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Novacek goes from Cowboy to rancher

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From Billie Joe Dupree, to Doug Cosbie, to Jason Witten; Dallas has had its share of good tight ends. But the best was probably Jay Novacek. Cast among a star-studded group from the 90's dynasty, Novacek was the safety net. I can't even count the number of times on 3rd down Aikman would dump the ball to Novacek for a 1st down.

So what's Jay up to now? He's a rancher in Nebraska.

Somewhere amid the hills, canyons and prairie grass you'll find Jay Novacek hard at work and enjoying life in the countryside of his 3,500-acre ranch near Brady, Nebraska. It's the place of Novacek's home and business and it's the life that he's always wanted to have. Most retired NFL players of Novacek's caliber often mention how fortunate they were to spend the best years of their lives getting paid to play a game they love but Novacek has an even greater appreciation for the life he's built with his family on the Upper 84 Ranch.

Novacek is chilling with the family, hosting visitors to the ranch for all kinds of outdoor activities. He also does autograph shows, speaking engagements and has a football camp. Sounds like Jay is doing alright since retiring from football.

Novacek had this to say about his days in Dallas:

"I was pretty much just as good a player with the Cardinals as I was with the Cowboys," said Novacek. "I was just put in a different situation with the Cowboys. Troy (Aikman) and I just happened to be on the same page. When those things happen you'll be a great team. If I did something that wasn't drawn up in the playbook, it didn't affect Troy at all because he knew I'd still be at the right place at the right time."

Count on the Cardinals to not recognize an All-Pro TE sitting on their roster. That's why they're the Cardinals.

I'm starting to think the Cowboys may just take a WR with their first pick. I was on the OLB train since the season ended, but with the way TNT's contracts are set-up, we may need a stud WR next year. And I'd like to have one with at least a year's experience should either member of TNT not come back in 2007. Chad Jackson or Santonio Holmes might be the ticket. The guys at the RanchReport.com (sub. required) are thinking this way, too.

With that in mind, don't be surprised if the Cowboys take a wide receiver in the first round. As the draft seems to be shaking out, Florida speedy receiver Chad Jackson could be their man. The Cowboys need to get younger at receiver with Terry Glenn and Owens heading into their 11th years.

Jackson could be the best available player while also allowing the Cowboys to address a future need.

Read all about the Cowboys return to San Antonio for training camp starting in 2007.