<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth Sports News, Analysis, and Scores for the Giants, Jets. Patriots, Huskies, Knicks and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:21:00 -0500 Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:21:00 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Matt Johnson Suffers (Another) Hamstring Injury]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:21:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/matt-johnson.jpg

Cowboys safety Matt Johnson just can’t catch a break.

Johnson injured his hamstring during an early portion of Sunday’s workout, and was checked out by trainers before leaving the field. It was a “here we go again” moment for Johnson, who is entering his third season in the NFL but still hasn’t played in a regular season game due to a string of health issues, most involving the hamstring.

You hate it for Matt,” said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, per ESPN Dallas. “He’s done everything right. ... I’m sure no one is more frustrated than him.”

The Cowboys selected Johnson out of Eastern Washington in the fourth round of the 2012 Draft, and were initially very high on him. But to this point, despite the team’s belief that he could be a difference maker if he could only stay on the field, Johnson has appeared in all of two preseason games.

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<![CDATA[Anthony Spencer Aiming for Season Opener]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:22:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/158439069.jpg

Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer is cautiously optimistic that he’ll be able to return in time for the team’s regular season opener against the 49ers on September 7.

I hope so. I hope to be back before the first game,” Spencer told the team’s official website. “I hope some time around there. It’s hard to say now. We’ve got time and not trying to rush things.”

Coming off microfracture surgery on his knee, Spencer was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to begin training camp. During the team’s practice sessions in Oxnard, Spencer remains off to the side, doing rehab work with the Cowboys’ training staff.

So far, Spencer has been encouraged by his rehab work.

“If I just keep working the way I’m working, I feel like we’ll be in a good place,” Spencer said. “Lifting heavier weights. I run little more. I just add a little more to my workout regime every day. It’s getting better.”

If Spencer isn't able to return, and he begins the season on the PUP list, he'll won't be eligible to come off of it for three to six weeks.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Get Glimpse of the New Mo Claiborne]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:23:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mo-claiborne-cant-relax.jpg

All offseason, Cowboys coaches said they were seeing a new Morris Claiborne, one who was playing with a visible sense of confidence, and it didn’t take long for that guy to show up at training camp in Oxnard.

On Saturday, the team had their first full-pads practices, and Claiborne summarily got into a scrape with second-year receiver Terrance Williams. According to ESPN Dallas’s Todd Archer’s account, Claiborne shoved Williams to the ground during one-on-one drills and yelled, “Get Dez over here.”

Maybe it was losing his starting job in 2013 or the effectively unanimous opinion among Cowboys fans that he has been a disappointment to this point in his young career, but sometime between Week 17 of last year and the beginning of workouts this offseason, it seems Claiborne had a fire lit under him.

I’ve got a different approach just from football, from life period,” Claiborne said, per ESPN Dallas. “A lot of things happened in my life that you had to face and had to make changes. For that, I feel like I’m a better person from it even though it might’ve hurt at the time. I feel like I’m a better man after it and it’s carried over to football.”

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<![CDATA[Outsider's View: Minnesota's Target Field]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:16:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/164*120/choo1.jpg

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to take a baseball trip with some buddies as we headed up to the Great Lakes region to catch a couple of Minnesota Twins games at Target Field, right smack dab in the middle of downtown Minneapolis.

That's where we'll start in our ballpark review, the setting of the field was fantastic. There's a lot to be said for the downtown ballpark as opposed to the one in a lifeless 'burb such as Arlington. Bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. are all in abundance within walking distance of the stadium and it also provides a stellar backdrop that you just don't get in places like Arlington, with all apologies to Six Flags and Jerry World, which you can't even see from your seats, anyway.

In reference to the above tweet, there were also some cons to the place. The music selection was awful, just horrendous. We're talking the likes of Cher, George Michael, that awful "Elvira" song, Mr. Roboto, awful "new country" (had no idea how much Minnesotans love their country music, but they do), and when they started playing Amy Grant, that was enough. Yes, they played Amy Grant, extensively, at a baseball game.

Thanks to the great Chuck Morgan (@TEXPAMAN) we have some of the best in-game music/entertainment around at Globe Life Park. Target Field was the opposite end of the spectrum — weird bits, lifeless PA folks and again, just god-awful music.

Another negative? The concessions. We went to two games (Friday night and Sunday afternoon) and looked extensively but failed in finding anything real special or anything that stood out. They had some really awesome donut holes and the self-serve beer bit that debuted during the All-Star Game, which was terribly overrated and pretty stupid, actually. Every concession stand you see offered the same few things — burgers, hot dogs, a few different sausages and the general popcorn/nachos selection. Their two "specialties" seemed to be a bowl of chili and a bowl of wild rice soup. Hmm, no thanks. There was pork chop on a stick, which was somewhat unique, and a pork belly sandwich I had on Sunday that was pretty good, but not spectacular.

In short, there was nothing close to a Beltre Buster or Boomstick or Choomongous. The Rangers definitely win in creativity with their concessions.

Now, some positives other than the downtown location: the sight lines were great. You could see the field from anywhere in the stadium with open concourses, meaning you can walk all through the concessions area and still see the game, to some extent. Everyone was very friendly in the entire area, and the weather in late July was phenomenal. Everything was also very clean, given that the stadium is just a few years old, which was also a bit of a drawback with the modern feel of things.

There's a bar in the 200 level that sells a drink called the "Big Ginger" that was quite tasty, and in that bar sits the stadium organist, who we talked to for a bit. She was a 16-year veteran on the job and plays every night, even with an arm in a cast like she had on Friday after breaking her arm. Pretty cool to see the organist right there amongst everyone.

To sum things up, the concessions and music (thanks, Chuck Morgan) make Globe Life Park a great place to watch a game. When you consider the pricey seats at Target Field, which seemed on average to be at least $10 more per comparable seat in Arlington, Globe Life seems to put out a much better product. That whole downtown thing adds a ton to Target Field's case, as do the sight lines.

Note to self, Rangers. Next time you build a stadium, if you insist on staying in Arlington, at least consider the open concourse thing, but please, stay away from the Amy Grant.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys in No Rush to Extend DeMarco Murray]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:15:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/demarco-murray-tc-2014.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys are in no great rush to extend running back DeMarco Murray, executive vice president Stephen Jones said this weekend.

Murray, 26, is coming off a career year. He exceeded the 1,000-yard mark for the first time, finished with nine touchdowns and was named to the Pro Bowl, where he scored the game-winning touchdown for Team Rice on a 20-yard reception from Kansas City’s Alex Smith.

Which is to say, Murray seems to be on the upswing. But, whether because he’s had a history of health issues or because the Cowboys have had a history of pulling the trigger too quickly on contract extensions, Jones said fans shouldn’t expect a new deal before the end of the upcoming season.

I think we’ll kind of see how his year goes and we’ll go from there,” Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He’s the type of player we want on our team. He’s young, and he had a good year last year, but I think he’s betting that he’s going to have a great year, and I hope he does.”

Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Murray is set to make $1.4 million in 2014.

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Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys See Dip in Training Camp Attendance]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:02:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-training-camp-banner-2014.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys may be seeing the ill effects of three consecutive 8-8 seasons and a four-year playoff drought in the size of the crowds present to watch them practice in Oxnard, CA.

Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas writes today that there was a combined attendance of 11,000 over their first four days of training camp. Last year, they had over 13,000 in that same span.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones isn’t worried about the dip in attendance though, and was quick to point out that the Cowboys had some competition over the weekend in the form of the Oxnard Salsa Festival.  

Those things will take care of themselves,” Jones said, per ESPN Dallas. “It’s my understanding there’s a festival in town this weekend and some of the people who would normally come here, some of them are over there. The crowds will take care of themselves.

“We’re worried about winning, putting a good team on the field; not about the crowds.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Feliz Gets Save, Personal Milestone]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:45:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/neftali-feliz3.15.12.jpg

Neftali Feliz was an electric, hard-throwing, intimidating big-league closer for the Texas Rangers in 2010 and 2011, earning AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2010 and setting a then-record for saves in a season by a rookie.

Since 2011, when he blew a save in Game 6 of the World Series in what could've been a shining moment and a World Series clincher, Feliz has fallen on hard times. He's been coverted to a starter, undergone Tommy John surgery, returned to the bullpen, lost his velocity and lost the closer's gig this spring to Joakim Soria while he spent the majority of the season in the minors.

Now, with Soria out of the picture, the Rangers have given the closer's job back to Feliz, and on Friday night in his first game as the team's closer, Feliz came through and earned his first save since 2011 in the Rangers' lone win over the A's in their weekend series in Arlington.

Feliz allowed two baserunners in the ninth, but kept the A's off the scoreboard to close out a 4-1 victory.

“He got it done,” Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters on Friday night. “I’m more than certain the more he gets the ball, the easier it will probably come.

“I’m not going to say ‘easy’ in the sense that he’s going to make it easy, but he might’ve had some nerves out there tonight, but he’s familiar with the role. We’ll just keep giving him the ball and see where it goes.”

This is a huge chance for Feliz, who's still only 26, to regain his status as an elite arm in the organization and in the game. If he can pitch well over these final couple of months, he'll enter the spring as the Rangers' closer and let the Rangers focus elsewhere in the winter with some other holes to fill on the roster.

<![CDATA[Smolinski Hits the DL Because Why Not?]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:20:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/451878896.jpg

Hey, what would a week be without a Texas Rangers player going on the disabled list? That's what I like to say.

Thankfully (not really), the Rangers were able to get someone else on the DL on Friday when they sent Jake Smolinski, of all people, to the disabled list after he fouled a ball off his foot last Monday. The X-rays on Smolinski's foot were negative, but the Rangers decided to take the cautious approach with the 25-year-old rookie who has been pretty spectacular in his brief swim through the big leagues.

In Smolinski's 11 games with the Rangers, he's hitting .389 with no homers and five RBIs and set a Rangers rookie record collecting eight hits in his first four major-league games. He's also shown a flair for the dramatic in the field with some fantastic catches.

Smolinski's DL stint became the 23rd time the Rangers have used the DL, which is far and away the highest total in the league. The move was made retroactive to July 22, which makes him eligible to return on Aug. 6 on the road against the Chicago White Sox.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tepesch Says He's Ready to Go]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:57:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/203*120/452046722.jpg

The Texas Rangers got yet another injury scare on Saturday night when starting pitcher Nick Tepesch had to leave the game with knee discomfort in the seventh inning of a game he was ptiching well in.

Tepesch, of course, questionably made a relief appearance in the Rangers' 14-inning loss to the Yankees last week, and then was pushed back a day in the rotation to give him an extra day of rest. He pitched well on Saturday before having to leave the game just three pitches in to the seventh inning.

Tepesch got treatment on his left knee after the game and reported positive results, saying he'd be ready for his next start, whenever that might.

The Rangers will have options in Friday's series opener in Cleveland because of an off-day on Thursday and could let Tepesch start then or Saturday, depending on how they decide to lay out their rotation.

You have to think the Rangers will err on the side of caution with Tepesch, a young starter who they seem to believe could be a formidable piece of the back-end of the rotation for years to come. So far this season, Tepesch is 3-7 with a 4.84 ERA in 12 starts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Holland Set for Rehab Start]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:31:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/derek-holland-pitch.jpg

It's been a long offseason for Texas Rangers starter Derek Holland — far too long, actually.

Holland tripped over his dog and fell down some stairs at his house back in January, forcing the Rangers lefty to undergo microfracture surgery before spring training even began and really got the ball rolling on this historically bad injury-plagued season for the Rangers.

He set a personal goal as a return date on June 1, which came and went. The team said all along he'd be back shortly after the all-star break, which has also come and gone. However, the Rangers and Holland have to feel good knowing now that he will take the mound in a professional game for the first time since last season when he starts a game in Frisco on Wednesday night, his first of a rehab assignment which should last anywhere from 4-5 starts.

"I'm excited and I've been waiting to get out there and play," Holland told reporters over the weekend. "That's been my big thing, just getting out there and being able to play and help the team. Being on the [disabled list] makes you realize a lot of things aren't going your way and it makes me feel like I'm not a part of the team. I know the struggles and everything they've been having and I haven't really been a part of it, and that's why I want to get out there as much as I can."

Holland eclipsed 200 innings in 2013 with a 3.42 ERA and was projected as the Rangers' No. 2 starter behind ace Yu Darvish. Now, with the Rangers' season being a wash, the team is just hoping to see Holland bounce back and perform well in what could be no more than five or six starts this season so they know what they have going into 2015.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[On Deck: Yankees]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:21:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/yankees-at-rangers.jpg

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2014 season. 

The Opponent: The Yankees are coming to town in third place in the AL East after dropping two straight to the Toronto Blue Jays, who passed up the pinstripes over the weekend.

Past 2014 Meetings: The Rangers dropped three of four in The Bronx last week, including a loss in 4 1/2 innings of a washout game, which happened to be a Yu Darvish start.

Pitching Matchups: Monday — Yu Darvish (9-6, 2.92 ERA) vs. David Phelps (5-4, 3.77); Tuesday — Nick Martinez (1-6, 4.73) vs. Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.45); Wednesday — Colby Lewis (6-8, 6.23) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (7-6, 3.99).

What's Hot: Shin-Soo Choo is making his first appearance in this section in a good while, as in his last seven games, Choo is batting .321 with a double and an RBI. Rougned Odor is second on the team over the past week among regulars, as the 20-year-old rookie is batting .316 with a double and an RBI. Nick Martinez made his first start in a month his last time out against these same Yankees, and went 5 1/3 scoreless innings while allowing just three hits.

Catcher Francisco Cervilli is batting .391 over his last seven games with four doubles and a home run and newly acquired Chase Headley, who scored the game-winner in last week's 14-inning win over Texas, is hitting .348 over that same stretch.

What's Not: Robinson Chirinos is in his worst stretch at the plate of the season, as he's 1-for-15 over his last five games. Leonys Martin is batting .160 over his last seven games with a triple, and J.P. Arencibia is batting .148 over ihs last seven games, but two of his four hits are homers and he leads the team with two homers in the last week.

Ichiro is hitting .118 over his last seven games, and big free agent signing Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .192 in his last seven games. Kuroda is coming off a rough outing in which gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings when he allowed eight hits.

Familiar Faces: McCarthy, who beat Texas last week, was a Rangers pitcher briefly in the late 2000s when he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox for Rangers prospect John Danks, who is now a mainstay in the White Sox's rotation.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Mavs Grab Backup Guard in Jameer Nelson]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 11:03:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/nelson-640.jpg

Last week Jameer Nelson was on my list of potential free agents for the Mavs.

This week he’s their backup point guard.

In need of a guard help in the wake of Jose Calderon’s departure and thin on confidence in newly acquired Raymond Felton, the Mavs gave Nelson their salary-cap exception of $2.7 million to be the main backup for Devin Harris.

Nelson, 32, comes to Dallas after a 10-year career in Orlando that ended with him near the top of the Magic’s all-time records in games played, points scored, etc. His career averages are 12 points and six assists per game and despite his age he’s an upgrade defensively over Calderon.

The Mavs may have liked the roster that won 49 games and pushed the Spurs to seven games in the playoffs, but they’ve overhauled it this summer nonetheless. Gone are Calderon and Shawn Marion, and new to the team are Nelson, Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons.

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 currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Romo Heaps Praise on No. 88s, Past and Present ]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:32:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/romo-whitten-jj-wilcox.jpg

You know Cowboys’ training camp is in full swing when:

A) Matt Johnson has suffered a hamstring injury.

B) Tony Romo sits down with NFL Network.

While the oft-injured safety is sidelined yet again with a leg injury, the quarterback took time after Sunday’s practice to talk with the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Michael Irvin.

The noteworthy nuggets:

*Romo has become Dez Bryant’s No. 1 fan, saying “If I was getting married this year, he’d be in my wedding. He’s like a little brother to me.” He also attempted to explain what it was like during one of Bryant’s infamous sideline rants. “Well a camera can say a lot. It doesn’t always tell the truth, but makes for fun dialogue between a lot of different people. But I think when you’re actually around Dez, you know where his heart is.”

*Romo also heaped praise on the Cowboys’ former No. 88, calling Irvin “the greatest leader in the history of the franchise.”

*And of his surgically repaired back, Romo admitted to taking things slow in camp while oozing confidence that he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season. “I feel good. I think what you end up doing is using your back or using your body for the right time. So if I went out of two-a-days and then you ran all day, you did everything like that, well it would get heavy. It’s like coming off of any surgery. You want to make sure that you’re working it, but you’re doing all the things in the weight room, in the training room to get yourself feeling good, and then when you have the chance to come out here, you test it and you know how many reps you can do before you kind of know that your days is over. And before you get back to where you’re 100 percent, you kind of have to watch the numbers as you go through the process, so that’s all we’re doing right 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 currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Between Feliz's Saves, Rangers Have Fallen]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:29:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2011-ws-game-5-26.jpg

Neftali Feliz got the ball in the 9th inning and, after a little bite-your-fingernails nervousness, wiggled out of a jam and closed the door for a win.

Then: His save on Oct. 24, 2011 won Game 5 of the World Series.

Now: His save Friday night improved Texas’ record to 41-62.

What has happened to the Rangers since Feliz’ last previous save in ’11 has been fit for a Stephen King novel. They infamously blew Game 6 despite twice being within one strike of the championship. Then went on to lose Game 7, lose the Wild Card playoff game the next season, miss the post-season the next and now are one of baseball’s worst teams. In that time they’ve lost C.J. Wilson, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, David Murphy, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and even Nolan Ryan.

Yeah, it’s been that hideous. From almost first, to almost worst, in three short years that somehow make 2011 feel like 30 seasons ago.

It was good to see Feliz as the closer, even if it came as a default move in the wake of the trading away of Joakim Soria. But as I watched Friday night it was a sad scene. Feliz struggling to close out the A’s. Fans standing and cheering. At … what?

A franchise on the brink of greatness is now reduced to being ecstatic at sneaking one of three games at home against Oakland. And Feliz – who produced one of the franchise’s all-time best moments by striking out A-Rod to clinch a spot in the 2010 World Series – has slid from an elite pitcher with nasty, 100-mph stuff to an average, surgically-repaired arm that lives in the low 90s and has a resume as a failed starter.

The Rangers’ season is kaput. Their next exciting event will be pitchers and catchers reporting in February 2015.

At this low point, even the reminders they provide are bittersweet. 

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 currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Over 25,000 Compete in SF Marathon]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:05:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/181*120/marathon_preps_sf2.jpg

Thousands of people from all over the country winded their way through the streets of San Francisco bright and early Sunday to compete in the city's annual marathon.

The first race started at 5:30 a.m., and the route kicked off and finished along the Embarcadero, with stops through the Marina, Golden Gate Bridge, the Park and the Presidio--tracing the northern part of the city.

There were temporary closures and transit changes, as more than 25,000 people laced up for the race.

"It does frustrate me a little bit because it does get very crowded--it's already crowded sometimes for the ballgames," runner Rachel Amaya said. "But it does get crowded."

"I did not know there was a lot of stuff going on, but I’m used it being from LA," runner Chad Eichten said. "And there is always stuff going on, so you just figure out ways around it."

The marathon's conclusion was around 1 p.m.

A Berkeley woman won the San Francisco Marathon for the second year in a row, and a man from Reno, Nevada earned his first win.

Anna Bretan finished the 26.2-mile course in two hours, 47 minutes and 50 seconds, according to race officials.

That is just slightly longer than the two hours, 42 minutes and 25 seconds it took the mother of three to win the race in 2013.

Bretan also, notably, was the women's winner of the 2012 Oakland Marathon.

On the men's side, race officials report August Brautigam beat his competitors by crossing the finish line in two hours, 32 minutes and 16 seconds.

But just a few hours later, more sports fans will head to the city, as the San Francisco Giants try and avoid the sweep against their division rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cal-train is adding extra capacity for riders coming to the city for the game--or for people attending a late afternoon soccer match with the San Jose Earthquakes at Candlestick Park.

<![CDATA[Newy Goes One On One With Jerry Jones]]> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:02:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/072714+Scruggs+Jones.jpg NBC 5 Sports Director Newy Scruggs goes one on one with Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones in Oxnard, California.]]> <![CDATA[Six Observations from Cowboys Camp]]> Sun, 27 Jul 2014 21:23:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lance-dunbar-promoted.jpg

A lot's happened in a short amount of time at Dallas Cowboys training camp.  Here's a quick list of things I think you'll want to know that I've seen:

1. Lance Dunbar is poised for a huge year... if he stays healthy.  The running back out of North Texas showed flashes last season before a knee surgery shortened his 2013 campaign.  Dunbar told me he was nervous going into the procedure -- "that was the first time I'd ever had surgery!" -- but is really excited to have new Cowboys play caller Scott Linehan around.  Linehan was very good getting the ball to running backs in the passing game in Detroit last season (Reggie Bush, for example).  Dunbar was described to me by Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown as an unbelievably gifted RB in the passing game -- "He runs routes so well; it's a natural gift.  He just sees things and angles really well."  Linehan told me he really likes what Dunbar can add to the passing game, though he was quick to point out DeMarco Murray is still the main guy.  I've been told the two things Dunbar needs to show are that he can stay healthy, and that he needs to be better in pass-blocking (a trait that has become crucial for running backs in today's NFL).
2. Zack Martin looks the part. The rookie first round pick was called "safe" when the Cowboys took him with the 16th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.  Don't tell that to opposing defensive tackles.  In his first action against professional big boys, Martin looked dominant.  Whether that's a sign of a long, successful career for Martin, or a disappointing group of Dallas defensive linemen, we don't know yet.  What I do know: the rookie out of Notre Dame beat the competition in front of him Saturday.
3. Speaking of Cowboys defensive linemen, new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is going to use a lot of them this season.  The Cowboys could carry an unusually high number of D-linemen on their roster this season -- the number being thrown around here in Oxnard is ten -- and Marinelli wants to use all of them so players stay fresh.  Though, in camp, he told me, "I like to get guys tired and then make them execute under duress, because our game is played under duress."  Marinelli did very well coaching the Cowboys defensive line in 2013 considering the team was signing players out of the league.  He has a shiny, new toy in rookie defensive end Demarcus Lawrence out of Boise State who the Cowboys love, and who told me his goal was to record 10 sacks in 2014.
4. Mo Claiborne is out to (finally) prove he was worth it.  The Cowboys have been waiting for Claiborne to get it.  Championing the 2012 first round pick out of LSU as the highest-rated DB prospect they'd seen since Deion Sanders, Claiborne had a tough time finding a consistent role on a 2013 Cowboys defense that ranked last in the NFL.  Fast forward to Saturday where Claiborne looked like he wanted to send a message.  He was in the face of wide receiver Terrance Williams multiple times, and played with a swagger we haven't seen in his time in Dallas. That was Day 1 in pads.  Can he continue it (and stay healthy) throughout a full season?
 He'll have to if he really wants prove he was worth what the Cowboys spent to get him.
5. Second year wide receiver Terrance Williams is putting in extra time, and doing the little things that could make a big difference.  As I approached him after practice, Williams was catching footballs being fired at him at about 80-mph by a JUGS machine in the corner of the field... while he was sitting on the ground.  "You never get to run clean in the game, so I want to be good catching balls in every position."  In the fantastic book, Good to Great, author Jim Collins points to people willing to "rinse their cottage cheese" as the ones who will be truly great (a reference to a triathlete they studied who thought, to be the best, it was important and necessary to remove excess fat from his diet, despite burning thousands of calories a day working out).  Dez Bryant has been raving about the progress he's seen from Williams, especially in his route running, while Jason Garrett described Williams as a player that picks things up extremely quickly -- "You tell him to work on something and he does it."
6. Is Rolando McClain really a changed person?  Who knows.  One thing I do know, McClain looks like he was built to be a football person.  At a legitimate 6-foot-4, McClain was once described by Nick Saban in a conversation with Garrett as the "best player I've ever coached."  The issue with McClain hasn't been football (he was the Raiders leading tackler in 2011).  In an Alabama court Friday, McClain was convicted of 2013 charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.  The 8th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, he's also already retired from football once.  But Saturday, McClain said he was fully committed to play football again, especially after his oldest son told him he wanted him to play again.  Garrett said McClain's slate "is completely clean" with the Cowboys, and they'll make evaluations of his abilities going forward.  The guy looks the part and the Cowboys gave up almost nothing to get him.  With Dallas needing help at the middle linebacker position "more than the next break," according to Jerry Jones, I don't see the downside for the Cowboys in this experiment.
<![CDATA[Oakland Over Powers Rangers]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 23:20:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/178*120/451879066_8.jpg

Sonny Gray won his sixth straight decision, helped when the Oakland Athletics hit four home runs in a six-batter span to beat the Texas Rangers 5-1 Saturday night.

The A's trailed 1-0 when John Jaso hit a two-run drive with two outs in the sixth inning. Yoenis Cespedes followed with his 17th home run.
Josh Donaldson led off the seventh with another home run and Josh Reddick connected two batters later.
Gray (12-3) allowed seven hits over 6 2-3 innings. He didn't give up more than one earned run in any of his five July starts.
Jaso and Cespedes homered off Nick Tepesch (3-7).
Tepesch, who threw 99 pitches in a start last Sunday and then made a relief appearance two days later in a 14-inning loss, exited with a 2-1 count to Donaldson because of soreness in his left knee.
Tepesch had this start pushed back a day.
Donaldson and Reddick homered off Nate Adcock, who made his season debut.
The four homers were the most for the A's since they hit five against Detroit on May 26.
Oakland's late power display prevented the Rangers, who own the worst record in the majors, from recording consecutive wins for the first time since June 27-28.
Gray hasn't lost since June 13. In four starts this season against Texas, Gray has a 1.84 ERA.
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when J.P. Arencibia singled home Jim Adduci, a 29-year-old rookie who moved into scoring position with his first major league stolen base.
Adcock, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday, became the team-record 32nd pitcher used this season by Texas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' McClain Back to Football After Court Date]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 22:19:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/072614+Cowboys+McClain.jpg

Rolando McClain says a phone call from Jerry Jones was the last bit of convincing the linebacker needed to come out of retirement.

The former top 10 pick wasn't so much moved by what the flamboyant Dallas owner had to say. It was more where Jones was when he said it.
"He called me from Turkey and I figured that had to be an expensive phone call," McClain said as he tried to keep a straight face. "So, it was pretty serious with me from that point."
McClain just turned 25, but he's already flamed out in Oakland just three years after the Raiders drafted him eighth overall and quit twice in Baltimore.
The Cowboys, who lost middle linebacker Sean Lee for the season to a left knee injury in the first offseason workout, got McClain in a trade with the Ravens earlier this month.
He flew to California with the team for training camp, but had to turn right back around and go to Alabama for a trial on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The case stemmed from his third arrest since 2011 in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama.
McClain was on the practice field Saturday, a day after he was convicted and sentenced to 18 days in jail. He's free while the case is appealed to state court.
"Yesterday I was sitting in a courtroom not knowing what was going to happen," said McClain, who started 38 of his 41 games with Oakland over three seasons. "Today I'm here with the Dallas Cowboys with an opportunity to make a football team and fight for a position. You can't argue with that."
McClain was out of football last season because he said he needed to focus on being a better father to his young sons. He thought he was ready to return to the Ravens in April, but walked away again six days after he was reinstated.
Jones said the loss of Lee motivated him for a low-risk that cost the Cowboys a sixth-round pick but gave them one in the seventh. Being a businessman, Jones thinks he knows what might motivate McClain.
"You might have a different appreciation if you're out of dollars," Jones said. "I'm not saying he's out of dollars, but he certainly is less some dollars than where he was a few years back."
McClain will have to make the roster to earn most of those dollars. He will most likely be part of the competition to replace Lee. Justin Durant tops that list right now, and second-year player DeVonte Holloman and rookie Anthony Hitchens could be in the mix.
"His slate is completely clean with us," coach Jason Garrett said. "He has got some good endorsements, so we're hopeful that we'll see a player that we like and a guy that can help our football team."
Cowboys fans might remember McClain as the player who lacerated tight end Jason Witten's spleen with a hit in a preseason game two years ago.
Witten still takes issue with how McClain celebrated after the play, but has long since forgiven him for what everyone agreed was a clean hit. McClain said he apologized to Witten a few days ago.
Now McClain gets a chance to show whether he still has any highlight plays in him -- and whether he has the desire to stay out of retirement this time.
"I have a known a lot of people, a lot of successful people, that quit and then got it together and turned it around and came back and really made something of what they quit actually," Jones said. "I have a little empathy."
And the Dallas owner has the long-distance phone call to show for it.

Photo Credit: Noah Bullard, NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Reinsdorf Hospitalized in New York]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 03:49:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Reinsdorf+Smart.jpg

Chicago Bulls and White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was hospitalized Friday night after an "episode of light-headedness," the Chicago White Sox said in a statement.

Reinsdorf's "episode" required medical attention during his stay in Cooperstown, New York. He was taken to Bassett Medical Center where he will stay overnight "as a precautionary measure."

"All tests tonight indicate that he is fine," the team said in a statement. "He is coherent, is resting comfortably and is communicating with his doctors and medical staff."

He is expected to be released Saturday morning.

Reinsdorf is in New York to attend this weekend's Hall of Fame induction of former White Sox star Frank Thomas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 5 Sports at Cowboys Camp - July 25]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:24:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/BSB-CowboysWebcast-072514_1200x675_312592963937.jpg NBC 5 Sports' Newy Scruggs and Pat Doney report on the latest news from Cowboys camp in Oxnard, California.]]> <![CDATA[Rangers Beat AL West-Leading A's 4-1]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:23:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rangers072514.jpg

Jerome Williams pitched six solid innings while becoming the team-record 31st pitcher used this season by the Texas Rangers, and they beat AL West-leading Oakland 4-1 on Friday night.

Elvis Andrus had a triple among his two hits and scored twice for the Rangers, who had lost their seven previous home games in July and were coming off a 2-5 road trip out of the All-Star break.

Neftali Feliz, back in the closer role after Joakim Soria was traded to Detroit earlier this week, worked a scoreless ninth while giving up a hit and a walk for his first regular-season save since 2011. His last opportunity, before moving to the rotation and then getting hurt, was a blown save in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series against St. Louis.

The Athletics still have the best record in the majors at 63-39, and they have a 22 1-2-game division lead over last-place Texas, which has won only six of its last 33 games.

Williams (2-4) allowed one run while striking out four without a walk. The 32-year-old right-hander was released by Houston earlier this month and signed to a minor league deal with the Rangers two weeks ago.

Texas purchased Williams' contract from Triple-A Round Rock as planned Friday to start in place of Nick Tepesch, who pitched in relief in the Rangers' 14-inning loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night. Tepesch is scheduled to start Saturday night.

The Rangers have used a majors-high 52 players, three short of the club record. But 31 pitchers broke the previous mark, and they still have reliever Nate Adcock waiting for his season debut after coming up from Round Rock on Thursday.

Texas led for good on J.P. Arencibia's RBI single after Jim Adduci had a leadoff double in the second off Jason Hammel (0-3). Andrus had a two-out triple in the third and scored on a single by Alex Rios.

Hammel came to Oakland from the Chicago Cubs with Jeff Samardzjia in the July 5 trade. Hammel allowed four runs (three earned) in 5 2-3 innings.

Yoenis Cespedes was back in Oakland's lineup after missing Thursday with a sprained right thumb. He had an RBI single in the sixth, but had some adventures in only his second start in center field this season.

Adduci's double was hit to straightaway center over Cespedes. Andrus tripled on a ball that twice got past Cespedes, when he couldn't cut it off in the right-center gap and when it ricocheted off the wall.

Cespedes had an error in the sixth on a wide throw home after Adrian Beltre's RBI single. Rios and Beltre got an extra base, and Adduci followed with a sacrifice fly.

NOTES: Oakland manager Bob Melvin successfully challenged to have two safe calls at first base overturned on replay. Arencibia was initially ruled safe on a pickoff throw by Hammel in the fourth. Andrus was called safe on what would have been an infield single, but wound up the inning-ending out in the seventh. ... Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and longtime broadcaster Eric Nadel have hall passes to miss this weekend's series. Nadel, in his 20th season as the lead voice on Rangers radio broadcasts, will receive the 38th Ford C. Frick Award at the annual Hall of Fame awards ceremony Saturday in Cooperstown. Maddux is there for the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction Sunday of his brother Greg, a special assistant for the Rangers. ... OF Jake Smolinski (bone bruise left foot) was put on the 15-day DL to make room for Williams on the 25-man roster. LHP Justin Marks was released to clear a 40-man spot.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Is Rolando McClain the "Right Kind of Guy?"]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 23:06:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/garrett-jones-camp-day0-02.jpg

Jason Garrett is fond of saying he wants the "right kind of guys" on the Dallas Cowboys.

Now, one of "his" guys has been sentenced to 18 days in jail. That guy is linebacker Rolando McClain.

A judge in Alabama found McClain guilty of misdemeanor charges from last year. He was arrested for yelling, "F--- the police" in a large crowd and was convicted of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

McClain's jail term will be delayed and he is back in Oxnard, Calif., for Cowboys training camp.

I spoke with Birmingham Herald columnist Kevin Scarbinsky on my NBC Sports Radio show and said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is wasting his time with the former Alabama star.

"There are people in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama, that will tell you he doesn't get it and some people in the state of Alabama who will tell you he is a bad man," Scarbinsky said.

McClain retired from the NFL because of his numerous off-the-field issues, and his performance in NFL stadiums as a Raider made him a bust as a first-round draft pick.

Dallas made a trade for him with Baltimore once he decided he was going to unretire from pro football and resume his playing career.

Jones is sold on giving McClain a second chance, telling the media in Oxnard on Wednesday, "I've known a lot of successful people who quit" and "somebody thought he could play" because he was and All-American player at Alabama and Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban spoke glowingly to Garrett about his abilities.

McClain was back at training camp Friday and has an opportunity to win a job and, who knows, maybe he can turn into one "the right kind of guys" the Dallas head coach speaks about.

Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[UT vs. OU: Unfortunate Typos ]]> Sat, 26 Jul 2014 07:49:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/UT-v-OU.jpg

Typos happen all the time, but a one-word error is generating a wave of jokes against the University of Texas at Austin.

The university's annual media guide had one very embarrassing mistake. The guide was released Thursday with a URL that misspelled "TexasSports.com" as "TexsaSports.com" in the footer of every single page.

UT's media team was quick to fix the error, but it was too late. Once it was on the Internet, users grabbed and shared screenshots, leading one Oklahoma fan to register the domain name texsasports.com and adorn the page with a message mocking the Longhorns' mistake.

However, the message, "OU IS BETTER THAN TEXAS. LEARN TO SPELL PLEASE, HRONS," was faced with a rebuttal from Texas fans who found a mistake in the 2012 OU media guide.

The Sooners misspelled "Academic" on the title of a page. The title instead read, "Acadmeic Success."


<![CDATA[Romo Doing Less During Friday Workout]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:15:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/romo-training-camp-2014-03.jpg

A day after Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo emphasized that he believes his best years are still ahead of him, head coach Jason Garrett told the media that the team will have Romo "do less" in Friday's afternoon practice than his normal work load.

Garrett was asked if limiting Romo had to do with any soreness or problems with the quarterback's ailing back arising from the first day of practices, and the coach would only say the team plans to "be mindful" of two-a-day practices on back-to-back days for Romo.

"When you’re coming off a back issue like Tony has, sometimes being on your feet like that can be taxing," said Garrett.

Romo is coming off his second back surgery in the last two years, and had to miss the Cowboys final game of the 2013 season.

When the Cowboys arrived in Oxnard earlier in the week, Garrett had described Romo as, "full go," for practice in training camp.  And while Romo said Thursday he feels much better at this point of the season than he did in Oxnard last year, he also revealed that he is undergoing as much as four hours of rehabilitation work a day on his back to make sure he's ready to go for the 2014 season.

The Cowboys will be back on the practice field in Oxnard Friday at 5:30 p.m. central time.

Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Spencer's Delayed Return Will Thwart Defensive Progress]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:56:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/anthony-spencer-jerry-jones.jpg

The Cowboys’ defense was historically atrocious in 2013. And it may take a while before it’s better in 2014.

Gone from the squad are accomplished veterans DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Sean Lee. And late to the party will be Anthony Spencer, who will likely begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list and not be eligible to play in a game until Week 7.

Spencer, by far the best pass-rusher on the Cowboys’ roster, underwent microfracture knee surgery a year ago in training camp and played in only one game last season. In Oxnard he is running and pulling a sled in a straight line, but has yet to start cutting in an attempt to test the knee.

To say the Cowboys’ defense desperately needs him is an understatement. In 2012 he produced 11 sacks and made the Pro Bowl. No one else on the defensive line has that kind of history or, honestly, that kind of potential.

We know how bad the defense can be. We may have to wait until Spencer’s return in October to find out just how good they can be.

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 currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

<![CDATA[Cowboys Expect McClain Back This Weekend]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:15:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rolando-mcclain-cowboys.jpg

Recently signed Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain was absent from the first day of training camp workouts in Oxnard, CA, but head coach Jason Garrett said Thursday that the team expected him back on Saturday.

According to the team’s official website, Garrett had originally thought McClain would attend the first day of practice on Thursday. But McClain had to depart Wednesday night to prepare for his court date in Decatur, Alabama on Friday for an incident dating back to last year, when he was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

A year ago, McClain was retired.

But when Sean Lee went down for the season with a torn ACL on the first day of OTAs, the Cowboys went looking for linebacking help and McClain--who had signed with the Ravens prior to the 2013 season, only to abruptly retire--was ready to return.

Garrett said that, for the Cowboys, it was “worth taking a shot to resurrect his career.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

<![CDATA[Witten Hopes Cowboys Have Learned From the Past]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:15:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2013-cowboys-eagles--%28564a%29.jpg

As you’ve probably heard, the Dallas Cowboys have finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs by a single win in each of the last three seasons.

Veteran tight end Jason Witten is one of the relatively few Cowboys left on the roster who was there the last time the team won a playoff game, over the Eagles at AT&T Stadium (then known as Cowboys Stadium) back in 2009, but that doesn’t offer him much consolation for the recent middling.

Witten just hopes those who were there have learned from all those (admittedly painful) near misses.

“There’s no question there’s a lot of sleepless nights there, but really, nobody cares,” Witten said, per ESPN Dallas. “Ultimately, you find ways to get to those games, you’ve got to find ways to play better. We got outplayed. Nobody is going to give you anything. You’ve got to earn it. This is a tough league. Nobody cares about last year. You move on, so we’ve got to be better.

“I think each of us has to look ourselves in the mirror. If you want to have that breakthrough, I think it takes a commitment. Hopefully those experiences, we’ll learn from it and be better because of it. I think we’ve got the right guys who will go do it, but it’s a long ways away. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Demarcus Lawrence Wants 10-Plus Sacks]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:15:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/152439367.jpg

Cowboys rookie defensive end Demarcus Lawrence made clear shortly after arriving in Dallas that he was not trying to be DeMarcus Ware 2.0.

But if he lives up to his own expectations, Lawrence will have a better rookie year than Ware in one (pretty important) statistical category: Sacks. Ware, a legend in North Texas at this point, had eight sacks in his rookie year of 2005; Lawrence is going after double digits.

“My expectation is to go out and get 10 sacks, 10-plus sacks--whatever coach needs me to do,” Lawrence said, per the team’s official website. “I really don’t think coach really cares about the numbers, he just cares about us doing our assignment and job, really.”

The expectations from the outside will be high for the Boise State product. He was drafted in the second round of this year’s draft and the Cowboys are hoping he helps turn around a defensive front that was a largely ineffective, patchwork job a year ago.

Not that he’s thinking about any external expectations.

“My mentality is, I have my own expectations, I know what I need to do to be successful and help this team be where we need to be,” Lawrence said. “It don’t matter what everybody else’s expectations is, it’s about the team.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brandon Carr Misses First Day of Camp with Personal Issue]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:15:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brandon-carr-chargers.jpg

Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr missed the first day of training camp practice on Thursday as he attended to what head coach Jason Garrett called a “family health situation,” according to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas.

Carr didn’t travel with the team to Oxnard, CA on Tuesday, and Jason Garrett isn’t sure when he’ll return.

We’re just going to communicate with him as he’s dealing with the situation,” Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “We’re going to give him some time to take care of it.”

Carr is entering the third year of a five-year, $50 million deal, and to this point, he hasn’t really lived up to expectations. He recorded 71 tackles and three interceptions in 2013, but had some decidedly rough performances, the worst coming in Week 7 against the Lions when Calvin Johnson (working mostly against Carr) posted 329 yards and a touchdown on 17 catches.

All that said, Carr is confident that he’ll bounce back in a major way in 2014.

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.



<![CDATA[Hoops with Grand Prairie Cops at YMCA ]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:59:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*120/High+School+Basketball+Hoop+Generic.jpg

The police chief in Grand Prairie is hoping some one-on-one time with kids, will keep them out of trouble--or two-on-two and three-on-three.

Midnight Basketball is in its second year at the YMCA off of Carrier Parkway and Queens Way.

It is a free program where the youth get to spend time bonding with police officers over a common hobby.

About 80 teens showed up for the event Thursday evening, about double the amount from last year.

"They get to be here after the Y closes, for a little bit, so they think that's kind of neat. But it also gives them a positive outlet at least one night a week to be doing things in the late night hours that are somewhat positive and constructive," said David Foster at YMCA Grand Prairie.

The teens are referred by the Grand Prairie school district or the police department.

The Y says many of them come from families without a strong male role model, so having police officers and other city leaders to look up to was a huge benefit to them.

<![CDATA[On Deck: Athletics]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:14:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/athletics-at-rangers-2014.jpg

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2014 season. 

The Opponent: The A's are still owners of baseball's best record much to the chagrin of fans of the downtrodden Rangers and return to Arlington where they swept Texas in their last trip back in April.

Past 2014 Meetings: The A's hold a 5-4 series lead this season, but they've won five of the last six meetings after the Rangers took the first three of the season.

Pitching Matchups: Friday — Jerome Williams (1-4, 6.04 ERA, first Rangers appearance) vs. Jason Hammel (0-2, 9.00); Saturday — Nick Tepesch (3-6, 4.87) vs. Sonny Gray (11-3, 2.72); Sunday — Miles Mikolas (1-2, 7.58) vs. Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.32).

What's Hot: Rougned Odor is 7-for-20 over his last six games and made a highlight-reel play in the field in Thursday's loss to field a ball at first base thrown from Colby Lewis on a bunt attempt. Leonys Martin is batting .333 over his last six games and has spectacular catches of his own in the past two games in The Bronx. Roman Mendez had another scoreless inning to keep his 0.00 ERA intact in what has been a great start to the young reliever's big-league career.

Yoenis Cespedes has heated up over the past week, hitting .381 with two homers and five RBIs, while Josh Donaldson is batting .316 with six RBIs in that same span. Gray and Kazmir are each coming off outings in which they allowed just one earned run and both are legitimate AL Cy Young contenders.

What's Not: Jerome Williams will be making his first start of the season and his first appearance for the Rangers after making 26 relief appearances for the Astros earlier this season before he was cut loose. In 10 1/3 innings as a starter for Triple-A Round Rock, Williams has allowed eight runs and is 0-1. Could be a long night on Friday.

Hammel has struggled since moving from the NL to the AL, as many pitchers will do. In his last start, he was rocked to the tune of six hits and five runs in two innings of work. Noted Rangers killer Coco Crisp is hitting a nice, crisp .105 over the last week.

Familiar Faces: Rangers infielder Adam Rosales has managed to stay with one organization this season as the Rangers and A's played hot potato with the veteran last year, sending him back and forth multiple times in a matter of a month or so. Former Rangers fan favorite Craig Gentry is now suiting up in green and gold after being traded to the A's over the winter for Michael Choice, whose big-league stint failed and is now in Triple-A.


Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Yankees Top Texas 4-2 in Series Finale]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:16:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rangers072414.jpg

Brandon McCarthy threw six more solid innings, fellow newcomer Chase Headley delivered another timely hit and the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-2 Thursday for their sixth win in seven games.

Brett Gardner doubled, scored a run and drove in one as the Yankees kept up their push since the All-Star break.

Texas fell to 3-17 in July and dropped 22 games under .500 for the first time since the final week of the 1988 season.

McCarthy improved to 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three starts since the Yankees got him in a deal with Arizona earlier this month. He was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA at the time of the trade.

McCarthy limited Texas to one run and four hits. He struck out five, and fanned Alex Rios to finish off an 11-pitch at-bat that ended the first inning.

Rios almost got even in the eighth with Texas trailing 3-2, hitting a drive off All-Star reliever Dellin Betances that was caught on the warning track in right field.

David Robertson pitched the ninth for his 25th save in 27 chances.

Colby Lewis (6-8) gave up three runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. He took the loss, but kept his composure -- in his previous start, he got rankled when Toronto's Colby Rasmus bunted for a two-out single midway through the game.

There were no problems with the field at Yankee Stadium, either. New York won 2-1 Wednesday night when a sudden, heavy storm prevented the grounds crew from quickly putting the tarp down in the fifth inning. The rain stopped soon enough, but the field was too wet to continue.

Texas took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI single by Elvis Andrus.

Gardner doubled in the fourth and scored on Headley's two-out single off the right-field wall.

Headley was acquired from San Diego on Tuesday and beat Texas that night with a single in the 14th inning.

Francisco Cervelli hit a go-ahead double in the fifth and later scored when left fielder Shin-Soo Choo made a fine running catch on Gardner's sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead. Earlier, Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin ran way back to grab Ichiro Suzuki's drive.

J.P. Arencibia homered in the Texas seventh. Brian McCann had an RBI double in the New York eighth.

NOTES: The Yankees evened their home record at 24-24. They have 33 home games left, most in the AL. ... A day after Texas traded closer Joakim Soria to Detroit, RHP Neftali Feliz will inherit the role for the time being, manager Ron Washington said. ... Yankees SS Derek Jeter got a day off for rest. ... Toronto LHP Mark Buehrle (10-6, 2.86) starts Friday night at Yankee Stadium against RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.88). Buehrle is 1-11 lifetime vs. the Yankees. ... Texas RHP Yu Darvish will remain on regular rest after pitching 4 1-3 innings in the rain-shortened loss, Washington said. ... Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux will miss the weekend series vs. Oakland to see brother Greg inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins will fill in for Maddux, and Triple-A pitching coach Brad Holman will be the bullpen coach for the three games against the A's.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A Look Around the West]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:52:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/178*120/451988254_8.jpg

In a weekly segment, we'll take a look around the AL West — what's happened so far, and what's on tap in the coming days.

1. Oakland Athletics (62-38) — The A's hold a two-game lead in the division now in what has quickly become a two-horse race, which we pretty much knew already. The A's bolstered their starting staff with their recent trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and their offense is still one of the better in the league with guys like Josh Donaldson. It's hard to hate this bunch, but if you're a Rangers fan, you have to find a way. Next up: Today, 2:35 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.

2. Los Angeles Angels (60-40) — The Angels have been one of baseball's hotter teams for a while now, and nothing's changed as they're 7-3 in their last 10 games and are now within good striking distance of first place in the division, a spot the A's have held for a long time now. Still thinking this ... the Angels end up winning this division. Next up: Tonight, 9:05 p.m., vs. Detroit Tigers.

3. Seattle Mariners (53-48) — The Mariners are being shown to be what they are, which is a good team that can't compete with the two lead dogs in the division. With that said, the Mariners are still in contention for the second AL Wild Card spot and currently hold that spot by a half-game over the Yankees. Next up: Tonight, 9:10 p.m., vs. Baltimore Orioles.

4. Houston Astros (42-59) — Hey, at least we aren't Texas! Next up: Today, 2:35 p.m., at Oakland Athletics.

5. Texas Rangers (40-61) — Ouch. Adios, Silver Boot. Next up: Today, 12:05 p.m., at New York Yankees.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Romo "Ready to Go in All Aspects"]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:58:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/103419544.jpg

After an offseason of limitations stemming from his recovery from back surgery, Tony Romo will be a go for all activities in camp, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

Romo suffered a herniated disk in his back last season in Week 16, an injury that forced him out of the Week 17 win-and-in matchup with the Eagles (they lost) and required surgery--his second back surgery in a span of just eight months. The three-time Pro Bowler never experienced any setbacks in his rehab, but for obvious reasons, the Cowboys opted to proceed with caution where their franchise quarterback was concerned all offseason.

“He’s been working very hard on his conditioning and his throwing, and we do anticipate him being ready to go for all aspects,” Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “Like with anybody else coming off of an injury, though, we’ll evaluate him on a day by day basis and just see how he’s doing. In a situation like this, you want to monitor his throws. You want to make sure his reps are quality reps, that he’s not just out there banging balls, so to speak. So we want to make sure we’re very thoughtful about that, really like we would any player who is coming off an injury, and evaluate how he’s handling the work and continue to progress with him or dial it back a little bit.

“But he’s had no issues, no obstacles, nothing that’s held him back from doing anything. He’s certainly on schedule and ready to go full go.”

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<![CDATA[Jerry: Weeden's Performance Influenced Orton Decision]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:20:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459739647.jpg

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes Brandon Weeden has some work to do to be as good of a backup quarterback as Kyle Orton, but he admits Weeden’s performance through the offseason--along with Orton’s refusal to show up and the monetary concerns surrounding the whole situation--helped the team come to the decision to part ways with Orton last week.

We liked what we saw from Weeden in [Orton’s] absence,” Jones said, via the team’s official website. “That was pretty good stuff. Does he have a lot to do to be where let’s say Kyle Orton might have been starting against San Francisco? Yes, he’s got a lot of work to do and we know that. On the other hand, he does a lot of good things as well.”

To be sure, the Cowboys got a good, long look at Weeden this summer. With Orton no-showing and Tony Romo limited as he recovered from back surgery, the former first round pick got a good deal of snaps with the first team. Weeden viewed his time with the 1s as a golden opportunity, and he took advantage of it.

Jones hopes taking advantage of opportunities is a theme of this camp.

“It’s kind of a mantra for what’s going to go on out here during training camp,” Jones said. “You need to be out there, you need to be on the field, you need to be doing your best every play or somebody else can step up there. That was all alive and well in this decision. But it’s important to understand we were paying Kyle a lot of money and that money can go toward paying a pretty good football player that can help us win in our judgment more than having that much invested in his position at backup quarterback.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

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<![CDATA[Tepesch Scratched for Friday Start]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:14:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/203*120/452046722.jpg

We discussed the silliness of pitching Nick Tepesch in the 14th inning of a tied game against the New York Yankees when you're 20 games below .500 at the end of July.

But that's exactly what Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington did on Tuesday night in an effort to give his team the best chance to win a game after he'd already burned through his entire bullpen. So yeah, we get the idea of wanting to win, but at this point, what does that matter?

What matters more is protecting your young pitchers such as Tepesch. And yes, he threw just 12 pitches before taking the loss, and after the game said he'd be fine to make his next scheduled start when the Rangers return home on Friday against Oakland with his manager in full agreement.

Now, not so much.

The Rangers announced Wednesday that Tepesch will miss that Friday start, and it's probably the right move, but it didn't need to happen in the first place had Washington just pitched a positional player and booted the game.

"I guess err on the side of caution would be the way to go," pitching coach Mike Maddux told ESPN Dallas. "We feel Nick would be available to pitch and he would be the first to tell you he could, yeah. But take a young kid and we asked him to do something outside of his box the other night, a team need. To his credit, we really appreciate him taking the ball. I know it was brief and not what he wanted or what anybody wanted. It's a testament to his character and his team-first attitude."

Whatever, Mike. Still a bad move.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Darvish Takes True Tough-Luck Loss]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:07:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/451291234.jpg

Yu Darvish is the Texas Rangers' ace, and this season, he's one of the few bright spots left on a roster full of guys who should be playing in Round Rock or even Frisco.

On Wednesday night in his second career start at Yankee Stadium, he gave up two early runs and had settled into beast mode against the Yankees when a sudden storm hit The Bronx and forced a day in the bottom of the fourth with the Yankees leading 2-1.

What happened next was one of the most embarrassing performances by a grounds crew you'll ever see. It took the Yankees' crew 13 minutes to get the tarp over the infield, which, by that point, was a soggy mess that looked more like the Red River than an infield.

It was obvious at that point that the game wouldn't be continued, although they did come back after a near two-hour delay to test the conditions while Darvish warmed back up to pitch again — a rarity for a pitcher who is delayed for that long — but it was quickly ruled an official game and a 2-1 Yankees win.

"It doesn't seem right," Rangers GM Jon Daniels told reporters after the decision was made.

It was obvious they couldn't play, but the ineptitude of the grounds crew was unlike anything we've ever seen. Worst of all, the Rangers lost another Darvish start and burned him in a game that lasted less than five full innings until his next turn through the rotation.

"We certainly didn't feel like one run was going to hold us," Ron Washington said. "We felt like we were going to be able to get something going. To lose Yu Darvish is particularly tough."


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Closer Derby, Take 2]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:54:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2013txr-neftali-feliz.jpg

The Texas Rangers sent their all-star caliber closer to a contending team on Wednesday, shipping Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers for a haul of two prime pitching prospects. Now, you might say, "Hey, the Rangers don't need a closer. They never have save opportunities," and to some extent, you're onto something.

Soria's opportunities dwindled to basically once every week, or sometimes longer, and in his last chance to get a save as a Ranger, he blew it in the Yankees' 14-inning win on Monday night.

So who steps into the role — needed or not — that Soria is vacating?

Well, the Rangers have already made it known that the guy Soria beat out in spring training, former all-star closer and AL Rookie of the Year, Neftali Feliz, would get another shot to reclaim his glory of 2010 and 2011.

Since being recalled at the beginning of the month and making his 2014 big-league debut after figuring things out in Triple-A, Feliz has posted a 2.61 ERA, but the strikeout numbers of old are no longer there, which is concerning. In his 10 1/3 innings, he's fanned only four.

But what about Roman Mendez? The rookie call-up has been lights out in his small sample size thus far. In his five games (8 2/3 innings), he's yet to allow a run and has struck out six batters and allowed just two hits. He has walked five, which is the only blemish on an otherwise stellar sample.

Then there is Corey Knebel, who the Rangers got back from Detroit for Soria. The Texas native is the former UT closer and has major swing-and-miss stuff with a power fastball and a heavy curve. He could easily be the Rangers' closer in the next couple of years.

Sure, the job seems to be Feliz's for now, but he's got some young up-and-comers in his rearview, and he better make a statement over these next couple of months.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ronald Leary Headed to PUP List]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:40:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ronald-leary-preseason.jpg

Cowboys guard Ronald Leary is headed to the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list to begin camp, after suffering a hamstring injury while doing a conditioning run at Valley Ranch last week.

The Cowboys also placed defensive end Anthony Spencer on the PUP list, a move that seemingly everyone knew was coming. Spencer is still recovering from microfracture surgery on his knee last September. Unlike Leary, there’s a good chance Spencer will begin the season on the PUP list. If he does, he’ll be obliged by league rules to stay there for three to six weeks before he’ll be eligible to come off.

Leary, whose time-table is shorter than that of Spencer, will be eligible to come off the PUP as soon as he’s healthy enough to do so. The third-year guard will then resume a position battle for the starting left guard job with Mackenzy Bernadeau.

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

<![CDATA[Saban Encouraged Cowboys to Sign McClain]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:36:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rolando-mcclain-saban.jpg

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has made something of a tradition of visiting other successful coaches throughout the sports world during the offseason, and this habit may have played a role in the team’s acquisition of the retired-until-just-recently linebacker Rolando McClain.

Back in 2008, when he was just a second-year offensive coordinator, Garrett visited Nick Saban and the University of Alabama. While there, Saban told Garrett that McClain--a true sophomore for the Crimson Tide at the time--might be one of the best players he’s ever coached.

“When a guy like that says that, who’s been around for as long as he has and has so many good players, it kind of gets your attention,” Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “So I can remember watching him in college and certainly we evaluated him very closely coming out. He was a top-10 pick by the Raiders when he came out of school and someone who has an immense amount of ability and, more than that, production. He was a really, really good college player and I think people have a lot of hopes for him as a pro player.

“Certainly he’s had some issues since he’s been in the NFL--played a couple of years, retired, unretired--and the research that we did, the due diligence we did, both with Coach Saban and other people who have been around him, we felt like with his ability with the kind of person he’s demonstrated himself to be in the past, maybe we can help him through some of these issues he has and get this guy back playing at the level we all thought he was capable of playing.”

McClain traveled to Southern California with the rest of the team for training camp this week, but he is due in court in Decatur, Alabama on Friday on year-old charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.