Williams posted career highs in catches with 52 and receiving yards with 840, and a career low in touchdowns with three—as you might remember, the Cowboys struggled to find the end zone with Romo out.

Romo is set to return in 2016, which should help Williams with his goal—letting his play speak for itself in a contract year.

"I try not to worry about that, and I think a lot of people have said a lot this past year and since I've been here," Williams said, per the Dallas Morning News. "Now, I'm just ready to be quiet and just work and let my play speak for it, because you can always talk what you're going to do and then if it doesn't go as planned, it's like a slap to your face. So I'm just ready to work and just show my play."

<![CDATA[Cowboys Will Sell Zeke Elliott Half Shirt]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 17:29:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Zeke1.jpg

Cowboys first round draft pick, Ezekiel Elliott, wore a half jersey at Ohio State and on draft night in Chicago, had some fun on the red carpet with the half shirt look with his suit.

The newly signed $24.9 million back is now going to have his own Cowboys crop-top t-shirt, according to Cowboys Merchandising Limited president Bill Priakos.

He also told me Elliott’s jersey sales have been doing very well and the club is very happy for the rookie.

Expect that new Elliott crop top merchandise to hit shelves very soon.

Fanatics.com reports Elliott is outselling Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who was drafted number two overall and top selection Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams, in jersey sales.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[JJ Wilcox Ready to Compete]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 15:12:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755796.jpg

With second-year defensive back Byron Jones moving to free safety full time and Barry Church staying put at strong safety, J.J. Wilcox could be competing for a roster spot in training camp this year.

Wilcox welcomes the challenge.

It's competition. It's the way the business goes. It's the way of the world,” Wilcox said, per Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas. “You have to go out and put your best foot down and maybe on film and every time the camera is on. So, like I said, there's competition all over the field, the strong safety spot, free safety spot. Still, you never know what might happen because of OTAs and camp. So, I'm going to do my best from the beginning from the start."

Rather than looking around at his competition/teammates, Wilcox is focused on himself going into organized team activities next week.

"I think I have to get better,” Wilcox said. “Like I said, I'm still learning the position. This is my fifth year playing it. I've been playing offense all of my life. So, I think I have a lot of upside. So, I just have to keep learning the game, study hard on the film, just be more consistent in open-field tackling and being the best safety that I can be."

Wilcox finished 2015 with 53 tackles, an interception and three passes broken up.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys O-Line Fine with High Expectations]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 14:54:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455388462.jpg

The men that make up the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line are well aware the expectations for them as a group are sky high, and they’re fine with that, because, they say, those expectations can’t possibly be higher than the expectations they have for themselves.

"For us, there's no pressure because everything that we do has to live up to our standard in our room,” center Travis Frederick told the team’s official website. “So, everything that we do is geared to making sure that we're the best individually that we possibly can be and then collectively as a group the best that we can be."

The major difference between last year and this year is that last year, the Cowboys were preparing to open OTAs with Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle shouldering the running back duties. Now Ezekiel Elliott is in town, and figures to give the Cowboys a shot at having the sort of dominant running game they had in 2014—the season that really earned the line the reputation they have now.

“Obviously he's a special talent,” said right guard Zack Martin. “We took him that high, so obviously we're excited he's here.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dez Bryant Doing Well, But Will Be Held Out of OTAs]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 14:27:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461027874.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys have been very pleased with what they’ve seen out of Dez Bryant this spring as he recovers from the fractured right foot that hampered him throughout the 2015 season, but according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, they will hold him out of organized team activities (OTAs) when they open up next week as a precautionary measure.

We'll just take Dez day by day,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “He's done a really nice job in his rehab. He's been working on his conditioning the last couple of weeks. He's moving around well. We're not going to rush him.

“Any injured player, someone coming off of a surgery, someone in our rehab program right now, we're going to be very deliberate with bringing them back. So, we'll take Dez's situation day by day just like you would any of the other guys and see how they progress over the course of the spring.”

Meanwhile, we can only imagine Bryant is chomping at the bit. Tight end Jason Witten told reporters this week that Bryant has set the tone at Valley Ranch this offseason in terms of energy, which maybe makes sense, as Bryant is coming off the most frustrating season of his career, during which he saw career lows in catches (31), receiving yards (401) and touchdowns (3). That’s a lot of motivation for a receiver that has never seemed short of motivation.

"Well, he brings great energy," Witten said. "I think it’s great, not only for him, but for all of us to have him there. He loves football. It's been a good offseason for him. You talk about getting motivated and excited. He just leaps out when you see him the way that he approaches every day this off-season. He looks good, and I know he's very excited to get back at it.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pay Cut Aside, Carr Happy to be Back in Dallas]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 14:06:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brandon-carr-2015-preseason.jpg

Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr had to take a pay cut to stay in Dallas this offseason, but he is glad to be back in Dallas.

"I feel great—I’m back with my teammates for another year," Carr told reporters at Dr. Pepper Park in Frisco for the annual Cowboys Home Run Derby sponsored by Reliant, per the Dallas Morning News. "Back in the community. Those are the things that matter most to me."

Entering the final year of his deal, Carr agreed to take a cut in base salary from $9.1 million to $4.5 million, but he can earn some money back on his next deal if he puts together a nice 2016.

"I wouldn't lie to you," Carr said, "it's definitely motivating."

Carr had a career-high 76 tackles last year, but he has now gone two full seasons since his last interception. That came on Thanksgiving Day, 2013.

Despite his struggles, Carr said Dallas is ultimately where he wanted to be.

"My kids absolutely love the community, love the city of Dallas," Carr said. "My teammates, those are my brothers. We spent four hard years, we've been through some things. ... I felt strongly I needed to stay here for my foundation."

<![CDATA[Woodson Believes Romo Could Have a Career Year in 2016]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 13:50:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-489361144.jpg

As we mentioned on Tuesday, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is very confident his friend and quarterback Tony Romo will bounce back in 2016 after having his clavicle fractured twice last season.

Longtime Cowboys safety turned ESPN NFL analyst Darren Woodson believes Witten’s confidence is well-placed.

In Woodson’s mind, given that Romo is healthy, the pieces are in place for the 36-year-old to have a career year. These pieces include Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys’ first round selection, and Dez Bryant—who missed seven games a year ago with foot and ankle issues, but is expected to be ready to go by camp.

That is not an overreaction,” Woodson said, per the Dallas Morning News. “The one thing about the Cowboys right now, they all know the chips are all in on this offense. They brought in Ezekiel Elliott, they want to run the ball consistently. Dez Bryant is going to have some one-on-one opportunities on the outside. I look to see Romo throw the ball down the field, make big plays for this offense. I think this may be his best... and he's biting at the bit, he's been wanting to get back on the field since what happened last year. I think this will be one of his best seasons.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ESPN Says Cowboys '93 Team the Best]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 10:08:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/smithaikman7.6.10.jpg

Like picking your favorite child, choosing the best Cowboys team of all-time isn’t easy. Or fair.

But the folks at ESPN’s NFL Nation took on the task recently and – I think – came up with the right answer. The ’93 team, by a smidge, is the best in franchise history.

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the ’71 team that won the Cowboys’ first-ever Super Bowl. And the ’77 squad featured Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Tony Dorsett, and a dominating defense led by Randy White and Harvey Martin that surrendered only two touchdowns and 23 points in three post-season games.

But, in the final analysis, the ’93 squad was deeper, and better.

That team began the defense of their ’92 Super Bowl without leading rusher Emmitt Smith. While he sat out in a contract dispute, the Cowboys started the season 0-2. After he arrived, however, Dallas rolled to 12-2 in the regular season – one of the two losses was Leon Lett’s epic gaffe on Thanksgiving in the ice – and then pummeled three playoff opponents by a combined 44 points.

You want depth and star power?

That team featured four Hall of Famers in Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Charles Haley, a Ring of Honor inductee in Darren Woodson and three Pro Bowl offensive linemen. And along the defensive line those Cowboys featured a rotation that would make the current team’s group obsolete.

In the mix were Tony Tolbert, Russell Maryland, Tony Casillas, Jim Jeffcoat, Chad Hennings, Haley and Lett. Any of those seven would be Dallas’ best defensive line on the 2016 team.

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[Cowboys Take Swings for A Good Cause]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 23:30:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/20160517_174827.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys traded in their pads for baseball bats for a good cause Tuesday in Frisco, with OTAs (organized team activities) and mini-camp right around the corner.

The Cowboys took part in a home run derby at Dr Pepper Ballpark for charity. From what I saw, safety J.J. Wilcox and cornerback Brandon Carr can rake. So can head coach Jason Garrett. The swings helped raise $50,000 for The Salvation Army.

Of course, with this being on a baseball field, you did hear plenty of chatter about the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays brawl on Sunday and second baseman Rougned Odor's punch. But there was also a little football talk mixed in.

The Cowboys are coming off a 4-12 season full of injuries and disappointments, so they are ready to get back out on the football field and go.

"The offseason has been good," said Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. "We're just excited to go to work. The season can't get here fast enough."

The Cowboys expect to have quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant healthy once the games count. They also have possibly the best offensive line in the NFL, a line that includes center Travis Frederick, guard Zack Martin and tackle Tyron Smith.

"For us, there's no pressure because everything that we do is to live up to our standard in our room," said Frederick. "So everything that we do is geared to making sure that we are the best individually that we possibly can be and collectively as a group being the best we can be."

"We pride ourselves in coming out here and working and getting better," added Martin. "I think the reason we have some success as a group is because we hold each other to a very high standard and that's going to continue."

On the defensive side of the ball, Carr doesn't feel like his work is finished with the Cowboys, so he took a pay cut to stay. Carr will likely become a free agent in 2017.

"I feel great," said Carr. "I'm back with my teammates for another year, back in the community. Those two things are what matter most to me. You kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel, but at the same time you got to stay focused on the main goal and that's with these guys. So I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm trying to get to that Super Bowl at the end of the year."

So it was all fun and smiles Tuesday night in Frisco. But soon it will be back to business for the Cowboys.

<![CDATA[Why Brandon Carr Stayed With The Cowboys]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 22:36:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys_Carr_Contract_1200x675_687677507524.jpg Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr took a paycut to stay in Dallas for one more year. He explained why during Tuesday's Cowboys Home Run Derby in Frisco.]]> <![CDATA[Witten Ready to Get Back To Work]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 22:10:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys_Witten_Offseason_1200x675_687662659872.jpg During Tuesday's Home Run Derby charity event in Frisco, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten talks about the offseason so far for the Cowboys.]]> <![CDATA[Witten on Romo: "I Know He'll Be Back Leading the Charge"]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 13:37:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TONY-ROMO-JASON-WITTEN.jpg

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is confident Tony Romo will bounce back from his injury-plagued 2015.

In fact Witten, who is not normally much on talking big, said recently that he “knows” his friend and quarterback will bounce back in 2016, after a 2015 that saw him limited to four games by a pair of collarbone fractures—one in Week 2, and one on Thanksgiving Day.

“I think anytime there’s an injury like that and you miss a long time, he’s as motivated as anybody I’ve been around in that situation,” Witten said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “He’s working hard and continuing to push himself to be a better player.

“I know he’s going to come back. I don’t just say it to believe it. I know he’ll be back leading the charge for us because he’s worked really hard to get himself in position to be back. He does it every year, that process. He stays true to it and with the competitor the way he is, I think we all are excited to see him.”

Romo turned 36 last month. Also last month, the Cowboys selected a quarterback (Dak Prescott) in the draft for the first time since 2009, when they selected Stephen McGee.

<![CDATA[Benson Mayowa: "I Haven't Really Scratched the Surface Yet"]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 13:24:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/benson-mayowa-raiders.jpg

You’d be hard-pressed to find a casual Dallas Cowboys fan who could identify newcomer defensive end Benson Mayowa at this point in the year, and Mayowa is fine with that—for now.

Mayowa isn’t planning on making a whole lot of noise until he gets on the field. Then, hopefully, he’ll make a lot of noise, to the point that even casual fans can’t help but know the name.

"I haven't really scratched the surface yet,” Mayowa said, per ESPN Dallas. “I'd rather be low key and then people will be like, 'Who is this guy? Where did he come from?' I'm not loud. I don't want to talk about anything. I'm not about to brag or boast about anything. But when I ball, then [it’s], 'Who is this guy?' That's what I like. Football will take care of itself."

Mayowa comes to Dallas with 31 tackles and two sacks on his career, as well the belief that his best football is in front of him.

"In two years I played 30 percent of the plays," he said. "That's nothing. That's two years, plus my rookie year, that's probably 700 plays for my career. I know I've got my best football ahead of me because there's opportunity. If you take opportunity, that's how you shine. And you run with it. That's what I'm trying to do."

<![CDATA[Jason Witten: "I Appreciate DeMarco's Kind Words"]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 13:08:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-489368584.jpg

Shortly after the Dallas Cowboys used their fourth overall pick to select Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott last month, former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray sent Elliott a text message. We’d imagine the message contained some variant of congratulations, but the heart of the message was: If you want to do things the right way, become Jason Witten’s shadow.

The Cowboys’ all-time single-season rushing leader played with Witten through all four of his seasons in Dallas, and he worked out with the veteran during the offseason as well. In that time, he developed tremendous admiration for Witten.

“Everything and everywhere he goes be there by his side watching and listening,” Murray told Elliott, per ESPN’s Ed Werder. “He will show him the way on and off the field.

Witten has finally responded to Murray’s comments and, not surprisingly, he was touched.

People talk about how precious the relationships of teammates are and the brotherhood and bond,” Witten said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “I appreciate DeMarco’s kind words not because he said it but the relationship we have. We had a short few years together and we maximized it. A lot of great shared sacrifices together. Ultimately he was able to have an offensive MVP year and I was just a small part of it. But for him to think I could influence it, I think that’s why you invest the way you do. That’s what teammates do.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Take "Mind-Boggling" Risk at Backup QB: SI Writer]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 10:10:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/502602352.jpg

Truth is, a year ago today we thought the Cowboys’ quarterback position was in good shape. Better, in fact, than it is now.

And we all know what happened in 2015.

Last May Tony Romo was coming off a healthy season in which he played in 15 games and led the Cowboys to a playoff win. He’d missed only two games in four years and, really, his health wasn’t a primary concern. Brandon Weeden was a veteran backup who had started and won games in the NFL.

We all know how it fell apart. Romo suffered a broken collar bone, twice. Weeden was bad and Matt Cassel was worse and Kellen Moore was called in for garbage time.

Now? Romo is coming off surgery and his backup is – gulp – Moore.

This is disconcerting for us and, apparently, a lot of folks around the country. Sports Illustrated NFL writer Greg Bedard, for example, writes the Cowboys are walking a tightrope with only Moore as Romo’s backup.

“It’s mind-boggling to me that the Cowboys are portraying the image that they think they're set at the quarterback position behind Romo. The quarterback, who turned 36 last month, isn't the most durable starter out there – he's recently undergone two back operations and broke his left collarbone twice last season.”

Hard to argue. Not that he’s injury-prone, but the chances of any NFL quarterback playing 16 games is remote these days. With Moore, backed up by rookie Dak Prescott at No. 3, owner Jerry Jones is clearly taking a gamble. But last year he felt safe, so who knows?

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[Witten Likes What He's Seen Out of Ezekiel Elliott]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 14:02:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ezekiel-elliott-thedayafter.jpg

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is well-aware that Ezekiel Elliott still has to prove himself in the NFL, but he likes what he’s seen out of his new teammate to this point.

The Cowboys drafted Elliott fourth overall in the draft last month, which got most of North Texas excited about the possibilities brought by the man they call Zeke. Before him, the last time the Cowboys selected a running back in the Top 20, it was Emmitt Smith in 1991. The time before that, it was Tony Dorsett in 1977.

It’s a little early to place Elliott among such company for long, but he figures to help return the Cowboys’ offense to something like what it was in 2014, when DeMarco Murray set the franchise rushing record and the team rode that run-heavy approach to the NFC East title and their first playoff win since 2009.

"I think he's a dynamic back that can bring those similar traits to your offense and how you want to approach and play offensive football," Witten said, per the Dallas Morning News. "Easier said than done, you have to go out there and do it, and that's what this time [of year is for], building our team and understanding the opportunity is now and we've got to maximize it.

"I think Zeke has shown he can be an elite player, and the bigger the stage and the moment he has got in his career, it looks like he played his best football."

<![CDATA[Report: Hardy's Agent's Efforts Not Enough for Some Teams]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 13:43:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/194*120/496338154.jpg

The last we heard from former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was detailing the counseling his client has been going through this offseason in a memo to all 32 teams in the NFL, in hopes of proving that the still team-less Hardy has turned some kind of corner.

Apparently, it hasn’t helped all that much.

ESPN’s Ed Werder reported over the weekend that while teams have been quick to praise Rosenhaus for his efforts, the “prevailing opinion” among NFL general managers is: “Greg Hardy? Nobody wants him.

On one hand, this isn’t much of a surprise. Hardy was already going to be viewed (at the very least) as having some major baggage after his stop in Dallas, and the interview he did with ESPN’s Adam Schefter after the season certainly didn’t help matters.

That said, it’s May, and teams are going to get a lot more desperate for pass rush help than they are at the moment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witten: After 2015, Cowboys More Motivated Than Ever]]> Mon, 16 May 2016 12:05:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-488176750.jpg

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten isn’t about to make any lofty predictions following a 4-12 season, especially a 4-12 season that began with some seriously lofty expectations.

When you come off 4-12, it’s tough to say anything you’re going to be,” Witten said, per the Cowboys’ official website. “It’s talk less and do more work, and that’s been approach. We’ve been off to a good start.”

For much of 2015, with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant injured, and DeMarco Murray in Philadelphia, Witten was the only star left from 2014 on the offensive side of the ball. He finished with 77 catches for 713 yards and three touchdowns, but those numbers came during a lost season.

Witten is really just looking forward to a fresh start, an opportunity to turn it all around following the ugliness of 2015, and he says his teammates share in that.  

“I’m excited about that,” Witten said. “I think we’re more motivated now than we’ve ever been and that gets you anxious about going into the season.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>