Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Mandatory Minicamp Kicks Off Today

Tom Pennington

Latest Cowboys headlines: DeMarco Murray wants to be Cowboy 'forever'; Cowboys players hit the ring at wrestling match; Which NFL teams have the best tight ends?

Rookie mini-camp and the OTAs are in the books. That leaves only the Mandatory Minicamp remaining on the Cowboys offseason schedule. The minicamp kicks off today at Valley Ranch, stays there on Wednesday and moves to AT&T Stadium on Thursday. After that, the first organized football will recommence when Training Camp opens. Here's an overview of other key upcoming Cowboys dates:

Mandatory Minicamp: June 17-19
Oxnard Training Camp: July 23-Aug 14
Preseason game @ Chargers: Aug 7
Preseason game vs. Ravens: Aug 16
Preseason game @ Miami: Aug 23
Preseason game vs. Broncos: Aug 28
Season Opener vs 49ers: Sept 7

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Dallas Cowboys Sign Zack Martin, Only DeMarcus Lawrence Left To Go - Blogging The Boys
Remember when there was all sorts of drama about rookie contracts? The rookie pay scale makes getting your draft choices under contract almost a formality.

Dallas Cowboys' Kyle Orton No Show For Pre-Minicamp Physical, Fined - Blogging The Boys
Everyone said Kyle Orton would show up for minicamp and avoid getting any fines. Looks like everyone might have been a bit off about that.

Marion Barber Taken In By Cops For Mental Observation, Neighbors Assert Strange Behavior- Blogging The Boys
Neighbors recount "strange behavior" from the former fan favorite, as police were dispatched in force on Sunday night to to a residence by Marion Barber, where they determined he needed to be "taken to a local hospital for mental evaluation." This is unlikely to turn into a happy story.

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DeMarco Murray wants to be Cowboy 'forever' - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Murray has no plans of going anywhere.

"Forever," Murray said when he was asked how long he would like to be a Cowboy. "I love Dallas. I love playing football there. I love the fans. I love the organization. It's great. I want to stay there as long as they will allow me."

"I'm not worried about my contract," Murray said. "I'm going to let the cards unfold the way they unfold and continue to work hard like I always do."

Terrell McClain making good impression - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer writes that the Cowboys have taken notice of McClain, and not just because he's wearing No. 97, Jason Hatcher's old number.

"He’s one of those guys who doesn’t say anything to anybody," coach Jason Garrett said. "He’s just quiet and goes to work every day, but he’s absolutely one of the guys who is showing up the most in these (OTA) practices. He has great intensity in all that he does. He flashes some ability. We really like how he goes about his business."

Broaddus: A Revisit Of The 2012 Draft Using The Stack - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
I don't know why the Cowboys would do this voluntarily, but Broaddus offers up a part of the Cowboys' 2012 draft board. Of note, Morris Claiborne ranks No. 2 overall on this board. Go over there and have a look at the whole thing, then come back and discuss your thoughts here.

Cowboys expect backup quarterback Kyle Orton to miss the mandatory minicamp after he no-shows physical - Charean Williams, Star-Telegram
Williams provides the details on what it could cost Orton to sit out:

Orton is subject to $69,455 in fines if he misses all of the minicamp, which begins Tuesday. He already has lost $75,000 for missing too many workouts, part of a de-escalator in his contract. Orton was scheduled to make $3.25 million this season before any fines and the de-escalator. He would have to repay the Cowboys $3 million of his signing bonus if he retires. He would be subject to fines of $30,000 per day for missing training camp.

Members Of The NFL Dallas Cowboys hit the ring at wrestling match - Impactwrestling.com
The press release from TNA wrestling breathlessly announces that Dallas Cowboys players, led by George Selvie, "burst the barricade" to "end the battle" when they "came to the aid" of Mr. Anderson as he faced "The Cowboy" James Storm.

Storm provoked Selvie by spitting beer in his face. Selvie’s teammates held him back, but Selvie broke away, burst through the barricade and interfered with Storm, allowing Anderson to win the match. Selvie’s teammates Ben Bass, Nick Hayden, Tyrone Crawford, Caesar Rayford and Martez Wilson joined him in the ring to celebrate their teammate Selvie and Anderson’s victory.

Here's a video of the "altercation."

Shockingly, a report by the Dallas Morning News calls the entire episode a scripted event. Lies. Damn lies.

Sullivan: Carter Has To Prove He’s A Pro Bowl Talent - Jeff Sullivan, DallasCowboys.com
With DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher gone and Sean Lee out injured, Bruce Carter expects to take on a bigger leadership role.

"With those guys gone and Sean being out, people are going to look to someone," Carter said. "I want to be that guy. I'm in a great place and that's the mindset I have to keep. And I'm going to keep. I'm going to have a great year. I guarantee you that. We're going to be good."

Versatile Harris Wants To Be Considered Elite Returner - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
Dwayne Harris is looking to be a difference-maker in three areas – as a return specialist, a wide receiver and even on the coverage units.

"I want to do all of it," Harris said. "It keeps me versatile. Keeps me on the field. Whatever the team needs me to do, the coach needs me to do, I’m willing to do it." "I think for me, it’s (being) versatile, learn everything," Harris said of receiver positions."

"We have a team that gets injured a lot. We need to have guys like me to play everything and be ready. I need to be prepared to do everything. If they want me to play receiver, that’s what I’ll do. If they want me to play special teams, that’s what I’ll do."

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Michael Crabtree: Playing the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington ‘will be the most exciting time for me’ | Jon Machota, DMN
Crabtree, a Dallas native, is looking forward to playing the Cowboys in the season opener in Dallas.

"It’s going to be great," Crabtree said. "Coming back home, I got like 70 people coming to the game. I’m going hard. It will be the most exciting time for me. I don’t want to get too over hyped."

"It’s always good to have your whole family come see you play live. It’s so hard to travel. It’s so hard for them to come to my home games. Now that we’re at home, we can make something happen."

Which NFL teams have the best tight ends? - SBNation.com
Well, not the Cowboys, if you believe this particular article. Danny Kelly takes a look at which teams he thinks boast the most talented group of players at the game's least understood position, and has the Eagles, Saints, Lions and Broncos raned in the "Elite" category, with the Cowboys following in the next level "Damn Good" category:

TE Jason Witten, TE Gavin Escobar, TE James Hanna, TE Jordan Najvar

Jason Witten is still one of the best in the game at the position, a true prototype Y tight end who can both block and run/catch with aplomb. Incredibly, Witten's 73 catches last year -- an amazing season by a tight end -- was his lowest total since 2006, but he did notch eight touchdowns, the second-best output of his career. Knowing Witten isn't getting any younger, the Cowboys have also gotten deeper at the position with the additions of Gavin Escobar, his likely protege, and James Hanna, an athletic move tight end with very good speed.

So, while Witten remains a mainstay in the Cowboy offense and a favorite of QB Tony Romo, he'll have a little help behind him as Escobar enters his second year and looks to improve on his rookie season in which he caught nine passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

Ranking the NFL's best and worst defensive backfields. | SportsonEarth.com
Mike Tanier ranks the top five and bottom five secondaries in the league. The article is noteworthy for the fact that it does not contain a single reference to the Cowboys.

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