By now, many of you may have read Michael Silver's article over at Yahoo Sports entitled: Real reason behind T.O.'s exit from Dallas. If you haven't, I suggest you do because it's the best coverage of the event yet, mainly because Silver gets both Jerry and Stephen Jones talking about the reasons behind the exile of T.O.
The conclusion - it did have a lot to do with Tony Romo, although the article never claims that Romo lobbied for Owens' exit. Rather, the Jones cabal came to the conclusion that Romo was never going to take the next step in leading this team with T.O.'s overbearing personality dominating the offense.
Yes, it has plenty to do with Tony Romo. Absolutely, Owens’ penchant for being a major pain in the ass played a role. And, as most of us have suspected, this did come down to his effect on team chemistry. Oddly enough, however, T.O.’s popularity in the Cowboys’ locker room is precisely why he was asked to clear out his belongings.
The bottom line, team executive vice president Stephen Jones said Thursday, is that he and his father came to this conclusion: For the team’s highly paid quarterback to become a truly influential leader, the big man on campus had to be jettisoned.
"It’s hard to take over leadership when you’ve got a strong personality like Terrell," Jones said. "If you look back at our old teams [from the 1990s], a lot of people would say maybe Michael [Irvin] was the leader. Then you might say, ‘He was a receiver. What about Troy [Aikman]? He was the quarterback. Wasn’t he the leader?’ And the answer is, yeah, Troy was a leader. But if Michael wasn’t supportive of him, Troy would’ve had problems.
"A lot of our players thought the world of Terrell – they still do. They loved the way he prepared and how hard he played, and everybody respected his skills and what he’d done in the league. And with him here, I think he was always going to carry that kind of weight."
There are few takeaways from that quote and this article. One, Romo and Owens must have been seriously diverging in their relationship. Gone were the days of Owens crying while protecting "his quarterback". If they had still been on the same page, I don't think the Jerry and Stephen would have come up with the idea that T.O. had to go out of thin air. While no one is accusing Romo of specifically lobbying for this result, I don't think that it's too much of a stretch that behind the scenes Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett and by extension Stephen Jones knew that the relationship was breaking. I think most of us already knew this, but the article lays it out in stark terms.
The other note of significance is something that's already been touched on a little bit this offseason. The fact that Stephen Jones seems to be playing a bigger role in the decisions the Cowboys are making. Stephen makes it clear that Jerry makes all the final calls and that he did in this situation. But Stephen's profile has been rising recently and we hear more about his influence in personnel beyond his genius at getting player's signed and maintaining the salary cap. He's been getting credit for that part of the job for years now, but he's exerting influence, more and more, in general GM decisions. At least that's the impression I'm getting.
There are a lot of other choice quotes in the article and it's rather long, so just check it out for yourself. They hinted that they thought T.O. might be in decline, which our own Raf has shown previously. The idea of Roy Williams and T.O. working together was also brought up, in a little bit of a negative light.
At BTB, we've been staying away from the T.O. circus for the most part, choosing to focus on the guys who are here, not the ones that aren't. But this article was too good to pass up. Maybe it will close the book on the T.O. era in Dallas.
More news after the jump.
"The fact that I was out for a while (in 2008), tried to play with it . . . played terrible," Newman said. "I came back and played better but I was never fully healthy last year. January I had some bone spurs that I've had for a while, and I finally decided to address that. Right now my body has felt (the best) it's felt in a while.
"With the injuries, you start to walk different and your body starts to adapt to that for the compensation. Now I have to re-teach my body certain things. It's been a work in progress but it's coming along."
Newman's health is going to be critical this year. We have a talented, but not fully-tested bunch at corner this year, besides T-New. Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick showed last year they have the skills to compete and play well in this league, but they need to show they can do it again. I think they will, but having a healthy Newman on the field will be key.
Speaking of Jenkins and Scandrick, Jenkins truly covets the starting job opposite Newman.
"I can't promise anything, but that's my goal," Jenkins said of starting. "And I'll be upset with myself if I don't."
Phillips had Jenkins and Scandrick split work with the first team at minicamp, which ended Wednesday. They're expected to do the same at training camp beginning July 27 at the Alamodome.
BTW, Jenkins is a little sore about his 'soft' label after the Derrick Ward missed tackle (I always include the Mike Sellers kick-return debacle, too).
"It was just a missed tackle," Jenkins said. "I've never been known to be soft. I knocked a couple of people out in college. I've always been aggressive."
But only Patrick Crayton would measure Jenkins' progress by this scale:
"He's starting to talk (trash) a lot more," Crayton said. "That's a good sign."
If anybody would know about trash-talking, it would be Crayton.
Oh, yeah, forgot to mention Newman had this to say about rookie Mike Hamlin.
"I think Mike Hamlin is definitely one of the standouts for sure. He's a smart guy and he understands the defense already."
Bobby Carp keeps on trying.
"Everybody thinks I’m a bust already," Carpenter said. "So [the pressure to live up to the status of the No. 1 pick] is gone, at least in my mind it is. I don’t think there are any expectations on me to succeed. I’m just going out there and playing the best I can. I’m not worried about anybody or anything else."