It's over, folks. For all you who were still holding out hope that somehow, someway, Jerry Jones was going to get Adrian Peterson to come play for the Dallas Cowboys, you can give that one up. AD reported to OTAs for the Minnesota Vikings, and despite all the previous discontent, he is making all the right noises for a player who is on board with his team. I guess he decided he needed that $12.75 million he is due to make this year after all.
"I'm returning because I want to. I'm a part of this football team and I owe it to the guys I play with and to our coaches," Peterson wrote Tuesday morning in an email to ESPN. "I was planning on coming in this week, and I'm looking forward to getting back on the field. It's what I love to do."
But it seems that some people just don't want to completely turn this loose. In this case we are reminded that there is always next year.
Peterson is back with the Vikings, maybe just for 2015 since there is no guaranteed money in his current deal past this year or perhaps for the rest of his career.
Some people just want to cling to the idea that one day AD will still wear the Star, despite his age and the history of running backs declining as time catches up with them.
A fringe element continues to insist that Adrian Peterson will somehow be wearing a Cowboys uniform when the team takes the field for the regular season opener on Sept. 13.
But let's face it. Those are the same people who believe astronaut Neil Armstrong issued his famous quote about "one small step for man'' from a NASA soundstage rather than the moon.
OK, that may be a tad harsh. But can we please let this zombie of a rumor go, at least for this year?
Of course, the reason for all the interest in Peterson was because of the need to find a running back to replace DeMarco Murray as the starter. Bob Sturm digs into the limited chances Joseph Randle had and considers his odds of earning the job. (This is the second in his series looking at all the primary candidates for the job.
Conclusion Time: I had hoped that this exercise of looking at these players would clear things up, but really it has only served to confuse me on who will emerge with the job. I think Randle is capable for sure, but I also wonder about his ability to go from 5 snaps a game to 30 and maintain his impressive quickness and conviction on each play. I also wonder if he is trusted in pass protection and short yardage. If not, he is going to likely be the #1 option on normal run downs 1st and 2nd down, and then give way to McFadden/Dunbar (I assume) on 3rd downs.
The biggest hope for the Dallas running game to continue to excel does not really rest as much on the running backs as it does on the talent-laden offensive line. The only significant loss there was swing tackle Jermey Parnell, while the team has added talent through the draft and the signing of first round caliber La'el Collins as a UDFA. But the team did lose line coach Bill Callahan. His replacement, Frank Pollack, is dong just fine, according to Zack Martin.
He doesn't have to go about winning over the room.
"He's a great technician and he's played the game, played the offensive line position," Martin said. "It's great to have him be able to kind of relate to what you're going through. It's been a smooth transition."
Pollack isn't Callahan, but he's close.
As reported here yesterday, the Cowboys picked up yet another linebacker in Kyle Knox. Bryan Broaddus put together a quick review of him, although he had to rely on a lot of preseason action because Knox was more a special teams guy in his last stop with the New Orleans Saints.
The very large contingent of linebackers on the team (now an even dozen) is more about finding bodies to take the field in practice than anything else.
Sean Lee has been limited in his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that kept him out all of last season. Rolando McClain is rehabilitating from right knee surgery performed last month and is not expected to do much until training camp begins. Anthony Hitchens did not practice last week because of a lingering ankle problem and rookie Mark Nzoecha is also rehabbing a torn ACL suffered last year at Wyoming.
Only five of the eight full-practicing linebackers have NFL experience, so Knox at the very least helps them get through practice or at the very most earns a roster spot in September.
Knox joins former teammate Corey White in trying to stick with Dallas.
Although he played some safety at Samford and was moved to free safety during the final month of last season, White said he expects to play cornerback for the Cowboys.
"My first goal is just to make the team," White said. "We got a lot of talent on this team, a lot of DBs. But when you're making a 53-man roster, you got to look at other positions, too.
It looks like there will be no cut of any kind in the future for Brandon Carr. Fans are not fond of his lackluster performance on the field so ar in Dallas, but he is not focused on the past.
And to Carr's credit, he has continued to carry himself this offseason as a team leader who expects to be back in Dallas. He's been a regular participant in the offseason program, he's attended team charity events and he's embraced the opportunity to mentor first-round pick Byron Jones. The task of improving on last year has been his focus; not all the contract talk.
The NFL has been very pleased with the international series games it has staged in the United Kingdom, and is looking to find other countries to go to. According to Mark Waller, who is the NFL's executive VP for international games and development, the best bet for the league to go into next is Germany.
"I think we have heard from at least three or four cities and stadiums in Germany about hosting a game," Waller said. "I don't think there is any doubt we could play a game in Germany and be successful selling it out. Any reservations we have are not about playing a game and about the venue, but reservations are much more how to make sure fans in that market can engage with and follow the NFL on an ongoing basis."
If the Cowboys ever show up to play in Germany, I know one cool customer who will definitely be buying a ticket.