<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth Sports News, Analysis, and Scores for the Giants, Jets. Patriots, Huskies, Knicks and More]]> Copyright 2015 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, 24 Jan 2015 22:14:49 -0600 Sat, 24 Jan 2015 22:14:49 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Inside High School Sports: Segment 4]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:33:12 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/IHSS_012415_Segment_4_1200x675_388769347859.jpg January 24, 2015: Keller's Nolan Taylor, along with head coach Randall Durant, are in studio as Taylor receives his MVP bobblehead.]]> <![CDATA[Inside High School Sports: Segment 3]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:26:07 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/IHSS_012415_Segment_3_1200x675_388770883753.jpg January 24, 2015: Highlights from Trimble Tech vs Arlington Heights, Denton Guyer vs Keller and Arlington Seguin vs Mansfield Timberview.]]> <![CDATA[Inside High School Sports: Segment 2]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:23:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/IHSS_012415_Segment_2_1200x675_388771907534.jpg January 24, 2015: Highlights from Prime Prep vs Pro Vision Academy, Plano vs Plano West, Mansfield Timberview vs Lancaster and Flower Mound vs FM Marcus.]]> <![CDATA[Inside High School Sports: Segment 1]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 21:21:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/IHSS_012415_Segment_1_1200x675_388769347939.jpg January 24, 2015: Highlights from Mesquite Poteet vs Rockwall Heath, Duncanville vs DeSoto, Garland Lakeview Centennial vs Rowlett, TC Addison vs Plano Prestonwood, plus the story of Prestonwood's twin towers, D'Jerry Baptiste and Schnider Herard.]]> <![CDATA[Long Lines at Rangers Fan Fest]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 20:28:39 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/012415+Beltre.jpg Rangers fans waited hours in Arlington for autographs and activities from their favorite MLB baseball team.

Photo Credit: Lyle Davis, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Dufnering Revisited: Watkins and Dufner Discuss the 2013 Web Sensation]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:19:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Duffner_Revisited_1200x675_388740675628.jpg January 24, 2015: PGA golfer Jason Dufner and NBC5's David Watkins recap the Dufnering picture that took the internet by storm.]]> <![CDATA[Rangers Manager Jeff Banister: "Humbled, Proud, Excited To Be Here."]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:10:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Rangers_Awards_Banister_Web_1200x675_388698179653.jpg January 24, 2015: New Rangers manager Jeff Banister stepped up to the podium and shared his views on the upcoming season during the Rangers awards dinner.]]> <![CDATA[Ernie Banks Mourned]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 17:38:48 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Ernie-Banks-Chicago-Cubs.jpg

Ernie Banks is a Chicago legend who touched many lives, both on and off the field. He embodied the spirit of the Chicago Cubs and united fans as an unwavering point of pride for the team.

Fans across the country and in Wrigleyville are mourning the loss of "Mr. Cub," who passed away Friday at the age of 83. Here's what some of his big-name fans are saying.

President Obama and Michelle Obama: "He was beloved by baseball fans everywhere, including Michelle, who, when she was a girl, used to sit with her dad and watch him play on TV. And in 2013, it was my honor to present Ernie with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Somewhere, the sun is shining, the air is fresh, his team's behind him, and Mr. Class -- 'Mr. Cub' -- is ready to play two."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel: "Ernie Banks was more than a baseball player. He was one of Chicago's greatest ambassadors. He loved this city as much as he loved -- and lived for -- the game of baseball. This year, during every Cubs game, you can bet that No. 14 will be watching over his team. And if we're lucky, it'll be a beautiful day for not just one ballgame, but two."

Gov. Bruce Rauner: "Ernie Banks was a trail blazer who helped break down barriers, a veteran who served his country with honor, a respected community leader and the greatest Chicago Cub of all time. While we mourn him here, there's no doubt that up in heaven, 'Mr. Cub' is lacing up his cleats an asking Saint Peter if they can 'play two.'"

Sen. Dick Durbin: "'Mr. Cub' was so much more than a great hitter and Gold Glove fielder. His infectious love for the game of baseball was matched only by his passion for the people of Chicago ... His positive, hopeful Cub view of life filled every room and every baseball diamond he ever touched."

Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs: "Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball. He was one of the greatest players of all time. He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I've ever known."

John McDonough, president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks: "Ernie was an illuminating superstar who was personable, humble and selfless. He was also the greatest player to ever wear a Cubs uniform. He loved the Cubs, Wrigley Field and the city of Chicago. The Friendly Confines were always a bit friendlier when he was around. I will miss him."

Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State: "I was honored to learn many things from him while I was in the Cubs organization. And I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with him throughout the years in our joint efforts to help others. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to his friends. I was privileged to have played baseball with him, and to call him my friend. Ernie Banks -- Mr. Cub -- will be missed."

Rev. Jesse Jackson: "He was not only a great baseball player, but beyond his talent as a shortstop and eventually a first baseman, was his character, his eternal optimism -- "let's play two today" -- and his personality was a racial bridge builder. He treated all people with dignity and respect. He never stopped reaching out to bridge the racial chasms."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Life and Times of Ernie Banks]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 08:18:58 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ernie_banksP11.jpg Ernie Banks is a baseball legend, the first African American to play for the Chicago Cubs and the first black manager in Major League Baseball. He is known for his skills at bat and in the field, as well as his sunny, positive attitude and love for the game. Click to see pictures from throughout this memorable figure's life.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Great Ernie Banks Dies at 83]]> Sat, 24 Jan 2015 09:06:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ErnieBanks2014.jpg

Ernie Banks, the Chicago Cubs great who was affectionately known as "Mr. Cub" and was the face of the franchise for decades, has passed away at the age of 83. 

Banks was the first African-American to don a Cubs uniform, and it was the only one he would wear.

In a 19-year career, Banks slugged 512 home runs, drove in 1636 RBI, and perhaps more than any other player who has ever played for the franchise embodied the spirit of the club in the eyes and hearts of Cubs fans.

Even after his playing career came to an end in 1971, Banks continued to be an ambassador for the team.

He was a constant fixture at Cubs games, often singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" after the passing of Harry Caray in 1998, and he was one of the most popular figures at the annual Cubs Convention.

Banks made his MLB debut in 1952 at the age of 22 years old, and as his career went on he cemented his status as a legend. He was never better than in the 1958 and 1959 seasons. He won the MVP award in both seasons, and he set career highs in both home runs and RBI in those seasons. 

Unfortunately for Banks and the Cubs, he never made it to the postseason as a member of the team. In the 1969 season, Banks teamed up with fellow legends Ron Santo and Billy Williams and led the team to a massive lead in the standings as August ended. As September unfolded however, the Cubs faded badly, and they missed out on the postseason as the New York Mets surged and ultimately won the World Series title. 

Despite not having postseason experience on his resume, Banks was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, and he never stopped being an ambassador for the game and for the team. His indomitable spirit and constant optimism were a bright spot for the Cubs through some of the team's leanest years, and despite teams coming close in 1984 and 2003, Banks' teams were the ones that fans still talk about and remember.  

"Words cannot express how important Ernie Banks will always be to the Chicago Cubs, the city of Chicago and Major League Baseball," Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "He was one of the greatest players of all time.  He was a pioneer in the major leagues. And and more importantly, he was the warmest and most sincere person I've ever known.  Approachable, ever optimistic and kind hearted, Ernie Banks is and always will be Mr. Cub. My family and I grieve the loss of such a great and good-hearted man, but we look forward to celebrating Ernie's life in the days ahead."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Patriots Face a Test in Seahawks' Read-Option]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 23:19:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/russwillsea.jpg

To beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, the Patriots know they’ll have to contain running back Marshawn Lynch. Yet here’s the problem: If they focus too much attention on Lynch, quarterback Russell Wilson may burn them.

Wilson led all NFL quarterbacks in rushing in 2014 with 849 yards. In fact, Wilson ranked 16th in the league in rushing. And when Wilson does take off, his plays can be painful for defenses. He averaged 7.2 yards per attempt, had eight runs of more than 20 yards and scored six touchdowns.

What New England will face on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1, is the Seahawks’ read-option scheme, which forces defenses to choose between focusing on Lynch or being cautious, in case Wilson pulls the ball out and sprints around the defenders crashing on Lynch.

Against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks’ read-option was very effective. On 17 read-option plays, Seattle’s Lynch or Wilson gained 121 yards and scored two touchdowns. Most of the time, Lynch got the ball. But late in the game, Wilson had two key carries on the read-option that resulted in 16 yards and a score.

“They execute the read-option at a very high level,” Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia told the Boston Herald this week. “It’s extremely dangerous. They do it from a number of different looks. They obviously have tremendous skill players that can handle the ball and handle that type of offense.”

The read option, however, is not unfamiliar to the Patriots, who’ve faced it many times over the past two years. In fact, coach Bill Belichick brought Tim Tebow into camp last year largely to run the offense against his defenders.

One tactic is to emply a spy -- a defender whose responsibility it is to keep his eyes on Wilson and not let him break free if he decides to fake the handoff to Lynch. That spy might be delegated by how the Seahawks line up. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has played the role well before, as has linebacker Jamie Collins.

Last season, Ninkovich played spy against Cam Newton of the Panthers.

But whoever it is, he’ll have to stay vigilant. Even one play where he’s tricked or loses concentration -- as happened to the Packers late in Seattle’s comeback win -- could be costly.

Ninkovich has said in the past that the read-option scheme is simply “a green light to hit the quarterback.”

But Wilson is an extremely skilled, smart and patient ball handler who can also exploit overly aggressive defenders.

“You just have to be under control and know what your assignment is every time,” said Ninkovich.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Staubach Plans His Own "Deflategate" Investigation]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:41:54 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Roger+Staubach1.jpg NBC 5 caught up with legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and asked his opinion on the "Deflategate" controversy in the NFL. Staubach says he doesn't have all the facts but he's going to do his own investigation to see if he can tell the difference in an underinflated football and a properly inflated football.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Stars Sign Travis Morin to a 2-Year Extension]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:44:22 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456528096.jpg

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced Friday that the team has signed center Travis Morin to a two year contract extension.

This season Morin, 31, has registered 10 shots and a plus-1 rating in five games. He has recorded a team-leading 31 points in 30 games for the Texas Stars.

He led the American Hockey League (AHL) in scoring with 88 points in 66 games and was awarded the AHL's Lee Cunningham Award as the League's top player.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound native of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota has recorded one assist in 12 careers. He has posted 327 points during his 380 AHL games with Texas and Hershey. He is also the franchise leader for Texas in goals (113), assists (213) and points (326).

Morin was first selected by Washington in the ninth round (263rd overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft, and was signed by Dallas as a free agent on July 2, 2010.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ravens' Cody Being Investigated]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:41:22 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Terrence+Cody+157365657.jpg

Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody is under investigation for animal cruelty

The case deals with the death of Cody's dog, an $8,000 bull mastiff from Spain.

The case is being discussed with the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office.

The team said Friday morning it plans to release Cody after the Super Bowl but didn't give a reason, NBC Sports reports. His one-year contract is set to expire in the spring.

The Ravens selected Cody in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played in 57 games over five season but only one in 2014 after having hip surgery in the spring.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Packer Covering Dez Says it Was a Catch]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 15:53:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461347692.jpg

Even with the resurrection of its most popular and polarizing team – your Cowboys – it’s been a rough year for the NFL.

From concussion cases to Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson to botched officiating to, yes, Deflategate, pro football has seen better days. Oh yeah, about that botched officiating.

This will both sour and soothe the readers who keep yelling at me to “let it go!” Because while this is yet another angle of Dez Bryant’s catch/noncatch, it’s also my final angle.

Promise. I think.

Dez isn’t at this week’s Pro Bowl, because he’s protecting his future earning potential by nursing a sorta sore groin. But someone who is there is the player who covered him on the infamous incompletion in Green Bay, the Packers’ Sam Shields.

No one had a better view of the play. So what’s his opion?

“It was a catch,” Shields told ESPNDallas.com. “But the new rule and at the last minute what happened, that’s what the refs came up with. I never said he didn’t catch it. He made a hell of a catch.”

Bryant knows it. You know it. I know it. Even Shields knows it.

And, as if we needed more proof, we also all know the NFL is having a horrible season.

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[Cowboys Positional Grades: Tight End]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:27:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461029146.jpg

With the 2014 season in the rear-view, let's look back at how the Cowboys did on a position-by-position basis. We'll look at starters and contributors, not every last man on the roster.

Grade: B+

2014 stats: Jason Witten had 64 catches for 703 yards and five touchdowns, and Gavin Escobar added four more touchdown catches despite disappearing late in the season. James Hanna was used as a blocker in two-tight sets.

Witten had a very average year by his standards, but he deferred to the Cowboys' new identity of running DeMarco Murray 25 times a game and Tony Romo throwing it 20 times instead of 35. But he was huge down the stretch and in the postseason on key conversion downs, and really kept the Cowboys alive in that Lions playoff game even though that'll be forgotten in favor of the no-call pass interference on Anthony Hitchens.

Witten isn't the receiver he was 10 years ago, but he is such a solid veteran and is still one of the best tight ends in the game, and without debate, the best all-around true tight end in the game before the advent of wide receivers playing on the line like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jimmy Graham to Witten: You're an Idol For Me]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:26:02 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jimmy-graham-witten.jpg

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was glad to end up on the same Pro Bowl team as the Dallas Cowboys’ Jason Witten.

Witten and Graham were both drafted by Team Irvin and Graham, one of the best of a new breed of ultra-athletic tight end, took the opportunity to tell the veteran that he considers him a role model--and not just because he’s been among the best of the best at the position for over a decade and has the 10 Pro Bowl nods to prove it.

First thing I told him is that he’s an idol for me,” Graham said of Witten. “Him, on and off the field. Not only how he’s so consistent and him as a pro in the pass game and run game, but what he does for his community and his city. It’s been inspiring for me, and it’s something I try to emulate as much as I can.”

Witten, who was named Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2012, for his excellence on the field as well as his volunteer and charity work off the field, was honored by Graham’s words.

“Really, that’s what you play for--to have guys like that, who are the best of the best that come to you and say, ‘Hey, we respect you,’” Witten said of Graham. “He’s a young, bright star. He told me that (Wednesday) night that on the field he’s always watched me and off the field as well. And I’m glad that he views me like that. I’m really honored that he feels 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.

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<![CDATA[NFL Patriots Probe ]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 19:05:33 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/super-bowl-footballs-AP339355819322.jpg

The New England Patriots used footballs that were under-inflated in the first half of Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts, evidence so far in the National Football League's investigation has found. 

But the team's footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed to have been properly inflated at the conclusion of the game, the NFL said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The NFL's investigation into the "Deflategate" controversy involving the Patriots is ongoing, and 40 interviews have been conducted so far, including of Patriots personnel, game officials and third parties with relevant information and expertise, the league said. The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss.

The league said it has obtained and is continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information and physical evidence. It has also hired an investigatory firm with expertise in forensics to assist in reviewing electronic and video information.

"The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action," the statement said. "We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence."

The league said the Patriots have pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available upon request. In the coming days, the NFL will be conducting interviews, examining video and other forensic evidence, in addition to any relevant physical evidence.

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft also issued a statement on Friday, saying that he received a letter from the league on Monday informing him of the investigation. He said he instructed Patriots staff to be "completely cooperative and transparent with the league's investigators." During the three days the investigators were in Foxboro, he said the team provided access to every full- and part-time employee the league's representatives asked to speak with and produced every communication device that they requested to search.

"It is an ongoing process that the league and our team are taking very seriously," Kraft said. "Competitive balance and the integrity of the game are the foundation of what makes our league so special and I have the utmost respect for those principles. Our organization will continue to cooperate throughout the league's investigation."

The NFL began looking into the issue not only because doctoring the footballs could provide a competitive advantage, but because it would compromise the integrity of the game. Deflating a football can change the way it's gripped by a player, or the way it travels through the air.

"Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well," the statement said. "As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly."

No timetable was given by the NFL for when the investigation might be wrapped up.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has denied altering the ball "in any way," saying that he would never break the rules. Coach Bill Belichick said he had "no explanation" for what happened, and like Brady said the first he heard of the entire ordeal was on Monday morning.

The Patriots will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday, Feb. 1.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Rick Osentoski]]>
<![CDATA[Looking Away From Murray: Mike Davis]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:12:54 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456661852.jpg

One of the biggest offseason questions facing the Dallas Cowboys after their 13-5 season, and one that will need to be answered sooner rather than later, is whether they bring back running back DeMarco Murray on the heels of his record-setting season.

Emotion and sentiment says it's a no-brainer, but logic might say otherwise.

So what if the Cowboys let Murray walk after the greatest season in franchise history for a running back? Where could the Cowboys go as an alternative? There's talk of the Cowboys looking to the draft to replace Murray, which would likely require a first-round pick (No. 27) and definitely no later than their second-round selection.

A guy that could possibly be there when the Cowboys come up in the early rounds is South Carolina running back Mike Davis.

At 5-9, 220 pounds, Davis is a bowling ball back. While he isn't as flashy as some of the first-round talent such as Melvin Gordon, he has something that the Cowboys could covet in the early to mid rounds while still being able to go defense early in the draft — durability and workhorse potential.

If the Cowboys are going to move on from Murray, they need someone who can step into his shoes of carrying the ball 25-30 times a game because the idea wouldn't be to platoon a supposed "replacement" for Murray with Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. If the Cowboys are going to replace Murray, they need to replace him. Davis could do that, and not cost the Cowboys a fortune.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Romo Far From Satisfied]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:24:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461347814.jpg

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo arguably had his best season as a pro in 2014.

Romo threw 34 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions, and led the Cowboys to their first NFC East Championship since 2009. In the playoffs, he stayed hot, throwing four touchdowns and no picks in two games.

But, 12 days into his offseason, Romo is far from satisfied--which is understandable, considering the last throw of his season was that 4th-and-2 toss to Dez Bryant that could have set the team up at the Green Bay one-yard line with a very good chance to take the lead and advance to the NFC Championship, but instead was ruled an incomplete pass and a season-ending turnover on downs.

“You want to keep constantly trying to figure out new ways to improve,” Romo said, per ESPN Dallas. “You’re never satisfied. Last year is not a satisfying feeling. If anything, it makes you more hungry to be better going forward so you have an opportunity to achieve all your goals. Ultimately we didn’t get that done and that just never sits well. I’m a firm believer that you have to start over and go do everything you did to be better the next season. You can’t just rest on anything you’ve done. It just doesn’t work that way.

“I’m going to have to start over, tear it all down and figure out what I did well and work on the things I didn’t do as well and then go try and continue to perfect your craft to get to your highest level.”

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[Cowboys Draft Profile: CB Marcus Peters]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:55:24 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456225006.jpg

Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Ht. 6’0”, Wt. 198, Arm: -, Hand: -
40 yd: -, 10 yd.: - , 3 Cone: - , Bench: -
Games Watched: at Oregon St. (2013), at Stanford (2013), at Hawaii

If you think other games better reflect this player’s ability or you want to request a profile on a specific player, email me or hit me up on Twitter.

Washington cornerback Marcus Peters will be an interesting case to follow during the draft process. He's as talented in coverage as any cornerback prospect drafted in the last few years and he intercepted 11 passes in just 34 college games.

Peters was dismissed from the Washington football team, reportedly for arguing with coaches. So while his ability is evident on tape, scouts and coaches will have to rely on interviews to decide if his personality will fit their teams.

Strengths

Much like Randy Gregory, Peters is basically how NFL coaches would draw up a player at his position. He has ideal size and length for a cornerback and he uses it well, excelling in press-man coverage. In fact, he nearly knocked a Hawaii wide receiver over backward with his jam.

He plays tight coverage, especially man, and takes advantage of his recovery speed by often looking to jump routes. He blitzes well and tries to rip the ball out against runners. The NFL is a splash play league, and Peters plays like he understands that.

Peters plays the run better than most cornerback prospects from the last few years. He plants and drives (stops his backpedal and runs forward) very quickly and easily fights through blocks from wide receivers and even fullbacks.

Weaknesses

The obvious downside to Peters is his dismissal from school in November after reportedly having several arguments with coaches. Some NFL personnel evidently don’t think it’s much of an issue, but interviews will be very important.

The physicality and aggression he plays with can also be a detriment at times. He can be a bit “grabby” in man coverage, which the NFL clearly doesn’t like. Plus, looking to jump routes left him open to double moves at times as well.

Fluid hips (smooth transition from backpedal  to running, for example), might be the most important trait for a good cornerback. Peters isn’t stiff, but he’s not that smooth either. It’s a minor gripe, but NFL wide receivers will be able gain slight separation on breaks if he doesn’t improve.

Verdict: Top-15 Talent With Questions

Peters looks like the quintessential Seahawks cornerback, and he could probably step in that system and be another Byron Maxwell right now. The Cowboys need an injection of youth in the secondary, especially with Claiborne and Carr potentially being cut.

On talent alone, Peters should be gone well before the Cowboys pick 27th overall, but questions about his "character" might push him down or off some boards. Defensive tackle Josh Brent is still on the roster, so Jerry Jones seems willing to overlook a few transgressions.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rookie Martin Says Cowboys' Line Made Him]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:23:56 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456305802.jpg

All season long, we've heard about how the third in a line of three years of first-round draft picks on the offensive line, Zack Martin, made the difference this season in the Cowboys' offense and the overall team success.

He's often been called the "missing piece" to a line that was otherwise the same as the 2013 version that struggled to protect Tony Romo and didn't produce near the rushing numbers as it did in 2014.

But Martin, the rookie guard out of Notre Dame, sees it the other way.

In advance of his first Pro Bowl appearance in his first NFL season, Martin said he isn't sure he'd be in the Pro Bowl if not for the situation he was placed in to start his professional career.

“I don’t know if I’d be here right now if I didn’t get drafted in Dallas,” Martin told the team's website from the Pro Bowl in Phoenix, where he is one of eight Cowboys selected for the game. “It’s just right place, right time. [Martin’s offensive line teammates] hold you to a higher standard and bring out the best in you. I really couldn’t ask for a better spot.”

Martin says he's been helped tremendously by playing alongside second-year center Travis Frederick, a fellow Pro Bowler, and veteran right tackle Doug Free.

“I couldn’t have landed in a better spot, with a better group of guys that just want to be successful,” Martin said. “These guys have helped me so much this year. And I think as a group, we’ve just made an effort to get better and better and keep raising the bar.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witten: Murray's Worth Goes Beyond On-Field Production]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:23:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457134664.jpg

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray set a new franchise record in 2014 with 1,845 rushing yards, but his importance goes far beyond his on-field performance, according to veteran tight end Jason Witten.

Echoing what head coach Jason Garrett said shortly after the season came to an end in Green Bay, Witten credits Murray with playing an integral role in establishing the Cowboys’ identity in 2014.

“We’ve got good running backs. Joe Randle took advantage of every opportunity he got. I think [Lance] Dunbar’s got a great future ahead of him,” Witten said, per ESPN Dallas. “Obviously the O-line, but I think it would be silly to not give him the credit for what he did.

“It’s not easy to do that and I think Coach [Jason] Garrett said it a few weeks back that he created a mindset for our team and that’s not easy to do. He deserves a lot of that credit, DeMarco does, and so that’s why you want a guy like that back because he stands for everything you want in your football team.”

In 2014, Murray played 16 games for the first time in his career, as well as two playoff games. He finished with a league-high 392 carries the aforementioned 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns.

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<![CDATA[Witten Wants Murray to Remember Him]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:22:05 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460756556.jpg

Unless DeMarco Murray is handed the franchise tag this offseason, which isn't too likely considering Jerry Jones' apparent desire to either not use it at all or give it to Dez Bryant, it seems Murray will almost certainly have a decision to make this offseason on whether to stay in Dallas or go elsewhere.

One thing's for certain: The league's top running back in 2014 will get a better contract offer from some team other than the Cowboys, it'll just be up to him to decide what he wants to do — go for the biggest payday or stick around to finish what he helped the Cowboys start this season.

Before you go off on Murray for the idea of chasing a payday, keep this mind: The deal Murray signs this offseason will be his one shot at a big contract. That's just a simple truth for the life of an NFL running back given their relatively short shelf life.

But at least one of Murray's teammates hopes he doesn't solely base his decision on money.

"You want to see him maximize that but there’s no question that I hope he’s thinking about guys like me when he’s going through that decision," Witten told ESPN Dallas.

You get the sense Witten understands Murray's position and wants what's best for him, but he also wants what's best for him, which would be having a 2014 Murray season again in 2015.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Romo Campaigning for Dallas to Bring Back Murray, Bryant]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:20:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/175904189.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager said just last week that it might not be reasonable to think that the team can bring back both Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray in 2015, but that hasn’t stopped quarterback Tony Romo from campaigning for the team to do exactly that.

In an appearance on 103.3-FM ESPN Radio this week, Romo said he’s taken every opportunity to pester Jerry Jones and co. about keeping the band together.

"I’m pretty consistently [talking to Jones], and everyone around the building, about bringing them both back," Romo said, via the Dallas Morning News. "I think everybody understands how great these guys are and how lucky we are to have them.

"Any time you get talented guys where you can put more than two on one side of the ball, you get three, four, if you’re lucky enough to ever get five, it’s one of those things where if you can put a group like that together you can make a run and be very difficult for teams to deal with for years. I think that’s what you’re trying to build ultimately is to have sustained success. We have an opportunity to have that."

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<![CDATA[Stephen Jones: About Time Jerry Got Some Credit]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:19:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457124394.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was named the Pro Football Writers of America’s Executive of the Year this month, and his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones thinks it’s about time his old man got some recognition.

Jones has been criticized heavily for his work as GM over the years, but he put together a squad in 2014 that won the NFC East and won a playoff game for the first time since 2009.

Well I think it’s a long time coming,” Stephen Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Obviously, we won three Super Bowls in the 90s, and he played a big part of that. The job that this organization has done under his leadership and guidance as the general manager, I think, it’s well-deserved.

“Certainly, he’s done one heck of a job with really setting a tone and a way to do things with not only myself, but with our personnel department and our coaching staff and Jason [Garrett]. I think everybody has the utmost respect for him. And his passion and will to win, I think really trickles down the organization--starting with me, and then into Will [McClay] and his personnel department, Jason and the coaching staff and everybody else that touches the football field. I think it’s great that he finally got that acknowledgement.”

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<![CDATA[Rangers What-Ifs: Elvis Andrus]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:53:58 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rangers080114.jpg

With the season a few months away, what has to break right for the Rangers to contend again in 2015?

What if Elvis Andrus can finally become the offensive player the Rangers have hoped he'd become? What if he can get back to running the bases with controlled aggression and steal 40 bases? What if he actually comes to spring training in shape and becomes an elite defensive shortstop again?

After the way his 2014 season went in one of his worst big-league seasons across the board, it'd be a welcomed development.

The Rangers' problems in 2014 were too many to list here, but their lack of offensive punch due to injuries was a big one. Second on the list of offensive problems was Andrus, who was one of the few healthy Rangers last year but regressed into an average MLB shortstop, at the very best.

Andrus didn't do much well in 2014. He hit a career-worst .263 with a career-low .314 on-base percentage. He also led the league with 15 failed stolen-base attempts. He did have a career-high 35 doubles, which was one of the few bright spots of his season.

If Andrus can have a bounce-back season, and he's still only 26 years old, which is hard to remember at times, it will be a huge development for a Rangers lineup that desperately needs production from him. It'll be interesting to see where new manager Jeff Banister hits him in the lineup considering Ron Washington always insisted on hitting him second in the lineup despite his tendency to instantly kill rallies.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Soto Signs Minor League Deal With ChiSox]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:32:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/452498950.jpg

When the Texas Rangers traded a recently drafted starting pitcher prospect to the Houston Astros for veteran catcher Carlos Corporan to serve as the backup catcher for Robinson Chirinos this week, it signaled the end of the thought that the Rangers could possibly bring back Geovany Soto in the same capacity after trading him to Oakland last August.

Now, Soto is moving on, though he's doing so on a minor-league deal he's signed with the Chicago White Sox, returning to the Windy City, where he began his career with the Cubs and was voted the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year.

Soto had a solid year in 2013 but appeared in just 24 games in 2014 between the Rangers and A's after missing most of the year with a knee injury suffered in spring training. He also was arrested in Grapevine for marijuana possession during his rehab process in Frisco.

Soto is still relatively young, but it appears his best days are behind him as his career has been on a constant decline since that stellar rookie season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Prospect Suspended 50 Games]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:31:34 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/pain+pills.jpg

For the first time since 2012, a Texas Rangers prospect has been suspended for violating the commissioner's drug policy after Chris Grayson was handed a 50-game suspension on Thursday after testing positive for amphetamines.

Grayson, who isn't considered a big-league prospect, is a 25-year-old outfielder who split time between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Frisco last season.

During that time, he hit .265 with five home runs and 36 RBIs.

As The Dallas Morning News pointed out, Grayson is the first Rangers prospect to be suspended for drug use since Jake Skole in 2012, who also tested positive for amphetamines and was a more highly regarded prospect than Grayson.



Photo Credit: Consumer Reports]]>
<![CDATA[Perez Pleased With Elbow Rehab]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 14:30:34 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/488385711.jpg

The Texas Rangers made a big move earlier this week when they announced the acquistiion of Milwaukee Brewers veteran starter Yovani Gallardo, who they got via trade for three prospects and cash. It was a big deal for the Rangers because it strengthened arguably the biggest question mark (other than health) the Rangers are facing heading into 2015 — the starting rotation.

If all goes as planned, the Rangers could have another big name added to the rotation after the July all-star break in the form of young lefty Martin Perez, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery last May after he started the year 4-0 and was named the Rangers' Player of the Month for April after he tossed two straight complete-game shutouts.

Perez said the plan is for him to return after the all-star break, and so far he has been happy with his rehab and his progress, as he is now throwing from 105 feet.

"I feel great and I don't want to go too fast," Perez told Fox Sports' Anthony Andro. "I just want go slow so I am ready after the All-Star Game. Everything is OK now. I'm working hard and I know the team's going to need me after the All-Star break, and I just want to feel good."

Perez was off to a very promising start last season and appeared well on his way to picking up the slack left by the early injuries to Derek Holland and Matt Harrison and the uncertainty at that time of Colby Lewis.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Putting Balls To The Test]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:28:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/NC_deflatedballs0122001_1500x845.jpg University of Indianapolis football players take part in experiment to demonstrate the potential advantages of a partially deflated ball.]]> <![CDATA[Inmate Vows $88B Suit After Cowboys Win 'Stolen']]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:59:59 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/terry-hendrix.jpg

A prison inmate still reeling from the Dallas Cowboys' playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers has decided to take action to remedy to defeat, announcing intent to sue NFL officials for $88 billion for "gross stupidity" and "the loss of a Super Bowl."

In a hand-written notice, Terrance Hendrix, a 51-year-old inmate at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Colorado, accused the NFL and its officials of "committing fraud" and "gross negligence" when they overturned a potentially game-changing catch. He's seeking $88,987,654,321.88 — Bryant's jersey No. 88 book-ended by digits 9 through 1 — in damages on behalf of the team, its fans and "all people in or and from the sovereign Republic of Texas."

Dez Bryant's catch at the Green Bay 1 yard line on fourth down late in the fourth quarter put the Cowboys in position to take the lead in a game that sent the winner to the NFC Championship Game. Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged the play, though, and referees overturned the call.

According to the lawsuit, Hendrix stated that referees Dean Blandino and Gene Steratore and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "have stolen a victory from the plaintiff(s) because the Cowboys offense would have perfectly created an 'autobahn' for DeMarco Murray to drive into the end zone for the score and victory." That loss, he writes, constitutes the theft of a Super Bowl committed against the "hearts, minds and souls" of the players, cheerleaders, fans and all Texans.

Hendrix is acting as his own attorney in the case.

Officials with the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL declined to coment.


NBC Owned Television Stations' Esther Katro contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Dallas Basketball Powerhouse Wins Game, 117-10]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 23:16:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/basketball+free+throw.jpg

A North Texas prep school basketball game is drawing attention for its lopsided final score: 117-10.

Dallas powerhouse, and Class 4A No.1-ranked, Triple A Academy faced off Friday against Arlington's Uplift Summit International Preparatory, which moved up to Class 4A from Class A this season due to UIL rules for charter schools.

"I think it's really tough for them because they are put in a tough situation," said Tim Singleton, Triple A's head basketball coach and athletic director. "They know we would never do anything to humiliate them."

With the score 76-3 at halftime, Triple A's top players were out of the game for the entire second half.

"When they get an opportunity I'm gonna allow them to play," Singleton said about his reserve players. "So quite naturally you've got guys in their senior year, in their first year on varsity, you gotta allow them to play. And I'm not gonna tell them, 'Don't shoot the ball,' when they've been waiting to play."

Back at practice this week, the Uplift Summit Skyhawks have their heads held high.

"They just really know what the focus is. They bounce back and here they are, still playing," said Sara Ortega, a spokesperson for the school.

Those players include 16-year-old Ward Griffin, a junior, who scored seven of the team's 10 points in the game.

He, like all of his teammates, has his sights set on other numbers, like 85. That's what Griffin scored on his history final exam a few weeks ago, the test for which he said he studied so hard and still feared he might not pass.

"The number one thing to know about Uplift Summit and Uplift Education schools is that we're here to prepare our kids to go to college and focus on their academics," Ortega said. "People are gonna see a box score. I imagine they're gonna Google a name and then see the track record of success we have, with 100 percent of kids accepted and attending college."



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Blount: From Unemployed to Starring Role]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:39:41 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/blountbakpat.jpg

On Nov. 18, LeGarrette Blount was out of a job. The running back had just been released by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and his career was in doubt.

Blount had left the field the night before while the Steelers-Titans Monday night game was in progress, upset that he hadn’t had a single carry. One source with the Steelers told the NFL Network that the reason for his release was “selfish behavior.”

So, just over two months ago, Blount seemed like the most unlikely of potential Super Bowl difference-makers.

But after he re-signed with the New England Patriots just two days after his release, Blount is heading nto Super Bowl XLIX as one of his team’s biggest offensive stars and a factor in the team’s run to the AFC championship.

Blount carried the ball 30 times for 148 yards in this past Sunday’s AFC Championship Game victory over the Colts. And in the five regular-season games he played with New England late in the season, Blount averaged 4.7 yards per carry, with 281 yards on 60 carries for three touchdowns.

At 6 feet and 250 pounds, the former standout from Oregon has plugged right back into the New England offensive scheme he had been a part of in 2013. That season, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry, collecting 772 yards on the ground and scoring seven touchdowns for Bill Belichick’s team.

When Blount became available, Belichick didn’t hesitate. He re-signed Blount and immediately gave him the ball.

Now the Patriots have a physical, hard-to-bring-down back almost in the mold of Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch. Both defenses in the Feb. 1 Super Bowl in Arizona will have to stop the big backs early to set the tone.

Belichick isn’t usually effusive with his praise, but he’s very happy he has Blount again. Blount had left the Patriots as a free agent after the 2013 season to sign with Pittsburgh.

“You don’t see a lot of guys like him,” Belichick told reporters this week. You just don’t. I thought a couple of cuts he made (against the Colts), the way he can stop, start, accelerate, change directions – for a 250-pound guy or whatever he is, he’s got great vision and athleticism. At times he looks like a small back, but he’s not. He’s a big guy and he’s a hard guy to tackle.”

The way Blount has played with the Patriots led to some criticism of the Steelers’ decision to release him, based on the fact that Pittsburgh could have used him when No. 1 back Le’Veon Bell was unavailable for its playoff game against the Ravens.

But this week, Steelers president Art Rooney II said he has no regrets.

“I think we made the decision for the right reasons,” Rooney told ESPN.com. “Not going to worry about it too much. We just have to make sure that we make a better decision this year and fill that position with someone we’re comfortable with and who will be a good fit.”

Now Blount has a chance to win a Super Bowl ring. He’s gone from unemployed to a potential Super Bowl star. Like Belichick, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is grateful Blount is on their side again.

“He’s tough to bring down and has the ability to make people miss in the hole, which I think is a unique trait for a bigger back,” said McDaniels this week. “Obviously he played well (vs. the Colts), really carried a big load for us and made a huge impact. … We’re very happy to have him here with us.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brady: "I Didn't Alter the Ball"]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 18:24:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tom-brady-presser-thumb-AP210855816629.jpg

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he "didn't alter the ball in any way" at a Thurday afternoon press conference amid the "Deflategate" controversy.

"I feel like I've always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules," he said. When a reporter asked if he were a cheater, he said, "I don't believe so."

The NFL is investigating after ESPN reported that the Patriots used under-inflated footballs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Earlier Thursday, Belichick said at a press conference that he had "no explanation" for what happened, and that the first he heard of the controversy was on Monday morning.

Brady told reporters Thursday afternoon that he first heard about the under-inflated balls Monday morning during his regular weekly radio interview. At the time, he said, he laughed, thinking that it was just "sour grapes" on the Colts' behalf. "It ends up being a very serious thing," he said.

"Everyone's obviously trying to figure out what happened," Brady added. "I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening."

The quarterback said he goes through the same process before every game, choosing between 12 and 24 balls to use during the game. He said he did that Sunday night. "When I felt them, they were perfect," he said.

Much like Belichick, Brady said he has no knowledge of any wrongdoing.

"Obviously, I'd like to know what  happened," he said. "In the meantime, I'm going to try to do the best I can to get ready to play against the Seahawks." 

Asked if the controversy might serve as motivation for the Patriots, Brady said "We've got a lot of motivation as a team. I think our team's overcome a lot of adversity this year. Sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life."

Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw and catch, and quarterbacks, specialists and equipment managers are known to have very individualized preferences in how footballs are readied for games, The Associated Press reported. Belichick said he was unaware of the process for game balls until the accusations were raised.

"I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs," Belichick said. "They know a lot more about it than I do. They're a lot more sensitive to it than I am. I hear them comment on it from time to time, but I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero."

Brady reportedly addressed his teammates behind closed doors at Thursday's team meeting. Per teammates, he told them he prefers the football "a certain way." He also told them to stay focused on next Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers What-Ifs: Mitch Moreland]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:17:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/492020683.jpg

With the season a few months away, what has to break right for the Rangers to contend again in 2015?

What if Mitch Moreland can finally have a healthy season and realize the power potential he's shown from time to time throughout his five seasons with the Rangers? What if his ankle surgery really did fix a nagging problem that had been bothering him for a couple of years?

After the way his 2014 season started and ultimately end by being shut down with ankle problems and then opting for season-ending surgery, it'd be a welcomed development.

The Rangers' problems in 2014 were too many to list here, but their lack of offensive punch due to injuries was a big one, and one of the big ones was Moreland's ankle injury that eventually needed season-ending reconstructive surgery.

Moreland ended up playing in just 52 games, the fewest since 2010 when he was a late call-up and made a big impression on the Rangers with a nice postseason. His final numbers: .246 batting average, .297 on-base percentage and just two home runs as his bum ankle hindered his power even before he shut it down.

Back in 2013, Moreland finally broke through in the power department and provided some nice punch in the bottom third of the Rangers' lineup with 23 homers and 60 RBIs — plenty good for a guy that was in Moreland's realm of expectation.

The thing is, Moreland has really, really good power. He just needs to be healthy. He'll likely serve primarily as the Rangers' designated hitter, assuming Prince Fielder is healthy, while he'll also likely see some time in left field. If the Rangers can get 20 home runs from Moreland again, it'd be a big boost for a lineup that was one of the most power-starved ones in the league last year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Team Irvin Lands (Almost) All the Pro Bowl Cowboys]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:27:34 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/82888380.jpg

For the Dallas Cowboys fans who actually tune into the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Team Irvin will have a very familiar feel.

Michael Irvin’s team drafted six of seven of the Cowboys in the Pro Bowl, and made quarterback Tony Romo their top pick. They also picked up tight end Jason Witten, left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin. DeMarco Murray was named a captain on Team Irvin, so he didn’t have to be drafted, and the team will be coached by the Dallas staff.

Long snapper LP LaDouceur is the only Cowboy who will play for Cris Carter’s squad.

It’s going to be great because it just brings that continuity,” Frederick said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “Even if we’re not exactly running our playbook it’s at least the same terminology. It’s a lot of the stuff we will have heard before.”

Sunday will mark a reunion of sorts for the six Cowboys on Team Irvin--except for Martin, who wasn't with the team in 2013--as they also picked up longtime Cowboys pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, who departed for Denver last offseason.

“Actually [defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli] came to me and he said, ‘Do you have any rushes left in you? Let’s get to the quarterback this week,’ so I know he’s excited,” Ware said. “He takes his game to a whole other level. Whenever he’s out there able to coach it’s a game and he said, ‘I am going to be on the winning team. I’m not going to lose.’”

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<![CDATA[The Top 10 Reasons The Cowboys Are Better Than The Patriots]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:22:43 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/bill-belechick-deflate-presser-AP145710954535.jpg

With Bill Belichick and the Deflatriots digging their lying, cheating hole deeper and deeper, I was reminded this morning why I – along with the rest of America – love the Cowboys more than New England.

Then I remembered another reason. And yet another, until I got to 10 …

10. Bill Parcells coached both teams for 64 regular-season games, going 34-30 in Dallas and only 32-32 in New England.

9. Former Patriot Aaron Hernandez is in prison for murder. Former Cowboy Dwayne Goodrich is out of prison after serving nine years for criminally negligent homicide.

8. Less than 12 months after the death of his wife (Myra) of 38 years, Patriots owner Bob Kraft began dating a 32-year-old aspiring actress. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is … well … um … okay, he is hardly squeaky clean. But he did give $10 million to his alma mater, Arkansas.

7. Super Bowl appearances: Cowboys 8, Patriots 7. Super Bowl wins: Cowboys 5, Patriots 3.

6. In the 2010 NFL Draft the Cowboys traded up three spots to draft a receiver named Dez Bryant. The team that allowed Dallas to jump up and nab one of the league’s best players? You guessed it.

5. Patriots claim six members in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but half of those – Parcells, Curtis Martin and Nick Buoniconti – starred with other franchises. The Cowboys boast 14 players in Canton who produced all of their immortal success with the star on their helmet.

4. The Patriots spied on opponents, orchestrated confusing eligible receiver substitutions and, ahem, mysteriously played with illegally deflated footballs. The Cowboys were fined for merely attempting to manipulate the salary cap.

3. Cowboys beat the Patriots, 44-21, in Texas Stadium’s debut back in 1971 and lead the all-time series, 7-4.

2. Roger Staubach won a Heisman Trophy, served in Vietnam and married his grade-school sweetheart. Tom Brady was a backup at Michigan and proposed to the world’s richest model at an airport in New Jersey.

1. With his football genius and saintly life, Tom Landry has a statue. With his lying, cheating, loathing of social interaction and abject lack of remorse for the consequences of his actions, Bill Belichick is a borderline sociopath. 

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/Elise Amendola]]>
<![CDATA[Rolando McClain Avoids Offseason Knee Surgery]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:50:43 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rolando-mcclain9.15.jpg

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain had his right knee examined by Dr. James Andrews recently, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, but he emerged with some good news.

McClain will not need surgery on the knee this offseason.

After middle linebacker Sean Lee suffered a torn ACL on the first day of training camp, the Cowboys acquired McClain--who had retired and sat out the entire 2013 season--in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens.

At times in 2014, McClain looked like the best player on the Dallas defense but he missed three games due to various injuries, including the aforementioned troublesome knee. He finished with 81 tackles, a sack and two interceptions.

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<![CDATA[Green Bay Loss Still Hurts for Cowboys Pro Bowlers]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:51:18 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461345626.jpg

For the seven Dallas Cowboys who are in Glendale, AZ for the Pro Bowl--and for Dez Bryant, who had to pull out of the game with a lingering groin issue--the honor of being selected for pro football’s All-Star Game can only do so much to assuage the lingering pain of the season coming to a sudden end in Green Bay 11 days ago.

It was tough. We played well the whole game,” long snapper and first time Pro Bowler L.P. Ladouceur told the team’s website this week. “The weather was in our favor. It wasn’t that cold. We played well, but stuff happens. The next thing you know you’re in the locker room like, ‘Where did that go?’ But, it was a hell of a game. We competed our butts off.”

Granted, the way the Cowboys’ improbable playoff run ended was especially painful.

Down 26-21 with a little over four minutes left, Bryant appeared to have caught a pass from Tony Romo (another Pro Bowler) on a 4th and 2 that would have set the team up on the Green Bay one-yard line. But on review, based on a stupid, stupid rule, it was ruled that Bryant did not control the ball going to the ground. Packers ball and, with a pair of first downs, game over, season over.

“Waking up and realizing that the season is over ... it’s a different Monday as previous weeks,” said running back DeMarco Murray last week. “It’s a little hard. It’s frustrating but you know it is what it is. A lot of guys had good individual years but I think at the end of the day you look at what we did as a team and it was good, it wasn’t great, but a lot of guys will learn from it. We’ll have this taste in our mouths for a long time and leading into off season workouts and hope for a different result.”

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[Witten Joins Exclusive Club With 10th Pro Bowl Nod]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:49:52 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456297934.jpg

When veteran tight end Jason Witten was added to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement last week, he reached some seriously rarified air, joining Dallas Cowboys legends and Pro Football Hall of Famers Mel Renfro and Larry Allen as a 10-time Pro Bowler.

The always humble Witten was predictably humbled by the company.

“When Mr. Jones called to tell me (about the Pro Bowl), he mentioned some of those names,” Witten told the team’s website this week. “I’ve always been a guy that has prided myself on doing it year in and year out and having a high standard. But to be mentioned with those guys, those were some of the best of the best.”

Bob Lilly, also a legend and a Hall of Famer, owns the franchise record with 11 Pro Bowl appearances. Despite seeing a dip in his stats in 2014, there seems a good chance that Witten could join Lily around this time in 2016.

“I think when you come into the league you don’t ever envision 12  years later you can say you’ve been to 10 pro bowls,” Witten said. “It’s a huge honor. I’ve been fortunate to be able to play in a good system and good people around you, help you [succeed]. This year is different because it was a different goal. To end up back here definitely feels good how things went for me this year.”

Of course there also seems a good chance that before we know it, Witten could be joining Lilly, Allen and Renfro in Canton and on the Ring of Honor as well.

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<![CDATA[LP LaDouceur Excited for First Pro Bowl]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:51:53 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lp-ladouceur-pro-bowl1.jpg

After a decade in the NFL, Dallas Cowboys long snapper L.P. LaDouceur is set to play in his first Pro Bowl, and the Canadian-born veteran is understandably excited.

“This is great,” Ladouceur told the team’s official website from his Phoenix-area hotel this week. “After 10 years, to get a little reward like this, it’s a little cherry on top of the sundae to me. I’m excited to be here.”

More casual fans--fans who probably don’t read this blog--might not know his name, which really speaks to his effectiveness as a long snapper. His job is to be a faceless but invaluable part of some of the less exciting facets of the game--punts, field goals and extra points. And he’s done it well, since Week 4 of the 2005 season, when he took over the position full-time.

If LaDouceur has his druthers, he’ll have plenty more opportunities for a return trip to the Pro Bowl.

Asked how long he’d like to keep playing, LaDouceur said--only half-jokingly, we’d imagine--“Until I’m 52.”

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<![CDATA[Harrison's Progress Coming Slowly but Surely]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:52:25 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/488824961.jpg

Matt Harrison seems to understand what is in front of him, and it's a long, uphill climb to get back to the big-league mound.

But the left-handed pitcher, who has made just six starts in the past two seasons, is throwing, and he's starting to ramp up a bit, as he was throwing from 75 feet in Wednesday's winter workout with the Rangers.

The plan for Harrison, now, is to take a mound for the first time sometime in mid-March, assuming there are no further issues. And so far, so good.

"Everything feels good so far," he told Fox Sports. "Each day has been good so far. Once I get loose everything feels good and the arm feels fresh."

That's great news to hear, and it's also good to hear Harrison isn't rushing anything to try to be ready for Opening Day. He said he just wants to make sure he's good to go, even if it's sometime this summer.

"I've moved past thinking if this is going to hurt," said Harrison, who has been throwing for three weeks. "I look past that stuff now. I'm not worried about going to spring training and trying to make the team. I'm just focused on getting it right."

And make no mistake, if it does "get right" there will definitely be a place on the Rangers roster for him.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Maddux: Fifth Spot is Wide Open]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 12:53:10 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/487248531.jpg

When the Texas Rangers were able to work a deal for Yovani Gallardo earlier this week, it did a lot of things for the team's starting rotation.

Most importantly, it obviously filled a much-needed hole in the No. 3 spot in the rotation by acquiring a proven innings-eater in Gallardo. But it also helped the back end of the rotation by pushing everyone back a spot and meaning the only real question is with the No. 5 spot — not at all a rarity for several teams at this point in the year.

While it seemed recently acquired pitcher Ross Detwiler would be a lock for the rotation after spending most of his career as a starter for the Nationals before moving to the bullpen last season, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said that's not decided yet.

You see, there's some competition there, mainly in the form of Nick Tepesch and Nick Martinez, who were both key figures in the injury-plagued rotation a year ago.

“I would have to say there’s definitely a spot open and the more guys you have competing for that, I think that improves the depth in the organization,” Maddux told ESPN Dallas. “But who’s to say that one of those guys might not make the ball club in a different role? Then, as the season rolls on, you're gonna need a spot start here and there, that’s inevitable. Sometimes those guys get an opportunity like that, ‘Hey we got to see that again.’ Next thing you know, you got six pretty good starters on your hands and you don’t have enough room for them, but that’s a good problem to have.”

Maddux also mentioned Martinez as a possible reliever, while conventional thought would suggest Tepesch would be in the minors if he doesn't crack the rotation, which wouldn't be a bad thing for his development.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>