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Kickoff Spectacular Open Thread

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Excitement is in the air! Today marks the beginning of the 2009 season for the Dallas Cowboys.

From the Alamodome, Jerry Jones has delivered his State of the Franchise and head coach Wade Phillips sounds ready to get this season going in the opening press conference. They also opened up for a Q & A session with the media.

Stephen Jones has also had some mic time, saying that the three remaining rookies will be signed in time for practice (McGee, J. Williams, and Brewster). He also said the team will waive injured WR Travis Wilson.

Make the jump.

There are always some surprise players in training camp, so get your pet cats picked out. Here's a list of long-shots to warm you up.

CB Michael Hawkins

Homeless for a while in high school, Hawkins played as a true freshman at Oklahoma before being dismissed from the team. He then played pro football as a teenager with the Arena Football League Dallas Desperados after an open tryout before becoming a fifth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2005. He also had stops in Cleveland and Minnesota. His exceptional closing speed and age (25) make him interesting.

WR Jesse Holley

Won a spot on the training camp roster as the winner of Michael Irvin’s 4th and Long reality TV show. He’s 6-foot-3 and weighs 216 pounds. Holley played basketball and football at North Carolina. Although he’ll likely be classified as the 80th man on the roster, Holley has football skills. He had stints with the Cincinnati Bengals and B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League. He also has the unrelenting support of Irvin, who’s in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

DL Jonas Seawright

Seawright has been out of football the past two seasons so few people have heard of him outside of NFL insiders. He played with the New York Giants in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, he played in nine games and recorded one tackle. At 6-6, 335, he’s the biggest defensive lineman on the roster. Size matters in the NFL.

FB Asaph Schwapp

Schwapp is a devastating blocker. He’s a legend around South Bend, Ind., for his strength. He bench pressed 225 pounds 33 times at Notre Dame’s Pro Day. The undrafted rookie free agent loves martial arts movies and collects martial arts items. In fact, he was arrested for carrying a ninja throwing star at Love Field last May. If he doesn’t stick with Dallas, there are jobs around the NFL for guys who like to crush other guys.

G Greg Isdaner

Left West Virginia early despite coming off a solid, but unspectacular junior season that included shoulder surgeries in the previous spring. However, he’s a high IQ athlete who chose West Virginia over Ivy League schools coming out of high school. He graduated from West Virginia in 3 1/2 years with a degree in finance. Numbers game working against him in camp, but he might make a good project for the Cowboys or someone else.

NESN ranks Tony Romo as the number 12 best quarterback in the league.

This will be Romo’s fourth season as the Cowboys’ starter, but it’s his first without Owens. In the last three years, Romo has averaged 2.1 touchdowns and 1.2 interceptions per game. For much of that time, Owens was playing some of the best football of his career, so Romo’s numbers will likely dip a bit. However, Owens’ presence hurt Romo and the Cowboys late in the regular season, when they struggled. So, what does all this mean? It’s finally time for Romo to be his own man and create his own legacy in Dallas.

Tom Orsborn asks if it's time for Romo to change his ways.