Here's hoping everyone had an enjoyable and safe Fourth of July. (All fingers accounted for?) It is always great to celebrate Independence Day, and more importantly, we are now less than a month away from the start of training camp for the Dallas Cowboys. Before we get to the news, here is a tweet from one of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders you might have missed.
I had to include this one because I know exactly where it was taken, and more about the mission of the aircraft behind it than I am allowed to tell you. But on to the (kinda scant) news of the day:
The second of a two-part retrospective from Mickey Spagnola about his days at the soon-to-be-closed Cowboys headquarters in Valley Ranch is definitely worth a read, with everything from the dramatic to the funny, including this one less-than-accurate player evaluation he made.
Or back when Tony Romo was a nobody free-agent rookie in 2003, and we'd sit and talk with him endlessly at his locker at the other end of the room from where it is now. He was particularly despondent this one day, revealing his girlfriend from college was breaking up with him, and his cell phone wasn't working. Someone offered theirs, but he declined. Just bad timing. Reminded him of it the other day, and he had a good laugh. Maybe if she only knew, but hey, even I thought at the time that there was no way this guy could play in the NFL.
Everyone is well aware of the suspensions the Cowboys have to deal with. While Rolando McClain is going to be out for at least ten games, DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory will only be out for four. Which makes the following a pretty safe prediction.
The key is a quick start to the season. If the Cowboys can get out of the first four weeks of the schedule at 3-1 or better, it should be a sign of good things to come.
One more in a growing number of articles calling for the team to part ways with the suspended McClain.
The good news is the Cowboys now have some time to figure it all out. The team will go into training camp with a plan on how they want to replace Rolando McClain, who has let them down again. There is something to not having to rely on the unreliable, which will help the Cowboys.
The bad news is that Dallas continued to put their faith in McClain, who should never have gained their trust. And now the Cowboys are missing their best option at middle linebacker.
Morris Claiborne is trying to salvage his career with the Cowboys. Many assumed that he had no other options than Dallas this year, but he did have some other teams interested in him.
Claiborne found a soft market when he entered free agency in the off-season. The Minnesota Vikings were among the handful of teams that expressed some interest in Claiborne.
Claiborne chose to stay with the Cowboys, signing a one-year, $3 million deal that includes a $500,000 signing bonus and a $1.25 million base. He could make another $750,000 in incentives.
Of course, Claiborne has a lot to overcome in his Dallas career.
Entering his fifth year in the NFL, Claiborne has given the Cowboys a total of three interceptions, one forced fumble and 21 passes deflected while being unavailable 43.07% of his career (28 of a possible 64 games).
The writers at the mothership discuss who will be the last man to make the roster. They all have their own candidates, but I will quote David Helman, because I like his choice.
However, I'm going to stick with my usual offseason favorite in running back Darius Jackson. The offensive backfield is awfully crowded, but I am intrigued by Jackson's blend of size and speed. He's going to get a lot of opportunities during the preseason, given the injury to Darren McFadden - not to mention the fact that the coaches won't want to overwork Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris. If he makes the most of those opportunities, and if he proves he can be valuable on special teams, I don't think the coaching staff will want to risk losing him to another team. I think he makes it as the fourth running back.
Both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant insist they will not have any problems with their timing due to Bryant being so limited during the offseason practices. The expectations are that Bryant will be full go for training camp - but that doesn't mean he will be getting any extra reps to catch up.
Dallas also has a history of protecting its biggest offensive stars before the regular season. The best example was Emmitt Smith, the all-time NFL rushing leader who would get precious few repetitions in camp and preseason games during the 1990s. The question is whether quarterbacks need more time with their receivers.
Romo is back in his native Wisconsin. That gives the local papers a chance to get some interviews with him, and sometimes get some new quotes.
Romo is 36 and is coming off an injury-plagued season, in which he was limited to four games after breaking his left clavicle. He looks healthy and insists he feels fine — of course, that's always a relative term in the violent world of professional football — and he will be back for more when the Cowboys hold their first practice July 30.
As has been the case since he first grasped a football, this married father of two can't wait. That was evident when he was asked what he sees himself doing in 10 years.
"I'd like to still be playing football," he said without any hint of levity. "Maybe 10 years is stretching it a little. We'll see.
In case you haven't guessed, Romo is kind of a big deal back where he grew up. He also gave his opinion on the CTE controversy.
But can the sport survive, given the growing awareness of the harmful effects of head trauma? Will parents encourage their sons to scratch their competitive itches with other sports for their autumn sports season on an increasing basis? And will football eventually wane in popularity like boxing, another violent sport that once was massively popular?
Romo sees the glass as half full as far as the long-term future of football.
"Obviously, it's been great to see that the NFL has actually decided to make it important and educate players, fans, everybody on the subject," Romo said. "The thing that people need is just knowledge to gauge the decisions they want to make.
"It's obviously a violent sport. It's tough and physical."