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I hope everybody is now caught up with the goings-on at Valley Ranch. Kind of an exciting time in Big D, well, as exciting as an offseason can possibly be. The team returns to work today with the first of three scheduled OTA’s with only Wednesday’s practice open to the media.

Where We Stand
  • T.O. is now a Cowboy for life. Meaning whatever is left of T.O.’s playing days will be spent with the star on his helmet. Players tend to be associated with the teams that they played for earlier in their careers, the teams where they made their initial mark on the NFL consciousness. This doesn’t appear to be the case for T.O., especially if the Cowboys can capture a Super Bowl with T.O. in the lineup. The change in his public persona, the production on the field and the high-profile nature of playing for the Cowboys seems to dictate that when it’s all said and done, T.O. will be thought of as a Cowboy. And that’s the way he wants it. Those long ago days when some of us dreaded the idea of singing T.O. and the cancer he might bring to the locker room have been swept away into the dustbin of history.

  • Can history repeat itself? Can another player, although on a distinctly different level than T.O., repair his image and his life in Dallas? That’s the question we now face as Pacman Jones has been cleared to participate in all activities save the regular season and that’s just a formality as long as Pacman stays out of trouble. Ah, stay out of trouble. That’s what it’s all about with Pacman and opinions definitely vary on that topic.

For a decidedly non-believer’s point of view, I give you this Michael Silver column at Yahoo Sports.  He relays all the past excuses that Pacman used in Tennessee to explain away his poor attitude and decision-making in his time there. Like this:

Asked for an example, the player cited a morning shortly before the start of the ‘06 season on which Jones showed up at the team’s facility and told his coaches he couldn’t participate in practice. "He said he was sick – I don’t know if he was hungover or what," the ex-teammate said. "He was lying there on the training table looking terrible, so they sent him home. That night he got in trouble at a club at (after allegedly spitting in the face of a female patron whom he said had taken his wallet). He showed up the next day saying, ‘Oh man, they’re targeting me. She stole my wallet.’ We’re like, ‘Forget who stole your wallet. What the hell were you doing out at when you were supposed to be sick?’ "

Valid point and exactly the kind of thing he needs to overcome here in Dallas. For me, the biggest question is does he really get that this is his last chance? I’ve heard him say it and I’ve heard others say that he knows this, but does he really get it deep-down in his gut?

JJT thinks he gets it in this article and he says that Pacman is intelligent enough to know what’s going on. He’s no dumb-jock stereotype and offers this as proof.

He scored 1150 on his SAT and decided on West Virginia instead of Georgia Tech on the day he signed his national letter of intent. They don't let dummies into Georgia Tech.

Ha! Best proof ever! Little did I know that Pacman Jones was almost a Yellow Jacket. My alma mater and Pacman Jones? I don’t know if that would’ve worked. Pacman grew up in the Atlanta area so he would’ve been very close to some of the friends he probably needed to leave behind. Also, anybody who knows Atlanta knows that we are at the tops in the nation in churches per capita and strip clubs per capita. The dichotomy is part of our nature here.

But then Matt Mosley picks up on the theme of Pacman's intelligence and says this:

This is based, in part, on the fact that he scored an 1150 on the SAT was accepted to (wait for it) Georgia Tech. Listen, I realize it's a good school, but let's not go overboard.

Them is fighting words!

  • On to another timely topic at Valley Ranch. Greg Ellis met with Wade Phillips to clear the air. I tell you what, the air must be smoggy at Valley Ranch, first Roy had to clear it and now Greg. But it’s all kumbaya now and Greg might show up for OTA’s. 

Ellis' agent, James Williams, said the meeting was productive and his client is receptive to returning to practice.

"Everyone is on the same page," Williams said.

The Star-T takes a look  at the situation from the other guy’s point of view. That guy being Anthony Spencer who is being groomed to replace the aging Ellis at some point in the near future. 

"He's always cool to me," Spencer said. "Whenever I've got a question, I ask him. We talk to each other daily. I sit right behind him in meetings. I definitely don't feel any animosity between the two of us."

Meanwhile. BTB-regular scottmaui is still pushing for a Jason Taylor/Greg Ellis trade. I can’t get behind that right now because Taylor says he only wants to play one more year. Better to stick with what you know than shake it up for only a one-year commitment.
  • All eyes will be looking to see if Greg Ellis and Pacman Jones participate in the OTA today. Later on this afternoon, Terrell Owens will hold a press conference to talk about his new contract. We're also waiting on the resolution of the Terry Glenn injury contract situation. And don't forget, Ken Hamlin still isn't practicing and must be wondering when his long-term contract is coming. Can Jerry/Stephen get him done before the season or will Hamlin have to play on the franchise tender? Chris Canty is in a similar position but is practicing at Valley Ranch.

Star_medium

So now that we’ve signed Romo, Newman, MB3, and T.O. among others to long-term contracts, who is left? The DMN blog answers that question

Up after 2008
WR Miles Austin*
C/G Joe Berger
DE Stephen Bowen*
LB Kevin Burnett
OT Marc Colombo
TE Tony Curtis*
WR Sam Hurd*
NT Tank Johnson
CB Evan Oglesby*
C/G Cory Procter*

Up after 2009
OLB Greg Ellis
DE Jason Hatcher
CB Anthony Henry
QB Brad Johnson
OT Pat McQuistan
OLB Justin Rogers*
DE Marcus Spears
OLB DeMarcus Ware
S Pat Watkins

·        -- Would be a restricted free agent in this case

Give me your take on who we sign and don’t sign from that group.