<![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 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:47:09 -0500 Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:47:09 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![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.”

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<![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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<![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.”

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<![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.

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<![CDATA[Hoops with Grand Prairie Cops at YMCA ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 20:30:09 -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.

The first game will begin Thursday at 9 p.m.

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

"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.
 

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<![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.”

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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.

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<![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.

 

 

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<![CDATA[Jerry Says He'd Consider Bringing Josh Brent Back]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:56:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/158440597.jpg

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes former defensive tackle Josh Brent is deserving of another opportunity in the NFL and he says he would consider bringing the 26-year-old back.

"We have stood with Josh Brent from the very beginning and continue to," Jones said, per ESPN Dallas. "Josh Brent deserves an opportunity. He has made a terrible mistake. He knows it. I know firsthand he has contrition. I know that. And so, yes, I will consider giving him an opportunity."

Brent was just recently released from jail after serving five months for intoxication manslaughter, stemming from the December 2012 single-car wreck that killed his teammate and best friend, Jerry Brown, Jr. At the beginning of training camp last year, Brent retired from the game, meaning he’d have to file reinstatement papers with the league if a comeback is in the cards.

"I think we go to ask the other side of the question," Jones added. "Do you get a chance to start over? Do we believe in paying your dues and getting a chance to start over? That's the other side of that. Principally in this country, we believe in giving an opportunity to pay your dues and pay your penalty and move forward. I don't know the detail of where he is or on what basis we even have to consider him rejoining the team, but it will be certainly be something I consider."

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<![CDATA[Three Cheers for Jon Daniels on Soria Trade]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:26:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jon-daniels-rangers.jpg

Joakim Soria was pretty great for the Texas Rangers since winning the closer's job during spring training heading into the once promising 2014 season.

Unfortuantely, he's been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise lost season, and now he's gone after general manager Jon Daniels shipped off the rehabbed closer to bolster a Detroit Tigers bullpen for what they hope is a World Series run.

It's the official white flag of the Rangers' season, if you needed an official one. Trading Jason Frasor last week is one thing. Trading your closer is something different.

With that said, Daniels deserves a big, hearty pat on the back for the deal he made for Soria, who has an affordable club option for 2015 and could've easily been a part of the Rangers' plans next season. The Rangers received the Tigers' No. 2 and No. 4 prospects in return for Soria, a huge haul for a closer going to a somewhat desperate team with an aging owner.

Former UT closer Corey Knebel and former Rockwall Heath pitcher Jake Thompson are both coming back to Texas, and they immediately become two of the Rangers' top pitching prospects. Knebel, who has already had a swim with the Tigers this season, will be assigned to Triple-A Round Rock, but don't expect him there for too long. Thompson will go to Frisco as a starter as a guy who's allowed a grand total of three home runs in more than 90 innings this season as a dominant groundball pitcher.

It's hard to imagine how Daniels seemingly swindled the Tigers out of both of these guys, but he did, and he deserves credit. Of course, you never know how prospects will end up panning out but on paper this looks really good for Daniels and for the Rangers moving forward.



Photo Credit: NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Jason Garrett is Coaching For His Job in 2014]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:41:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jason-garrett-camp-2014-01.jpg

And awaaaay we go …

The Cowboys haven’t held their first training camp practice in Oxnard and already Jerry Jones has told he first fib.

“In terms of the record this team, this is not a make-or-break situation for Jason (Garrett) and members of this staff,” the owner said Wednesday afternoon in his annual state-of-the-union address.

Raise your hand if you believe that one.

Didn’t think so.

Garrett enters the final year of his contract with a 29-27 record, three consecutive 8-8 seasons and exactly zero playoff appearances despite coaching in the prime years of Tony Romo, Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware and being given an abundance of young talent in Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Sean Lee, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and Tyron Smith.

Only eight of the 90 players on the current roster are holdovers from Wade Phillips’ team. Garrett has changed players, tweaked systems and improved the culture of accountability at Valley Ranch.

But, let’s face it, he hasn’t done enough. He hasn’t won. He hasn't made enough progress, if any.

Despite what Jones says, if the Cowboys don’t make the playoffs in 2014 Garrett will be fired as head coach. And should be.

“I know firsthand that we've got a relationship, that I have a relationship with Jason and there's nobody that has a better feel for me than Jason, in terms of the relationship,” Jones explained. “We both know where our expectations are and when it's looking good and when it's looking dire. And I don't expect it to be the latter.”

You didn’t expect the owner to kick-off training camp with a win-or-else ultimatum for his head coach. Because he didn’t have to.

Regardless of the rhetoric, we all know Jason Garrett is coaching for his job.

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["State of the Cowboys" Observations]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:39:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/garrett-jones-camp-day0-03.jpg

A few quick thoughts from Wednesday's opening press conference from Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett here, then it's back to fish tacos and ocean breezes for me...

1. Armageddon 2.0? Last year, it was, "this isn't an Armageddon season" for Garrett. This year, Jones stayed away from fire and brimstone by describing 2014 as, "not a make-or-break season" for Garrett, at least regarding the team's record. I firmly believe Jerry really likes Jason and is going to do everything he can to keep him around in 2015, barring the team ending up with a top-5 pick in the NFL Draft. That said, another year out of the postseason (which is likely, considering Dallas' unbelievably difficult schedule) would have the Cowboys fan base continuing its downward spiral beyond its already frustrated state. The 2014 season very well could be make-or-break for Jason Garrett, no matter what Jerry Jones is saying on July 23rd.

2. Josh Brent, Jerry? I think it's fair to say the media was pretty surprised to hear Jones speak so candidly about the Cowboys interest in bringing back Josh Brent once he serves his suspension (likely) on the way from Roger Goodell's office. Brent was convicted of intoxicated manslaughter in a wreck that resulted in the passing away of his Cowboys' teammate, Jerry Brown, and was just recently released from prison. After his press conference, Jones (per usual) conducted a walk-and-talk media session for reporters who thought 30 minutes of Jerry and Jason talking wasn't enough. In that interview, Jones said, "Josh Brent deserves an opportunity. He has made a terrible mistake and he knows it. I know firsthand he has contrition, and so, yes, I will consider giving him an opportunity."

3. They like Brandon Weeden. One of the reasons the Cowboys were willing to allow Kyle Orton to walk away from the team and into retirement was, according to Jerry, that they liked what they saw from former first round quarterback Brandon Weeden in offseason workouts. Don't show that sentence to a Cleveland Browns fan. The members of the Pound in Ohio will tell you that Brandon Weeden is not a good football player. That said, my colleague at NBC 5, Newy Scruggs, made a great point on our Blue Star Blog webcast. Newy believes Weeden is better than what he showed with the Browns because, well, nobody looked good with the Browns while he was there. Weeden put up huge numbers in college at Oklahoma State, and is (selfish point here) one of the better soundbites I've chatted with in a pro football locker room. However, he's been widely criticized for his decision making (26 interceptions in 23 career games). I'm very interested to see him play in the preseason.

4. Romo is full go. Mike Fisher from 105.3 The Fan tweeted in the week leading up to Cowboys training camp that Tony Romo was working out in "a cardio spin class" to get ready. That sounded to me like a quarterback preparing to be a full participant in training camp. And then Jason Garrett told the media Wednesday that he anticipates Romo will be "ready to go in all aspects" when the team takes the field for the first time Thursday. Romo is coming off his second back surgery in the last two years, and without a proven backup quarterback (see point #3 above), Dallas desperately needs him to play a full season at a high level.

5. The best linebacker Nick Saban's coached? The Cowboys are beginning to stock up on players who have not lived up to their NFL Draft first round selections. Along with Weeden (again, see #3), Dallas signed former first round pick Rolando McClain to a deal, hoping he can fill the void left when Sean Lee went down with a torn ACL in offseason workouts. McClain didn't totally live up to the hype when the Raiders made him the eighth overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, although he did lead Oakland in tackles in 2011. McClain has been hampered by a handful of off-the-field incidents, and actually retired at the age of 23 before agreeing to the deal with Dallas. We'll get our first look at Rolando on the field Thursday before he'll be gone briefly (he's due in court in Alabama Friday because of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges filed in 2013). Garrett said he expects McClain to be back from Alabama and in practices this weekend, and that he remembered Nick Saban calling the former Alabama linebacker one of the best players he'd ever coached. Jones said his motivation in bringing in McClain was mainly the injury to Lee, and that, "I know a lot of successful people who have quit and come back." McClain will have the opportunity to face his former team, the Raiders, in practice in Oxnard in a few weeks. Oakland and Dallas will have joint practices in Oxnard Aug. 12 and 13.



Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 5 Sports Goes Inside Cowboys Camp]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:38:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pat-newy-webcast-072314.jpg NBC 5 Sports' Newy Scruggs and Pat Doney preview Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, California.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Giants "Rejuvenated" by New Offense]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:32:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP681223174027_6.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys’ New Jersey-based rivals, the New York Giants have been rejuvenated by the installation of a new offense, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Longtime Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride retired this offseason, and was replaced by former Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo. We’d imagine the acquisition was motivated at least in part by New York’s hope that McAdoo can do with Eli Manning--who threw a whopping 27 interceptions in 2013--what he did with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.

Or at least cut down on that interception total.

“I felt like this would be an opportunity for us to rejuvenate those veteran players who were here, Eli for one, to force all of us to learn, again, a new system, a new communication process,” Coughlin told ESPN’s Josina Anderson recently, via Pro Football Talk. “For 10 years we had used the same system--we got two Super Bowls and accomplished an awful lot of things offensively--but last year wasn’t one of those years. We turned it over way too much.”

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[3 Questions for Cowboys Training Camp]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:57:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Camp-Plane-072314.jpg

Welcome to beautiful Oxnard, California, where the weather is perfect (I'm writing this on a 70-degree morning while sitting on a bench overlooking the ocean) and the only thing that gets me more fired up than a Pacific Ocean breeze is this: football season is here.

Hallelujah.

The Dallas Cowboys will open training camp with their first official practice of the 2014 season Thursday, beginning the journey to what they hope is the franchise's first playoff season since 2009.

Here are three questions I'll be looking to find the answers to over the next three weeks following the team:


1. How's your back Tony... really? The Cowboys quarterback isn't given enough credit for the way he finished the 2013 season -- leading Dallas to a road win in our nation's capital while a back injury that would eventually require surgery barely allowed him to walk after the game (you should have seen him hobble to the podium for his postgame press conference). That said, with Kyle Orton now enjoying the early dinners and discounted green fees of retirement, I think it's safe to say -- the Cowboys season comes down to if Romo is able to play 16 games. Brandon Weeden may not have been given a fair shake with the problems in Cleveland while he was there, but that's not a theory the Cowboys are hoping to have to test at any point this season. I, and every other writer, photographer, and radio show host in Oxnard will be watching every move Tony Romo makes to see -- how's your back, Tony... really?

2. Who is William Wallace? Leadership is so important in professional sports (in life, really). So, when the Cowboys decided to allow DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher leave in free agency and then Sean Lee went down with a knee injury in offseason workouts, it left me wondering -- who is playing the role of Mel Gibson in Braveheart on this squad? You know, the guy rocking the blue face paint that every other person on the field is looking to when times are tough? Typically, that position on an NFL team is earned, and the training camp grind is fertile ground for a player looking to grow respect from his teammates. So, which of the Cowboys players wants to become William Wallace?

3. Is "the process" actually making progress? I've invented a fun little game here in Oxnard. I'm going to count the number of times Jason Garrett says the word, "process," in his press conferences during training camp. The over/under is 500. The Cowboys head coach has been preaching the "it's a process" message consistently since he took over as head coach. I think that philosophy, along with eating an elephant one spork bite at a time, makes for a a great speech and is logical. But speeches, messages and inspirational posters with pictures of lighthouses on the wall mean nothing if the recipients aren't really listening. It's no secret: this is a must-win year for Jason Garrett and the Cowboys. He's survived and advanced as Jerry Jones' head man in a way that would make the writers from the Fast and Furious series proud. But I want to see if players are listening during this training camp. I mean really listening. Because if they're not engaged and fired up by what Garrett's preaching in late July? That's a very bad sign for what's to come in November and beyond. So, is "the process" really making progress?

 



Photo Credit: Pat Doney, NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Look to "Get Through That 8-8 Rut"]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:47:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/185430300.jpg

After three consecutive .500 seasons, the Dallas Cowboys won’t be wanting for any motivation when they open camp practices on Thursday.

The Cowboys haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009, a drought so long that a good deal of the bigger stars on the current roster--Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray, the list goes on--still haven’t seen the postseason. Neither has Jason Garrett, as a head coach. He was but an offensive coordinator for that run five years ago.

That said, recent history hasn’t put a damper on the optimism at Cowboys camp in sunny Oxnard, CA.

It’s never too early to think that,” said safety Barry Church, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “That’s our goal going into Day 1 of the off-season was to get to that goal of the Super Bowl. We have to get through that 8-8 rut and we have to make the playoffs first. It starts one game at a time and we’re just going to focus that way.”

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[Report: Redskins Will Put Jason Hatcher on PUP List]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:33:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jason-hatcher-shoulder-injury.jpg

Longtime Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher will start his first training camp with the Washington Redskins on the physically unable to perform list, ESPN 980 reports (via CSN Washington). He’ll be joined on the PUP list by fellow former Cowboys defensive lineman, Stephen Bowen.

Hatcher, who signed a four-year, $27.5 million deal with $10.5 million guaranteed back in March, is coming off arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The procedure comes with a recovery time of four to six weeks, and he is a few weeks into it.

Bowen finished last season on the injured reserve with a knee issue of his own--a torn right PCL which required microfracture surgery. The timetable for his return is somewhat less clear than that of Hatcher.

Players can come off the PUP list at any time, and while they’re not permitted to practice until coming off, they can attend all team meetings and count against the 90-man camp roster.

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?: July 23]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:25:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/451822340.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?

Rougned Odor — Over his last five games, the 20-year-old second baseman is starting to heat up again after a bit of slump, and the rookie keeps showing he might have a long-term future with the club. In those five games, Odor is batting .389 with a double, a triple and two RBIs, and he has just two strikeouts in those 18 at-bats.

Miles Mikolas — Yes, Miles Mikolas. On Tuesday night, he shined on the biggest stage in baseball when he tossed 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs in his first big-league win as a starter over the Yankees in The Bronx.

Yu Darvish — Darvish was on point in his last outing, striking out 12 in just 6 2/3 innings in his first start out of the all-star break.

Who's Off?

Adrian Beltre — The ever-hot veteran third baseman is in a rare cold snap right now, as he's batting just .174 with a homer in his last five games.

Elvis Andrus — Things continue to regress for Andrus, who's now batting .208 in his last five games with one RBI and four strikeouts.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Darvish Looking to Build on Last Start]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:13:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Darvish.jpg

Yu Darvish wasn't the Yu Darvish the Texas Rangers have grown accustomed to over the course of nearly a month leading up to the MLB all-star break.

In his five starts leading up to the break, Darvish was 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA and saw his season ERA climb from 2.11 to 2.97.

After pitching a clean inning in the All-Star Game, Darvish made the Rangers' first start out of the break on Friday night in Toronto and was dazzling, working 6 2/3 innings and fanning 12 Blue Jays hitters, keeping up his league-leading 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

On Wednesday night, Darvish will make his next start in The Bronx and try to tackle the short porch in Yankee Stadium, where he's only pitched once in his career. In that outing, Darvish allowed three runs — all on solo homers — in 5 1/3 innings while taking a no-decision.

Darvish recently made some comments about how it can be hard to stay motivated at times like these, with his team in a losing tailspin, and the Rangers likely didn't enjoy hearing those comments. Wednesday night will be a good chance for the ace to turn in another stellar, deep outing and get the Rangers' back in the win column after a 14-inning loss on Tuesday that saw the Rangers use their entire bullpen.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rolando McClain Due in Court Friday]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:51:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rolando-mcclain-cowboys.jpg

Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain is in Oxnard, CA with his new teammates for the opening of training camp, but he might not be there for too much longer.

On Friday, the day after the Cowboys are scheduled to hold their first practice of camp, McClain is due in Decatur (Alabama) Municipal Court on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. McClain attempted to have his court date delayed, but Judge Bill Cook, Jr., denied the request.

The charges stem from McClain’s April 2013 arrest and, according to Decatur Municipal Court Clerk Jessica Haggard, his court date has already been postponed three times.

The Cowboys signed McClain on July 1, after the former Raider and Raven spent a year retired and out of the game, and view him as a low risk, high reward addition. To wit, unless McClain plays in 50 percent or more of Dallas’s defensive snaps in 2014, the team won’t have to give up anything to the Ravens in exchange for him.

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[Martinez Looks Promising in Return]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:04:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/451579310.jpg

After a fairly solid start to his first big-league season was derailed with an 0-5 stretch over seven starts with an ERA of 8.10, Texas Rangers 23-year-old righty Nick Martinez was placed on the disabled list on July 2 with discomfort in his side, another injury blow a Rangers team that has suffered far too many this year.

Martinez probably should still be pitching in Frisco and still waiting to make his big-league debut at some point in 2015, but has been a member of the Rangers' staff for most of the season. But on Tuesday night, Martinez made his return from the DL in The Bronx, and did really well for himself.

The youngster worked 5 1/3 innings and threw just 67 pitches before Ron Washington came to get him in the sixth inning after what he said were some shaky mechanics from his youngster who hadn't pitched in a few weeks.

"Ball was kinda leaking out a little bit," Martinez told reporters. "It's just my first time out [since the injury]. I felt my fastball sailed a little bit and I got away with that, and I just [have] to expect that the first time out in three weeks. And I felt real comfortable out there."

The Rangers have expressed their liking of Martinez's demeanor at such a young age and his approach to the game, even though he entered the 2014 season having pitched just five games above the Class-A level.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Frederick: "We're Out Here to Work"]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:58:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/travis-frederick-beard5.31.13.jpg

We’re just a day away from the Dallas Cowboys’ first practice of training camp 2014, and for players, it represents a sort of calm before the storm.

"It's truly work," said second-year center Travis Frederick, ESPN Dallas. "We're out here to work. We're out here to make our team better. I think that the team's done a really good job of doing things in the offseason. I can speak especially for the offensive line and tell you that our group has put in the work and we're ready to go. I know that we've seen that throughout the other (groups). We don't always get to work out with everybody else but every chance that I've seen guys are in here working, they're working extra and guys are excited and ready to go."

The mindset on the other side of the ball is pretty much the same. Starting safety and (suddenly) a veteran leader among the secondary, Barry Church says the super-competitive nature of camp is beneficial for all involved.

"The mindset is just to get better as a whole and as a defense specifically," Church said. "I'm part of the defensive side. When we go out there we just make sure everybody--from top to bottom, either first string or fourth string--knows their playbook front and back."

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[Raymond Felton, Mavs' New Shooting Guard? ]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:21:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_raymond_felton_knicks_arrested_st.jpg

Remains to be seen if new Maverick Raymond Felton can shoot. But we’re already certain he owns a gun.

Felton, acquired by the Mavs in the Tyson Chandler trade earlier this month, pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge in New York on Wednesday. He was sentenced to 500 hours of community service and fined $5,000, but spared any jail time.

Felton admitted he knowingly had a large-capacity ammunition magazine and a pistol without a license.

But Felton’s off-the-court problems are only part of Dallas’ concerns. The 30-year-old missed 17 games with the Knicks last season with various injuries and averaged a career-low 9.7 points on abysmal 39-percent shooting.

Unsure about Felton’s place on the team, the Mavs are considering using their $2.7 million salary-cap exception on another veteran guard. They yesterday interviewed former Magic guard Jameer Nelson and have already talked to veteran Mo Williams.

The Mavs also on Wednesday officially voided the contract recently offered to Rashard Lewis when his physical revealed that the veteran small forward requires knee surgery this offseason. 

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: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Newhouse One of the Most Underrated Cowboys]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:27:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP449208758918.jpg

I was a wide-eyed 9-year-old when I ran into the ‘House.

Robert Newhouse, that is.

Growing up a huge Cowboys fan, I was giddy when the family took me to Duncanville High School’s gym one summer night for something called Donkey Basketball. I kid you not. It was Cowboys players, riding donkeys and attempting to play basketball. As confused as I was, I was even more elated.

After the game the players signed autographs. And one of my most cherished belonged to No. 44. He wasn’t one of the biggest or most talented Cowboys ever, but he was one of the Top 10 toughest. His running style was beast mode before Marshawn Lynch took his first handoff.

Newhouse died Tuesday at 64 after a long illness including a stroke and heart disease.

A product of Longview, Newhouse played at the University of Houston before joining the Cowboys in ’72. With turbine-like, 44-inch thighs, Newhouse spent a decade bulling for tough inside yards or opening holes as the lead fullback blocker for Hall-of-Famer Tony Dorsett. In ’75 he rushed for 930 yards with two touchdowns and with 4,784 yards remains fifth on Dallas’ all-time rushing list.

Tackling him was like trying to harness a bowling ball.

Newhouse’s most memorable play was his halfback pass to Golden Richards for a touchdown in Super Bowl XII. His most memorable moment? When, after a typical run when he broke several tackles, Monday Night Football analyst Howard Cosell exclaimed of Newhouse: “Look at that little monkey run!”

I got to meet Newhouse and interviewed him several times. He was a genuinely good guy, and the most underrated Cowboys players of all-time.

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: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Arencibia's Solid Night Goes to Waste]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:58:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2014-rangers-jp-arencibia.jpg

J.P. Arencibia has had a historically bad season as a Texas Ranger — his stints with the big club being separated by months and on his second try to stick right now after being called up from Triple-A Round Rock last week to give first base a shot with the Rangers stocked at the catcher position.

Arencibia, whose one trick has always been his power, still isn't hitting well, but on Tuesday night he did hit his second home run since his promotion on Friday, which account for two his three hits since his return.

Now, Arencibia is batting a cool .139 with a .186 on-base percentage, three homers and 10 RBIs. He now has more total bases (23) than strikeouts (20), so hey, progress?

Anyway, Arencibia seemingly ended the Rangers' marathon game in The Bronx on Tuesday night when his 13th-inning blast broke a scoreless tie, but that wasn't his only good moment of the night. In the bottom of the 13th with the Yankees threatening to end it after they'd already tied the game off closer Joakim Soria, Arencibia fielded a hot shot to first and started a 3-6-4 inning-ending double play.

"I'm just glad I made it," Arencibia, who made his fourth start at first base on Tuesday night, told reporters. "I'm taking baby steps. Catch the ball, make the throw."

He still might go down as the worst Ranger in recent memory, but hey, for one night, he was pretty OK.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Rios Returning, Then Perhaps Leaving]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:52:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/487891357.jpg

Alex Rios will soon be back, and then perhaps gone.

As next week’s trade deadline approaches, the Rangers’ right fielder continues to be a hot commodity on a really cold, lifeless team. The Rangers’ 14-inning loss in New York dropped them 20 games under .500, their playoff hopes long ago drowned by injuries.

Rios should return to the lineup tonight after awkwardly twisting his right ankle on a foul-ball swing in Toronto last weekend. But his days in Texas may be numbered.

According to CBS insider Jon Heyman, Rios is attracting interest from teams like the Blue Jays, Royals, Mariners and Giants. Though his power numbers are down (four homers, 42 RBI), the 33-year-old Rios still hits for average (.304) and has above-average speed and arm.

The Rangers have a team option for Rios for 2015 and a $1 million buyout of his contract. Rios does own a veto clause to six teams, including the Royals.

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[Tepesch's Relief Appearance Not Smart]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:42:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/450355556.jpg

After Scott Baker had pitched the bottom of the 12th inning of a scoreless game against the New York Yankees on Tuesday and kept it that, the Texas Rangers broke through in the top of the 13th with a J.P. Arencibia homer to take a 1-0 lead.

That seemingly good moment ironically messed up the Rangers' pitching plan when, as he should have, manager Ron Washington brought closer Joakim Soria into the game for the bottom of the 13th to try to shut the door on the Yankees.

Well, he didn't. The Yankees tied the game to force a 14th inning, and while Baker could've easily still been in the game, he was long gone. Soria couldn't work another inning because he's a closer, and Washington had used his entire bullpen by that point.

So what did he do? None other than bring in starting pitcher Nick Tepesch, who's next scheduled to pitch on Friday night against Oakland. The same Tepesch who's a young, fairly promising starter getting a long-term audition in the Rangers' lost season.

Tepesch lost the game that inning, getting just one out, but that wasn't the issue. At this point, what's another loss? The issue was Washington going to a young starter in relief in a game that really meant nothing, as all the games do at this point.

At that point, Washington should've brought out Chris Gimenez or another position player to pitch the 14th with the thought that a loss is a loss is a loss at this point.

The Rangers said Tepesch would be set to still throw on Friday, but what's the point of risking it?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Darvish in Favor of Six-Man Rotation]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:34:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/452157648.jpg

Yu Darvish is in his third season in Major League Baseball, and so far, he's arguably on pace to become the greatest Japanese pitcher to ever pitch stateside, as his unique possession of power stuff, size and durability has made him different than most of his countrymen that came before him.

But there are still some things Darvish isn't sure of in the American game, as he detailed in Minneapolis last week during the All-Star Game festivities.

I think everybody has a hard time maintaining their health, and everyone has a risk of getting injured,” Darvish said to Japanese reporters during the All-Star break in Minneapolis last week. “It depends on how you lower the risk of getting injured. I think it is [coming] to the age where the individual has to take care of their own body. I think that is the difference-maker.”

At the root of all those concerns, of course, is the MLB schedule compared to that of Japan. In Japan, Darvish pitched every sixth day. Here, he pitches every fifth day. He's a workhorse and hasn't ran into any major problems yet, but he did suggest using a six-man rotation in America even though he said he doesn't think it'd fly (he's right).

"It's way too short,” he said, regarding the time between starts. “That's why they have pitch-count limitations, but pitch count doesn't have much to do with it. You could throw 120 pitches, 140 pitches and have six days' rest, and the inflammation on the ligament will all be healed. So I think that's it.”

With how expensive starting pitchers are on the market these days, it's hard to believe MLB owners would want to add another one to the mix, much less an extra roster spot.

Darvish also told Japanese reporters something about American baseballs, which we knew are larger than Japanese ones, but he added another caveat.

"They are all different, the size, there are deformed ones," Darvish said of the official MLB balls. "Japanese balls are all the same. It's great.”

Deformed balls? Who knew. Well, now you do.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas Cowboys Greet Fans in Oxnard]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:30:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Romo+Signs+Autographs.jpg The Dallas Cowboys arrived in Oxnard, California ahead of training camp. NBC 5's Pat Doney was there as the players greeted military members and their families.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Yankees Beat Rangers 2-1 in 14 Innings]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:19:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rangers072214.jpg

Chase Headley came through with a storybook swing at the stroke of midnight in his Yankees debut, hitting a game-winning single in the 14th inning to give New York a 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Derek Jeter broke Lou Gehrig's franchise record for doubles, and the Yankees won an unlikely pitching duel after both rookie starters entered with a 5.10 ERA.

J.P. Arencibia snapped a scoreless tie with a leadoff homer in the 13th against New York reliever David Huff, but the Yankees responded with Brett Gardner's leadoff double and Jacoby Ellsbury's tying single off closer Joakim Soria in the bottom half.

It was the second blown save in 19 chances for Soria, who kept Texas in it by getting Brian McCann to ground into an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former Cowboys RB Robert Newhouse Dies at 64]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:00:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/154581884.jpg

Robert Newhouse, who played running back for the Dallas Cowboys for 12 seasons and went to three Super Bowls, has died. He was 64.

Newhouse's son, Rodd Newhouse, says his father died Tuesday at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, after a battle with heart disease.

Newhouse had suffered a stroke in 2010.

The burly running back was drafted by the Cowboys in 1972 out of the University of Houston, where he ran for 1,757 yards as a senior, a school record that still stands.

Newhouse ran for 4,784 yards in his career with Dallas. He retired in 1983 after playing in three Super Bowls with some of the Cowboys greatest teams, including the 1976 NFL champions.

In the 1977 Super Bowl victory against Denver, Newhouse threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Golden Richards on a halfback option to help seal the win.

Newhouse was born in Longview and went to Galilee High School in Hallsville before enrolling at Houston. All three Cougars teams he played on finished the season ranked in The Associated Press Top 20.

He was taken in the second round of the draft by Dallas. He led the Cowboys in rushing in 1975 with 930 yards, but became most well known as a fullback leading the way for future Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, who Dallas drafted in 1977.

Newhouse is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughters, Dawnyel and Shawntel, and sons Rodd and Reggie, who played for the Arizona Cardinals in 2004-05.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Frederick Impressed by Martin's Development]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:07:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/zack-martin-minicamp.jpg

Cowboys rookie guard Zack Martin is in pretty much the same place center Travis Frederick was in at this time last year, going into his first NFL training camp as a first rounder, expected to make an immediate impact.

Frederick made good on those expectations in 2013, anchoring a rebuilt offensive line and earning All-Rookie Team honors, and obviously, Dallas is hopeful that Martin can put up a similar rookie campaign.

Thus far, Frederick has been impressed by Martin’s development.

I think so a little bit but he’s been doing a really good job,” Frederick told the team’s official website. “He did a great job in OTAs and mini-camp going through and really asking the questions that he needed to and putting himself in a good position, so I think that through this offseason he did a great job of learning all the plays and that, so maybe he can focus on some of the smaller things as well.

“At guard, there’s not quite as much to know as at center as far as seeing these and understanding what the defense is doing you still have to know, so I think it makes the learning curve a little less steep.”

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<![CDATA[Weeden Looking Forward to Oxnard]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:03:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brandon-weeden11.18.12.jpg

Gone from Cleveland after two disappointing seasons, quarterback Brandon Weeden is looking forward to his first training camp as a Dallas Cowboy. But he admits it’ll be tough to say goodbye to his wife and his new, three week old son.

That’s going to be tough, being away but at the same time I’m looking forward to practicing somewhere else,” Weeden said, per ESPN Dallas. “I always heard about Oxnard and the setup and the fan base that travels and the people that are out there already who are Cowboys fans. I heard it's first class, top-notch. I’m excited about that part and the weather, getting out of that 100 degrees is always nice.

“But having the little man around would’ve been nice. I’m going to miss him and the wife, but I think that’s part of playing this sport. There’s adversity you’ve got to get over.”

The offseason has been good to Weeden, for the most part. He was released by the Browns back in March but quickly found a new home with the Cowboys, where he believes he can make a much-needed fresh start. The little bundle of joy came and then, last week, holdout backup quarterback Kyle Orton’s release was made official, meaning Weeden is pretty much locked in as Tony Romo’s backup going into camp.

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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