<![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 Sat, 19 Apr 2014 04:58:40 -0500 Sat, 19 Apr 2014 04:58:40 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Aaron Donald Turns Down Draft Invite]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:09:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/aaron-donald-cowboys.jpg

Potential Dallas Cowboys draft target Aaron Donald has decided against attending the 2014 NFL Draft in New York City.

The former Pittsburgh defensive tackle got an invite from no less an authority than the head honcho himself, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. But after weeks of considering the offer, Donald decided against the bright lights of Radio City Music Hall, said his mother, Anita Goggins.

Aaron is so personal,” Goggins said, per TribLive.com. “He just didn't want to go and have all those cameras in his face. He thought about it. He received a letter from Roger Goodell. One minute, he was going. The next minute he said, 'I'm not going.' I told him to pray about it, just like when he wasn't sure if he wanted to leave (Pitt) after his junior year. Last Friday (April 11), he made his choice.”

Donald was in Dallas this week for a pre-draft visit, and said he’d love to play under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

“I just want him to go somewhere where they are going to take him and teach him and make him the best possible player he can be,” Goggins said.

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<![CDATA[Henry Melton Settles Lawsuit]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 15:06:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/156942405.jpg

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Henry Melton has settled a lawsuit that alleged he assaulted a Grapevine bar owner during a row earlier this year, Jeff Mosier of the Dallas Morning News reports.

The owner and manager of Chill Sports Bar, Donald Payne, filed suit in January, claiming that Melton bit him. Melton filed a countersuit, alleging that the staff of the bar kicked, punched and choked him during the incident. In a statement released Friday, Melton’s lawyer, Christian Dennie, said the two sides came to an agreement without any money being exchanged.

The original suit filed by Payne in Tarrant County said the bar owner was seeking upwards of $1 million in damages.

“After sitting down together and talking face to face we have both agreed to drop our lawsuits,” the statement reads. “Talking openly and directly is sometimes the best way to resolve issues. We both realize that our time is better spent on more meaningful things. No money was exchanged and we both realize we are better off as allies. We both have ties to Dallas and Grapevine, Texas and we feel it is best to put our time towards positive things for the future.”

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Josh Mauro: Valley Ranch Visit "Something Special"]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:23:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/josh-mauro-dallas-day.jpg

Former Stanford defensive end and L.D. Bell product Josh Mauro was at Valley Ranch this week for the annual “Dallas Day,” and he wasn’t shy in discussing his excitement over the mere idea of playing for the team he grew up watching.

"It's kind of like a dream come true," Mauro said, per ESPN Dallas. "Playing Pee Wee football and high school, you see the Cowboys and it's like a dream to think you could play for them. This isn't a sign-up for the Cowboys, but to even have the opportunity to work out for them is something special."

As a man who has always followed the team, Mauro is well aware that the Cowboys are in the market for defensive linemen, a group that (to put it lightly) is in transition mode. Already this offseason, Dallas cut all-time sack leader DeMarcus Ware and allowed defensive tackle Jason Hatcher to walk in free agency. Ware ended up in Denver. Hatcher, in a more gut-wrenching move for fans, stayed in the division and signed with Washington.

"You're talking two, possibly three starters up front in that defense that aren't there anymore," Mauro said.

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<![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Exercise 5th Year Option on Tyron Smith]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:05:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tyron-smith-vs-broncos.jpg

In a very unsurprising move, the Dallas Cowboys have exercised their fifth year option on left tackle Tyron Smith’s rookie contract--meaning he’ll be in Dallas through the 2015 season--according to a Dallas Morning News report.

Now, they can get cracking on a long-term deal for the 23-year-old.

Since moving from right tackle to left tackle in his sophomore season in the league in 2012, Smith has emerged as one of the best young linemen in the league--which isn’t to say he was bad on the right side in his rookie year. He was good. Smith went to his first Pro Bowl last year, and the team has made no bones about their desire to lock up the USC product.

Under the current collective bargaining agreement, rookie contracts span four years and come with a team option for a fifth. Smith will make a little over $2 million in 2014, but that figure jumps to over $10 million for the option year of 2015.

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[Kony Ealy Visits Valley Ranch]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:45:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kony-ealy-dallas.jpg

Among the pre-draft visitors at Valley Ranch this week, the first week of pre-draft visits, was Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, who was linked to the Dallas Cowboys through a number of mock drafts earlier this offseason.

Ealy posted a 4.92 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, and put up the standard 225 pounds 22 times. At 6-foot-4 and 273 pounds, Ealy has some major upside.

According to Ealy’s NFL.com Draft Profile, he’s projected to come off the board in round two or three.

“Big, athletic, ascending, pass-rush talent with the size, burst and flexibility to pressurize the edge as a right defensive end,” the profile says. “Is not a finished product, particularly as a run defender, but should only become more disruptive as his strength, technique and savvy catch up with his natural physical ability. Could also draw looks as a 3-4 rush linebacker.”

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[Surely Scheppers' Experiment Is Over]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:24:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2014-Rangers-Tanner-Scheppers-02.jpg

Tanner Scheppers' last straw had to have come on Thursday, at least that's what Rangers fans are hoping.

The setup man-turned-starter surrended yet another big inning — the same ailment that's plagued him all year — and failed to get out of the third inning after he was staked to a 3-0 first-inning lead that he quickly squandered.

Scheppers was an elite setup man last season and inexplicably was named the Opening Day starter this year — his first career start — and it's been a failed experiment so far. The righty has allowed 20 earned runs in his four starts and has an ERA of 9.82.

Shifting him back to the bullpen would theoretically make it better, but the concern now is whether Scheppers' confidence has just been shaken beyond repair with his awful four-game stint as a starter. With Matt Harrison likely a bit more delayed now in his return to the big-league mound, the question is, how do the Rangers replace Scheppers in their rotation?

The first two thoughts are either Nick Tepesch, who had a rookie year last season between the rotation and bullpen but struggled in spring training and was sent to the minors, and then there's Nick Martinez, who made one start in Tampa Bay earlier this season and looked really good doing it despite having not started by five career games above the Single-A level.

Martinez pitched for Double-A Frisco on Thursday — so he's on the same schedule as Scheppers. That move would make the most sense and would have him making his second career start in Oakland on April 22.

Whatever happens, Scheppers has to be finished as a starter. He never seemed to have starter stuff or starter mentality, and that's been proven. As we said above, at this point, you just hope he can have a seamless transition back to the bullpen and be a valuable piece to the winning pen again.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Perez Looking To Continue Hot Start]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:01:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/484630325.jpg

Martin Perez has progressed exaclty like the Texas Rangers hoped he would in his first season of starting the year in the starting rotation.

Perez became a fixture in late-June of last season and ended up winning 10 games as a rookie, and the lefty has built on that breakout half-season with a strong start to the 2014 season. He'll get another chance to continue his hot start on Friday night against the hot-hitting Chicago White Sox.

So far this year, Perez has made three starts and is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 20 innings of work. In that time, he's given up a hit per inning, which isn't good, but he's also induced a ton of groundball outs by attacking the zone and keeping the ball down, and that's led to nine double plays behind him.

Eventually, Perez is going to have a bad start, and he's probably out of place as a No. 2 starter for a contender, but once reinforcements arrive and he's placed in the No. 3 or even No. 4 spot, you're looking at a really solid rotation.

The Rangers were tasked with treading water in the beginning of the season, and they've done more than that over the past three weeks, and Perez has been a huge part of that by limiting damage and attacking hitters.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Figueroa Leading Charge For Improving Bullpen]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:46:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2014-rangers-pedro-figueroa.jpg

When the Texas Rangers' season began a few weeks back, one of the biggest questions on the roster was the bullpen, especially after fixtures Robbie Ross Jr. and Tanner Scheppers were moved to the starting rotation and all-star closer Joe Nathan left for Detroit.

One of the many names that is still trying to be a household name is Pedro Figueroa, a lefty reliever who was thrown to the lions on Opening Day and tagged with four earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. Since then, Figueroa has appeared in seven games and has given up exactly zero earned runs. His last two appearances were in games the Rangers won and both outings were at least an inning without allowing a baserunner.

Both games were also wins for Figueroa, as he got his first win on Wednesday after the Rangers walked off with a win and picked up another Thursday after entering the game with the Rangers trailing and leaving with the lead that was never relinquished.

He's starting to gain more and more trust from Washington with every outing, and that's a far cry from where he stood after that initial outing of the season. GM Jon Daniels has always gone with the thinking that bullpens just "happen" and you don't need high-profile, high-dollar guys, and that's starting to play out with guys like Figueroa and Shawn Tolleson adding to experienced veterans like Neal Cotts, Jason Frasor and Alexi Ogando.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Arencibia Still Bad, But at Least Produces Runs]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:56:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/484477201.jpg

Give J.P. Arencibia some credit. At least when he grounded out on Thursday on two separate occasions, he did so to the right side of the infield to allow runners to score and advance to third base.

With a guy like Arencibia, you have to look at every possible positive aspect when he does absolutely anything, so Arencibia had a couple of big moments for him in Thursday afternoon's comeback win over the Mariners.

On two separate occasions, Rangers manager Ron Washington had Leonys Martin lay down sac bunts to move runners from first and second to second and third, respectively, setting the table for Arencibia. Both times, he grounded out to second base to allow both runners to advance.

"Arencibia is a part of this team, and he has to deliver too," manager Ron Washington told reporters. "So I put him in a situation to deliver and he got us two runs, productive outs. Base hits aren't always the key. He had two productive outs today."

After the game, Arencibia seemed to take offense when someone referred to him scuffling at the plate, but hey, that's what happens when you're hitting south of .100 with an OPS of .211. Awful, just awful.

"What's your definition of scuffling?" Arencibia said. "Let's talk about hard-hit balls. It is what it is, but I'm hitting balls hard at people, and for whatever reason it's going the wrong way. I easily could have had two hits today. Scuffling for you maybe because of the numbers, but it's a lot more than that.

"I'm trying to help the team win and do the little things like that [driving in runs with productive outs]. That's important."

Hey, the two runs he drove in were the difference in Thursday's game, so we'll take it, but how bout you have some humility?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kouzmanoff Making Pitchers Pay]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:52:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/485332345.jpg

We get it. Prince Fielder has the track record and the skins on the wall. He's a scary, scary power hitter in the heart of the Texas Rangers order. But a tenth of the way through the season, he's a scary, scary power hitter who's hitting below .200 and has one homer to his credit.

Yet, opposing pitchers are still giving Fielder a free pass with no Adrian Beltre to protect him and electing to pitch to journeyman third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. And for the past week, Kouzmanoff has made them all pay the price.

Thursday showed the latest example, when the Mariners walked Fielder in the Rangers' three-run first inning to pitch to Kouzmanoff, who promptly his one of his two doubles on the day to drive in two runs.

Kouzmanoff has now hit safely in all eight games he's played for the Rangers, and his days as an everyday player are seemingly numbered with Beltre set to return from the DL next week. It'll be interesting to see what move the Rangers make when Beltre returns, because at this point it's impossible to send Kouzmanoff back to the minors. The logical choices are Josh Wilson or Donnie Murphy, but then you don't have a backup middle infielder, and that's not good.

That means Michael Choice could be on his way to the minors to play every day (which he needs) and that would open up a spot as a designated hitter for Kouzmanoff. This tear won't last forever for Kouzmanoff, but the Rangers need to ride it as long as they can.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[On Deck: White Sox]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:18:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/white-sox-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 White Sox have shown better for themselves than perhaps was expected so far, but they're coming off two straight losses to the Boston Red Sox, including one on Wednesday night that went 14 innings and saw Leury Garcia pitch and take the loss.

Past Meetings: The White Sox went 4-2 against the Rangers last year, winning two of three in both series.

Pitching Matchups: Friday — Martin Perez (2-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Felipe Paulino (0-1, 7.98); Saturday — Colby Lewis (0-1, 6.75) vs. Jose Quintana (1-0, 2.37); Sunday — Robbie Ross Jr. (1-0, 1.00) vs. Erik Johnson (0-1, 6.35).

What's Hot: There aren't many hitters in baseball over the last week hotter than journeyman Kevin Kouzmanoff, who has taken over at third base for the injured Adrian Beltre and quickly become the Rangers' best hitter. Once Beltre's back, his at-bats will be greatly decreased, but right now, he's on fire, hitting .393 with five doubles and a homer over the last week. Leonys Martin has also found his stroke again, hitting .350 over the last week. Other than Joakim Soria, the Rangers' bullpen hasn't allowed a run in the last seven games.

Jose Quintana and Erik Johnson, who the Rangers face on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, have combined to give up two runs in their last 12 2/3 innings of work. Alexei Ramirez, the White Sox's versatile shortstop, has gotten off to a torrid start and is on a 16-game hittting streak dating back to last season. Texan Adam Dunn is also red-hot and can send a ball into the stands any time he makes contact.

What's Not: Despite a promising two-game stretch which saw Prince Fielder go 2-for-5 and then hit his first Rangers homer the next night, the slugger is still struggling, hitting just .167 over the last week with an on-base percentage of .355 thanks to his seven walks. Tanner Scheppers' season ERA is now approaching 10.00, and his days in the starting rotation have to be numbered after his latest bad outing on Thursday.

White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, a Cuban defector who signed with the White Sox this winter, has four home runs this year and was off to a great start before hitting a big-time slump over the last week. In his last six games, he's 1-for-21 with eight strikeouts.

Familiar Faces: Alex Rios was acquired post-deadline last year from the White Sox for prospect middle infielder Leury Garcia, who had to pitch in that 14-inning loss Wednesday night. Rangers reliever Neal Cotts pitched for the White Sox for four seasons, including 2005 when the club won the World Series over Houston. Former Rangers pitching prospect John Danks is pitching for the White Sox after the Rangers traded him for Brandon McCarthy several years back.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Golfer Flees Hornet Attack on Course]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:45:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Larrazabal.jpg

A Spanish golfer jumped into a nearby lake to escape a swarm of hornets then continued on despite his stinging injuries.

Pablo Larrazabal was in the fifth hole's fairway during the Maybank Malaysian Open when he swatted away a stray hornet, which then prompted a swarm to attack him. The golfer attempted to fight them off, but had to run to the lake to escape the angry wasps.

“They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time,” Larrazabal said in a statement to ESPN. “I didn’t know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake.”

The scene could have been reminiscent of Chris Farley's character fleeing a bee attack in the 1995 film "Tommy Boy."

Larrazabal suffered more than 20 stings and had to receive medical attention. He described the encounter as the “scariest moment" of his career.

However, he returned to play his last five holes in a borrowed shirt, reversing his luck by finishing the 14th hole – the same one where he was attacked – with a birdie putt and finishing overall with two under.

He later tweeted out thanks to supporters and joked that golf is a dangerous sport.
 



Photo Credit: Ian Walton/Getty Images)]]>
<![CDATA[10 Good Friday Reasons to be Happy]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:38:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tyron-smith-good-start.jpg

It’s Good Friday, a time to reflect. To play hookie. To hide Easter Eggs. Maybe a cool drink on a sun-splashed patio. And, yes, to remember all the positive things about the Cowboys.

I realize they are coming off 8-8 and 8-8 and 8-8 seasons and haven’t won a Super Bowl since “The Macarena” somehow topped the music charts, but there are silver-'n-blue linings these days if you squint hard enough.

On Good Friday, 10 good things about the current Dallas Cowboys.

10. No matter what happens, the defense can’t get any worse than it was in 2013. Please tell me I'm right about that one. If not ...

9. Sean Lee is due for a healthy season. Actually past due.

8. An imminent season void of the nagging question, “Where is DeMarcus Ware when we need him?!” He's a Ring-of-Honor player, but he's disappearance did get nauseating.

7. Stephen Jones seems a tad more rational than his dad, and he will run the show sooner or later.

6. Jason Witten. Still, after all these years.

5. It’s been a quiet off-season for Dez Bryant. As he and his mom know, that’s a good thing.

4. With Super Bowl hype, if not hope, a thing of the past, the Cowboys now have no pressure to overachieve. And, present malaise be damned, there are still five trophies residing at Valley Ranch for the nostalgic type.

3. Tony Romo’s surgically repaired back is on schedule to be healthy and 100 percent by training camp. Like him or not, the Cowboys have zero chance at success without their quarterback.

2. AT&T Stadium remains the NFL’s biggest, bestest joint.

1. Tyron Smith. Only 23 and already making Pro Bowls, he has the talent and temperament to dominate a key position (left tackle) for the next decade. And he's as good off the field, evidenced by his $10,000 donation last night at a charity auction put on by the Nancy Lieberman Foundation in Dallas.

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[Secret Service Threatened to Shoot Mr. Met: Book]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 08:11:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mr-met-cohen.jpg

A Secret Service agent once threatened to shoot Mr. Met if he approached the president during a baseball game at Shea Stadium, according to a man who once worked as the baseball-headed mascot.

AJ Mass, who was the Mets’ mascot from 1994 to 1997, said a member of former President Bill Clinton’s security detail told him they’d “go for the kill shot” if he tried to pal around with the then-commander-in-chief at a Mets-Dodgers game on April 15, 1997. The account comes from an excerpt of Mass’ new book, “Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots,” published on Sports Illustrated’s website this week.

Mass wrote that he had planned to make his way to see Clinton, who was at the game commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first major-league appearance, calling the photo-op "the holy grail for all mascots."

Before he could make it to the president’s box, Mass wrote, he was stopped by an agent in a dark suit and a businesslike demeanor.

“We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” the agent told Mass. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. Nobody will bother you. But approach the president, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”

Then the agent, who Mass wrote was staring into the mouth of Mr. Met’s head to make eye contact with the man inside, repeated himself.

“Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot,” the agent said to Mass. “ARE-WE-CLEAR?”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McNabb Spends Day in AZ Jail ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 05:12:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mcnabb+arrested+mugshot+background.jpg

Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb has been released from an Arizona jail after serving a one-day sentence for a DUI arrest late last year.

Records released by Maricopa County Justice Court show that 37-year-old McNabb served his time Wednesday and was released Thursday morning.

Court administrator James Vance tells NBC10.com McNabb was stopped on Dec. 15, 2013 in his gray Land Rover LR4 along an Arizona freeway -- Route 101 near East McDowell Road -- on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. He was then arrested for driving under the influence and cited for speeding.

McNabb's blood alcohol content (BAC) was not available for release, but Vance said while the state's legal limit is 0.08, a person could be considered impaired with a BAC of 0.04 or higher.

The former Eagle pleaded guilty on March 27 and nine days of his sentence was suspended in exchange for undergoing alcohol screening and treatment. Vance says that is a pretty standard judgment.

McNabb then reported to the Maricopa County Jail on Wednesday, was booked and served the one day sentence.

Once the alcohol treatment is completed, the sentence will be suspended, Vance says.

NBC10.com reached out to McNabb's attorney, Stephen Benedetto, for comment. We have not heard back.

Our sister station, KPNX in Phoenix, Ariz., obtained a booking mugshot of McNabb from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowler, spent 10 years with the Eagles and took the franchise to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. He currently hosts a show on NBC Sports Radio.

A spokesman for the radio network said, "Donovan has no comment," on the matter.



Photo Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Aikman Doesn't See Cowboys Drafting QB]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:28:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jerry-jones-stephen-aikman.jpg

Not that it will come as any surprise, seeing as how the team just signed quarterback Brandon Weeden, Troy Aikman doesn’t see the Dallas Cowboys selecting a quarterback at any point in next month’s NFL Draft.

Didn’t sound like it,” Aikman said of Dallas taking a quarterback. “I think Brandon Weeden obviously has some talent, and Kyle Orton, I’m assuming he’s back. I’ve always been a big Kyle Orton fan. I think he’s fully capable, and I think he proved that in the last game of the season. "

“It doesn’t sound like they’ll be drafting anybody. But if they can find a free agent to come out and at some point down the road play like Tony has played, that’s a pretty good way to go.”

Orton reportedly considered retirement for a period following last season, but the word out of Valley Ranch is that--as far as the team knows, anyway--he’ll be back. Weeden is an interesting pickup, as the Cowboys showed some real interest in him when he was coming out of Oklahoma State in 2012. He was picked by Cleveland 22nd overall that year, but was cut after two disappointing seasons.

Helped along by their meetings with Weeden prior to the 2012 draft, the Cowboys were quick to bring him into the fold when he hit the market.

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[Report: NFL Schedule to be Released April 22]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:29:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP370586931921.jpg

For those waiting with bated breath for the Dallas Cowboys’ 2014 regular season schedule to be announced, you most likely only have five days to go.

According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, the NFL will release the regular season on April 22, next Tuesday. In keeping with tradition, the league has been noncommittal about the release, adopting a “we’ll announce is when we announce it” approach.

Florio adds that there’s a chance the unveiling could be pushed to Wednesday or Thursday, but according to his source--”with knowledge of the situation”--Tuesday’s probably the day.

The Cowboys already know their opponents for the year. That announcement came back in February.

Aside from the six NFC East games, Dallas will host the Cardinals, the 49ers, the Texans, the Colts and the Saints at AT&T Stadium. They’ll travel to face the Rams, the Seahawks, the Titans, the Bears and the Jaguars.

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: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Danny White: Romo the Perfect QB for Dallas]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:33:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/danny-white-romo.jpg

Longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback Danny White doesn’t only believe that Tony Romo is a great signal caller, he says he’d take Romo over the likes of Peyton Manning.

In an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio this week, White opined that Romo is THE quarterback for the Cowboys at the moment, the right man for the job. And, echoing what many other ex-players have said over recent years, White made clear that he doesn’t believe Romo is the problem--quite the opposite.

I don’t know if there’s ever been a more athletic quarterback,” White said, via the Dallas Morning News. “People keep saying they need to get somebody else, I don’t think there’s another quarterback in the league that would be a better fit for the Cowboys and what they need, because he has to be able to move. He has to be able to improvise, with the offense he’s got. He does that better than anybody ... I’m a Peyton Manning fan, I’m a fan of all those guys, but they’re not the guy that the Cowboys need.”

To be sure, White knows good quarterbacking. He entered the league in 1976 as the team’s punter and Roger Staubach’s backup. He took over in the 1980s and went to three NFC Championship games before retiring after the 1988 season.

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[Cowboys Meet with Veteran G Davin Joseph]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:34:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/davin-joseph-cowboys.jpg

With little cap room to work with, the Dallas Cowboys have largely stayed out of the free agent market, signing three defensive players, only one of whom--defensive tackle Henry Melton--really made any headlines. But that doesn’t mean they’re done making moves for the year, as evidenced by the their apparent interest in veteran guard Davin Joseph.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Joseph has already met with the Cowboys.

A University of Oklahoma product product, Joseph has spent all of his eight seasons in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team that drafted him 23rd overall back in 2006. He’s been to two Pro Bowls, in 2008 and 2011.

If the Cowboys are able to sign Joseph--who would come in and compete for a starting job--the move will be reminiscent of their signing of veteran guard Brian Waters a year ago. Waters flourished in Dallas before suffering a season-ending triceps injury, and has been credited with bringing some toughness to the offensive line, a toughness that remained evident after he was hurt.

Joseph has also met with the New York Giants.

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[Aikman Worried About Romo's Back]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:35:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/troy-aikman-concussions.jpg

Tony Romo having two surgical procedures on his back in an eight month span has Troy Aikman a little concerned.

Speaking at a United Way event at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and FOX analyst reflected on the back surgery he underwent early in his NFL career. Obviously, Aikman bounced back from that procedure nicely. He’s hoping Romo can do the same.

“I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he’s at least afforded more time to get ready,” Aikman told the team’s official website. “But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned."

“I’m hopeful that he’s able to come back--everybody is. This team won’t be the same if he’s not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, ‘Hey, he’s ahead of schedule and everything’s going fine,’ I’m not sure how you can really measure that here in April.”

Of course, “he’s ahead of schedule and everything is going fine” has been the team’s official stance on Romo’s rehab all offseason.

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[Mavs Will Lose to Spurs in 5: Whitt]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:55:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mavs-spurs-012513.jpg

The refs could’ve swallowed the whistle on Mike Conley’s outta-control drive in the final seconds. Monta Ellis could’ve made the last-second jumper. The Mavericks could’ve held onto to just one of the five losses in which they held leads of 15-plus points.

But, alas, could’ve didn’t. And, therefore, the morning after a heart-breaking 106-105 overtime loss to end the regular season in Memphis, the Mavs awoke this morning to these stark realities:

*With 49 wins and a high-octane offense, they are one of the most dangerous No. 8 seeds in NBA Playoff history.

*To win a playoff series for the first time since 2011, they have to beat the NBA’s best team four times after losing nine straight to them.

You can look at a multitude of spots where the Mavs could’ve earned the West’s No. 7 seed and a more appealing date with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but there’s no time for that. The San Antonio Spurs await.

Beating the Spurs just once would be an impressive feat. Beating them four times almost impossible. Why?

Because the Spurs have lost only five games since the All-Star break, and one of those came last night in a meaningless finale in which its regulars didn’t play. The last time the Mavs beat the Spurs they got a double-double from their point guard. Problem is the guy was named Jason Kidd, and the game was played on St. Patrick’s Day – 2012.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series tips off Sunday at noon in San Antonio’s AT&T Center.

The Mavericks so desperately wanted to win last night and avoid the Spurs that 35-year-old Dirk Nowitzki played a season-high 46 minutes. But that’s to indicate Dallas is already waving the white flag against the 62-win favorites to win the championship.

“We'll go down there and let it all rip in Game 1,” Nowitzki told reporters in the locker room last night. “We've got to compete like we did tonight. When we compete and we grind, I like our chances anywhere. We'll just let it all hang out. They're a great team. I mean, after the All-Star break, they've been rolling. They've been shooting the ball well. They're a very, very good team. They're definitely the favorites in this series. I think that's pretty obvious, but we're going in there to compete and see what happens.”

You’d like to think the Mavs can ramp up the pace and have a chance to win if they get the old, veteran Spurs to run with them. Problem is the Spurs’ efficiency on offense consistently exposes Dallas’ weak defense. In the four meetings this season the Spurs scored at least 109 points, averaged 112 and won by margins of nine, 12, six and nine points in a game played in American Airlines Center eight days ago.

Dirk will get his looks and the Mavs will score points. But they’ll done in by two aspects that can’t be magically corrected after 82 games: Rebounding and reserves.

In the four meetings this season the Spurs out-rebounded Dallas each time, by an average of 48-39. Nine possessions in a playoff game is bewildering. The Mavs were destroyed on the boards last night by the Grizzlies, and unless center Samuel Dalembert is alert and active and out of foul trouble, the fatal flaw will continue against the Spurs. San Antonio’s bench is simply deeper – and better. In the four meetings the Spurs’ reserves – led by Ginobli, Boris Diaw and Marco Belinelli – out-scored Dallas’ bench three times.

Dallas’ only hope in this series: Duncan, Parker or Ginobli gets injured. Dirk gets 2007-ish hot. Or San Antonio inexplicably takes its northern neighbors for granted. After all, in 2011 the No. 1-seed Spurs lost to the No. 8-seed Grizzlies.

So it can happen.

Sorry, it won’t happen.

Spurs in 5.

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[Wacky Walkoff Was Nothing New For Rangers]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:43:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/485157049.jpg

The Texas Rangers have played nine home games this season, and four of those have ended in walkoff victories. Oddly enough, none of them have been of the walkoff home run variety — something the Rangers did in three straight games last year against AL West rival Los Angeles.

That's one level of odd, but the way the Rangers are finding to win these games are at a whole other level. First off, there was a walkoff. bases-loaded walk in the series finale against Philadelphia on April 2. That followed a walkoff single from Adrian Beltre the previous night.

Robinson Chirinos delivered a walkoff single in a 1-0, extra-innings win over the Houston Astros last Friday, in what was Yu Darvish's last start prior to Wednesday's. Yet again, Darvish was given a no-decision, and yet again, the Rangers walked off with a ninth-inning win in his start on Wednesday. But this was on a whole new level of wacky.

With two outs and trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a sharp grounder off shortstop Brad Miller's glove for a single. Mitch Moreland then drew a walk off erratic Seattle closer Fernando Rodney without ever swinging the bat. After that, the game should have ended, but Miller had another botched play.

Josh Wilson hit a routine grounder to shortstop, and with Moreland bearing down on second base, Miller attempted an underhand flip from about 25 feet away and it sailed high on second baseman Robinson Cano, who had to jump off the bag to catch the ball. In that split second, Moreland slid into second, and his foot beat Cano's to the bag. Everyone's safe. Bases loaded, still two outs, and Leonys Martin comes up to the plate.

Rodney almost hit Martin with a wild fastball about two feet inside that sailed to backstop and ricocheted down the third base line, allowing Kouzmanoff to score on a wild pitch to tie the game and everyone else to advance, as well.

Shortly thereafter, Martin lifted a single into left-center field to score Moreland and give the Rangers another walkoff to pull above .500. Wins aren't supposed to happen like that, but every now and again, they do.

Give the Rangers credit. They have shown this year that they don't quit, and there was never a better example of that than on Wednesday, when it seemed for about 2 hours and 40 minutes that it just wasn't the Rangers night. Then, all the sudden, it magically was. And it was fun.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Best Draft Picks in Cowboys History]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:18:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/troy-aikman-concussions.jpg

Yesterday I had the audacity to dump in your lap the 5 Worst Draft Picks in Cowboys’ history. On the eve of Good Friday, allow me to make amends. Let’s get some positivity up in here.

The Cowboys have drafted a basketball player (Pat Riley in ’67), a baseball player (Merv Rettemund in ’65) and a sprinter (Carl Lewis in ’84). They’ve had their share of misses – ahem, Morris Claiborne better get in gear – but also their moments of draft-day Zen, where a seemingly strange selection helped win a Super Bowl. Or two. Or three.

If the Cowboys come close to any of these with the 16th pick in next month’s draft, the playoffs in 2014 might not be such a pipe dream after all.

The Top 5 draft picks in the history of America’s Team:

5. Troy Aikman – Seemingly a no-brainer, but several draftniks touted Tony Mandarich instead as No. 1 in ’89.

4. Rayfield Wright – Hall-of-Fame offensive lineman was nabbed in the 7th round, the 182nd player picked in ’67.

3. Emmitt Smith – Jimmy Johnson desired Baylor linebacker James Francis, but instead drafted the NFL’s all-time leading rusher 15 spots behind another running back, Blair Thomas, in ’90.

2. Larry Brown – 12th-round afterthought in ’91 has three Super Bowl rings and won Super Bowl XXX MVP.

1. Roger Staubach – While Captain America’s four-year Navy commitment scared off most teams, Dallas gambled – and won – with him in the 10th round in ’64.

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.

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<![CDATA[Darvish Showed Grit Without Best Stuff]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:20:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/485152313.jpg

Despite some local media folks trying to tell you otherwise, remember this, Rangers fans: You have yourself a tried and true ace on your pitching staff. Enjoy it. Breathe it in. Go to the park when he's on the mound, for goodness sake.

Yu Darvish showed what makes him so great in yet another no-decision on Wednesday night against one of his peers in the game, Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, aka King Felix.

The third-year Rangers starter struggled early in Wednesday's game and allowed two second-inning runs off a few hard-hit balls, including a Nick Franklin triple to right-center in his first MLB game of the season. Even his early outs often came on hard-hit balls. It was pretty clear from the get-go Darvish didn't have his best stuff, and he showed it with some antsy body language on the mound.

After an adjustment which saw him abandon his approach from his first two starts — throw strikes early and often — Darvish reverted to his old self and started guys out with breaking balls out of the zone, and it worked effectively in keeping the Mariners off-balance.

What initally looked like a game Darvish might struggle to get five innings, he ended up going seven and allowed nothing on the scoreboard after that second inning.

Sure, his streak of 22 innings to start this season without getting a single run of support while he was actually still in the game continued. That streak is pretty unreal. But he kept his team in the game, and once again, the Rangers won a home game in walkoff fashion — their fourth of the season in just nine home games.

So there you go, folks. That's what an ace does. Even on a night when he had far from his best stuff, Darvish was virtually dominant aside from a few mistakes in the second inning.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scheppers Needing Clean Outing]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:25:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2014-Rangers-Tanner-Scheppers-01.jpg

It seems at this point that most Texas Rangers fans believe Tanner Scheppers is better suited to be in a high-leverage role in the back end of the team's bullpen, like he was last season as an elite setup man. And, it's hard to really make an argument against that point.

Scheppers has struggled with high pitch counts, inefficiency and an inability to make guys miss in his three starts this season. On Thursday afternoon, he'll have start No. 4, and his days could be waning as a Rangers starter with the imminent return of Matt Harrison and possibly even Joe Saunders to the rotation.

One thing is certain, Scheppers has been outdueled by his former bullpen mate Robbie Ross in the converted reliever sweepstakes. Scheppers needs to make a statement on Thursday like Ross did on Tuesday, when he tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings in just 90 pitches.

“Robbie’s worked so hard at it, and his hard work is paying off,” Scheppers said. “For me, I’ve got to focus on what I’ve got to take care of. … Attack with my fastball and keep faith in my ability.”

Only problem for Scheppers is that his ability might just be as a reliever and not a starter, and there's nothing wrong with that. His chances to prove otherwise are numbered, and he has another one this afternoon.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[A Look Around The West]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:24:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/485174461.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 (10-5) — The A's are doing what they do. They play with swagger and find ways to win games. But right now, their bullpen is in a bit of a bad spot. They blew a late lead against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night and ended up losing the game in the 14th inning. They're about to get a snoot full of the Rangers, but before that, the lowly Astros come to town. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.

2. Texas Rangers (8-7) — After a 10-game stretch of alternating wins and losses, the Rangers finally won consecutive games on Wednesday night with yet another walkoff win. They'll go for their first three-game win streak Thursday afternoon. The starting pitching has carried the team, which is the exact opposite of what everyone envisioned. Next up: Today, 1:05 p.m., vs. Seattle Mariners.

3. Seattle Mariners (7-7) — Much like the Rangers, the Mariners' pitching has carried them thus far. Unlike the Rangers, that's exactly what was expected. Even with Robinson Cano's addition to the roster, the Mariners' offense is still a rather paltry bunch. With that pitching, though, they can contend for a good while. Next up: Today, 1:05 p.m., at Texas Rangers.

4. Los Angeles Angels (7-8) — Rangers usually root heartily for the Angels to fail, but on Wednesday night they picked up a big win over the A's in extra innings. The Angels' pitching is a mess, and their hottest hitter to start the season, Josh Hamilton, is on the DL for a couple of months. In the past few years, the Angels have gotten off to awful starts, which they've managed to avoid this year. Next up: Friday, 6:08 p.m., at Detroit Tigers.

5. Houston Astros (5-10) — The Astros brought up their big hitting prospect, George Springer, on Wednesday, and that was exciting. But that's the extent of the Astros' excitement this year — when their young prospects make their big-league debuts. A loss on Thursday will complete a four-game sweep at the hands of the equally bad Royals. Next up: Today, 7:10 p.m., vs. Kansas City Royals.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Saunders Suffers Setback on DL]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:31:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/482797499.jpg

The first opportunity for the Texas Rangers to move embattled starter Tanner Scheppers back to the struggling bullpen is being put on hold. That's because veteran starter Joe Saunders, who opened the season as the Rangers' No. 4 starter and made one start before taking a line drive off the ankle and hitting the disabled list, has suffered a setback.

Saunders is eligible to return from the DL on Sunday, but now will take a few days off after experiencing pain in a throwing session on Wednesday. It means he won't be ready to come off the DL on Sunday, and the timetable hasn't been set yet for when he could return.

Saunders' role with the club is probably as a short-term starter and long-term reliever as the bullpen's long man once everyone is healthy, such as Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, especially if Colby Lewis can be effective.

Saunders' Rangers tenure hasn't been too great so far. He made the one start in Tampa Bay — the Rangers' fourth game of the season — and gave up five runs (four earned) in 3 1/3 innings in a blowout loss.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: OU LB, Skyline Grad Accused of Sexual Assault]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:15:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460219353.jpg

Oklahoma starting linebacker Frank Shannon is accused of sexually assaulting a female student in his off-campus apartment, according to a report by The Oklahoman.

CLICK HERE to read more from our media partners at The Dallas Morning News.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[For the Mavs, the Playoffs Start Tonight]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:15:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459461465.jpg

The NBA Playoffs begin this weekend.

But Game 1 for the Dallas Mavericks comes Wednesday night.

The Mavs have already clinched a post-season berth and can reach the rare air of another 50-win season tonight. But the stakes are much greater as they face the Grizzlies in Memphis: Avoiding the Spurs.

San Antonio was the league’s best team all season and the veteran Spurs swept both the Mavs and the Grizzlies, 4-0. Neither team wants a piece of the No. 1 seed, and the winner of tonight’s regular-season finale gets to side-step the Spurs and instead get a matchup with No. 2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder.

With not having played since Saturday and not play again until Saturday – at the earliest – there’s no reason to rest Dirk Nowitzki or any players tonight. The winner tonight gets the No. 7 seed. And – whether either team will admit it – the stakes are high.

Memphis and Dallas each have wins over the Thunder this season and undoubtedly like their chances against Kevin Durant than Tim Duncan. The Grizzlies, who qualified for the playoffs by winning in Phoenix Monday night, have won 13 consecutive home games.

The way the Spurs have dominated the league in general, and the Mavs in specific – nine consecutive wins over two seasons – just winning one game in a series against San Antonio would be an accomplishment. Beating the Thunder four times would be much more realistic.

In other words, welcome to the most meaningful meaningless regular-season finale in the history of the Mavericks.

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[Anthony Barr Was Starstruck by Jerry Jones]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:36:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/anthony-barr-jerry.jpg

In all likelihood (barring a trade), the Dallas Cowboys won’t have a chance at UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, who was at Valley Ranch on Tuesday for a pre-draft meeting with the team, as he’s a projected Top 10 pick. But if he slipped to No. 16 and Dallas grabbed him there, Barr would be a-OK with that.

“There’s pros and cons to every team and everywhere you go, but if I were a Cowboy, that would be really a blessing, truly a dream come true--a team I watched growing up,” Barr told the team’s official website. “It would just be surreal. I would be really appreciative to be here.”

A consensus All-American in 2013, the converted running back admitted to being a little taken aback by the whole experience here in North Texas--and a little starstruck by Jerry Jones.

“If you coach in the NFL, obviously you’re going to get some respect right off the bat,” Barr said. “But these guys that I’ve watched growing up and coaching, it’s just real humbling to speak with these guys. I met Jerry Jones last night, and I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t even talk at first, like, ‘This is Jerry Jones.’ It was a pretty cool experience, so these guys get my respect right off the bat.”

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[Gil Brandt: Cowboys Need a "Banner Draft"]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:46:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/gil-brandt-draft.jpg

Longtime Dallas Cowboys front office member Gil Brandt believes the team has backed itself into a corner over the past few years, and are now in dire need of a good draft.

Under the title of vice president of player personnel, Brandt (pictured here with UCF quarterback Blake Bortles) is generally considered one of the three men--along with Tom Landry and Tex Schramm--to build the franchise from 1960-1988. He left after Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989, and stayed away from football for a few years before returning as an analyst.

Now with NFL Network, Brandt believes the team he left 25 years ago is one of a few who have a lot riding on next month’s draft.

The Cowboys have been stuck at 8-8 for three years,” Brandt writes. “They're facing what promises to be a tough NFC East. And their salary-cap picture is not looking good. Which means they desperately need to have a banner draft.”

Dallas put itself behind the eight ball with a run of bad drafts--as Brandt says, “consider that none of the players they picked in the first round from 2005 to 2009 is still with the team (though Anthony Spencer, who is still a free agent at the moment, could change that if he re-signs with Dallas)”--but Brandt believes they may have stemmed that tide with the 2013 class, highlighted by center Travis Frederick (first round) and receiver Terrance Williams (third round).

“Owner Jerry Jones provides the tools the Cowboys need to be successful, in terms of money for scouting and supporting cutting-edge analytics,” he writes. “Dallas needs to have a dynamite draft--like the class we landed back in 1975, when we had 12 rookies make a team that went on to reach the Super Bowl.”

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[Eli Manning Glad to See Ware Leave NFC East]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:20:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/demarcus-vs-eli.jpg

As it turns out, when the Dallas Cowboys made the tough decision to part ways with all-time franchise sack leader DeMarcus Ware, both of the Manning brothers benefitted.

Peyton got a teammate who, if he can bounce back from the worst and most injury-plagued career of his season in 2013, will immediately upgrade the Broncos’ defense.  Eli was just glad to see Ware leave the NFC East where, as a member of the Cowboys, he made a habit of terrorizing the Giants’ signal caller twice a year.  

"Eli told me he was excited about DeMarcus leaving his division; he can no longer hit him,” said Peyton this week, per FOXSports.com. “And I'm glad he's on my team.”

To be sure, Ware quite enjoyed facing the younger Manning. His 13.5 sacks of Eli are his most on any quarterback and, as you may remember, Ware intercepted Manning’s first pass of the 2013 season--setting a tone of frustration for the Giants that would last all year.

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[Who's On, Who's Not?: April 16]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:54:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/alex-rios-rangers-081013.jpg

In a weekly staple, we'll discuss who's in a groove and who's in a rut for the Texas Rangers.

Who's On?

Kevin Kouzmanoff — In his six games since Adrian Beltre hit the DL, Kouzmanoff has picked up the slack nicely. Don't kid yourself, he's no Beltre, but he's had a nice run in this 6-game span, hitting .450 with a homer, three doubles and five RBIs. In case you're wondering, those numbers lead the team over the past week except for home runs, for which he is tied with three other guys.

Elvis Andrus — Andrus still isn't doing much damage to baseballs, but he's getting hits and getting on base. In his last six games, he's hitting .304 and does have two doubles in that bunch of hits. He's also stolen three bases but been caught twice.

Starting rotation — Aside from Tanner Scheppers, there's been a lot to be excited about with the starting rotation in the past week, whether it's Yu Darvish's scoreless streak, Martin Perez's continued maturation or Robbie Ross' stunning outing Tuesday night, there's plenty to be happy about. Oh, and Colby Lewis is back, y'all.

Who's Off?

Alex Rios — Since being moved to third in the Rangers' order, Rios has struggled with the absence of Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder hitting in front of him. After a torrid start to the season, Rios is hitting just .130 with two RBIs in the past six games.

Joakim Soria — Soria has struggled over the past week and was sat in favor of Alexi Ogando for a save situation on Sunday. Granted, Soria had thrown on consecutive days and is still probably not all the way back from Tommy John surgery, but there might be some concern there as he's posted a 4.50 ERA in his last two games with more walks than strikeouts.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Visit Georgia QB Aaron Murray]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:50:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/aaronmurray-cowboys.jpg

Having signed Brandon Weeden just about a month ago, the Dallas Cowboys have three quarterbacks on the roster--Weeden, Kyle Orton and, of course, Tony Romo--but that won’t stop them from making sure all their bases are covered going into next month’s NFL Draft.

A contingent of Cowboys staffers, including quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson are in Athens, GA today to look at (and meet with) former Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray.

As Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas points out, the team had a similar meeting with Weeden when he was coming out of Oklahoma State. They very predictably didn’t draft him--he went to the Browns with the 22nd overall pick in 2012--but the meeting helped their decision to bring him in when he was released by Cleveland last month.

Murray is projected to be a mid- to late-round selection, but Super Bowl winning head coach turned ESPN analyst Jon Gruden believes he could be “the steal for somebody” in this year’s draft.

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[Ace-Off: Overhyped and Underdelivered]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:57:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/darvish-hernandez-action.jpg

Texas Rangers ace and 2013 AL Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish hasn't given up a run in 15 innings this year. Seattle Mariners ace and former Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez is 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA and leads the American League with 30 strikeouts.

Tonight at Globe Life Park, the two will face off in what should be a great pitchers' duel of the highest order.

But in their history against each other, Hernandez takes the cake in a big way. The two haven't faced each other since 2012, when they squared off twice. In Darvish's first MLB season, he was 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA in those two starts. Hernandez? Well, he was 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA.

Darvish is a much different pitcher now than he was two years ago. Hernandez is pretty much the same, and pretty much the same is really good.

But the Rangers have had Hernandez's number in his career, especially in Arlington. But guess what? The three active Rangers with the highest batting averages against Hernandez are, you guessed it, Adrian Beltre, Jurickson Profar and Geovany Soto. We all know what those three have in common.

What's all this mean? Absolutely nothing. As enticing as the matchup is between two of the league's premier pitchers, we've seen this before, and we've seen it blow up.

Last season, Yu Darvish faced Justin Verlander in Arlington last May, and the Rangers came away with a 10-4 win, as neither pitcher was very impressive and especially not Verlander, who was chased in the third inning.

So, be my guest. Go to Arlington tonight expecting to be home in time to catch the second period of Stars-Ducks. Maybe you will. But don't be shocked if you're at the ballpark until 11 p.m. and both pitchers can't make it out of the fifth inning. Stuff like that happens, even though it defies all logic.



Photo Credit: NBC 5, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marinelli Would Move Anthony Barr to DE]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:24:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/anthony-barr-cowboys.jpg

Former UCLA linebacker and potential draft target Anthony Barr says Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli wants to convert him to defensive end if he winds up with the team in next month’s draft, and he says that’s fine by him.

Barr was in town for a pre-draft visit on Tuesday, where he met with Jerry Jones, Marinelli and the rest of the staff.

I spoke with him at length today,” Barr said of Marinelli, per the team’s official website. “He showed me a lot of tape of (Julius) Peppers and Simeon Rice and (Warren) Sapp, so I think he wants me playing that defensive right end position to go after the quarterback, and that’s something I’m all for.”

This wouldn’t be Barr’s first position change. He spent his first two years in college as a running back before converting to linebacker where, in his final year with the Bruins, he was named a consensus All-American.

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<![CDATA[Fielder Starts Things With First Bomb]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:09:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/484996979.jpg

Prince Fielder, with one swing of the bat on Tuesday night, brought an electricity that had been lacking at Globe Life Park in recent days. His first-inning bomb to dead center field off former Rangers prospect Blake Beavan not only gave the Rangers an early 1-0 lead that quickly became 2-0 with the next hitter, but it also seemed to ignite the crowd and the dugout while lifting a monkey off Fielder's back.

He finally had his first home run in a Rangers uniform, and if he has his way, it's going to be his first of many.

It had been evident in recent days that Fielder would soon break through. He was hitting the ball hard, but just not quite getting enough lift. With that swing, he got plenty, and he was trotting around the bases into a dugout of excited teammates that were quick to greet him.

Fielder also walked and scored a run in the eighth inning on a Kevin Kouzmanoff double after the slugger went 2-for-4 in Monday night's blowout loss to the Mariners.

With Adrian Beltre out of the lineup, the Rangers are desperate for someone to drive in runs in the heart of the order, and if Fielder can parlay his two good games into something bigger, the Rangers might be in business, especially with how well the starting rotation has done since Yu Darvish made his first start of the season on April 6.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>