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UPDATED: Tender Me This

With the deadline coming up in eight days, the Cowboys still have several players yet to sign their tenders. Several are unhappy and the rest have been very quiet.

Gerald Sensabaugh for example decided not to participate in the first offseason conditioning program this week. According to his agent he is not under contract but has been training six days a week on his own.

Marcus Spears and Steve Octavien signed their tenders yesterday. Cory Procter was the first to sign the tender back in March, which actually makes perfect sense.

I expect the remaining unsigned players will jump on board soon. I believe Miles Austin knows he will get his money eventually and hopefully it will all work out smoothly.

Interestingly enough, Alan Ball hasn’t signed his exclusive rights tender and with the release of Ken Hamlin he could be more essential than ever before.

Its been a slow and silent offseason regarding free agency and the Dallas Cowboys. With our rivals signing big names we have remained very conservative to say the least. Maybe that’s because we already have the players we need for a championship team. After the draft, hopefully we will have a few eager rookies who will complete this team that not only were the division champs, but also won their first playoff game in 12 years.

NOTE: We will update this post as the players continue to sign in the days to come.

UPDATE (4-7-10): Pat McQuistan has signed his tender.

UPDATE (4-8-10): Jason Hatcher and Junior Siavii have signed their tender.

UPDATE (4-9-10): Stephen Bowen has signed his tender.

Deadline: April 15th

Restricted Free Agents

Miles Austin, First Round Tender

Sam Hurd, Second Round Tender

Pat Watkins, Original Draft Pick

Duke Preston, Original Draft Pick

Gerald Sensabaugh, Second Round Tender

Stephen Bowen, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Jason Hatcher, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Junior Siavii, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Pat McQuistan, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Corey Procter, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Marcus Spears, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Cletis Gordon – SIGNED 1 Year Deal

Shaun Suisham – NOT TENDERED

Unrestricted Free Agents

Montrae Holland, Unrestricted Free Agent

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

Steve Octavien, Exclusive Rights Tender – SIGNED

Alan Ball, Exclusive Rights Tender

True Blue Cowboys Pride

Until recently, I don’t think I truly understood just how many people are proud to be Cowboys fans. I’ve had tons of people request my friendship on Facebook that are fans of the Cowboys and it amazes me to see how loyal they all are! I see wonderful things each and every day from these fans that encourage others even when things may look a bit bleak. They also help keep me informed as to what’s going on with our team. I’m constantly looking things up online and watching for anything on the sports networks and yet I tend to find more info simply from all the awesome fans on FB.

There is one lady in particular that I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with that really stands out in my mind. Her name is Shelby Kelly and she may be little, but she’s one of the biggest Dallas Cowboys fans I’ve ever known! Recently, I asked her if she minded if I asked her a few questions so I could do a story on here and she gladly accepted.

What do you feel are some of the ways you show your Cowboys pride the best?

Year around, I can be found wearing our star but during the season, it’s head to toe silver & blue! I am a season ticket holder so I’m at every home game. My house has Cowboys every where! What started as a one room “man-cave” has grown to take over two rooms and two hallways. I attend as many player events as possible and I invite all my friends to meet me there! It’s a simple way to show your support for the players and the team.

The biggest way I show my Cowboys Pride best is sharing with others. Whether fans meet up with me for the fun or they are waiting online for me to tweet, blog or post pictures; sharing has allowed me the opportunity to meet Cowboys fans from around the world and make friends with people in my area that I may have never met otherwise. These amazing people inspire me and I love them for that!

When the team happens to not be doing so well, how do you keep such a positive attitude?

I’m a positive person! *giggle* I don’t see a value in negatives and pity parties. The trick is to put it behind you quickly and remember what the individuals on the team are capable of doing. If I know they could have done better, I’m sure they know it, too. They are probably beating themselves up over it: which is not where we want our players to be. Learn from it and jam on!

What do you think the team can work on to improve their game?

I would like to see the team work on mental aspects of the game. I think this would help them remain calm before big games and when they find themselves in a situation on the field. Many of our errors were mental. Also, would like to see the fans work with the team better by remaining quiet when our QB is behind the center and screaming our heads off for our “D”.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done as a Cowboys fan?

Well, there are quite a few stories I could share! *chuckle* Like throwing gum at Michael Irvin, doing the robot with Deon and Isaiah or the time I told Dave Campo, “Don’t act like you have some place to be! I’ve been watching D. Ware highlights!”… or standing in a parking lot for hours on a beautiful August afternoon in Texas (aka: 100+ humid degrees) for the opportunity to be on the field for a few minutes before the final open practice Texas Stadium would ever see… I’d do it again! Only I’d get there earlier! My son and I met Walt Garrison later that day! Totally worth it!

When you hear someone talking trash about the Cowboys, what do you do?

*giggles* I don’t have to do much. I smile and ask about their team. Their answer usually explains a lot.

It’s amazing people like Shelby that make me so proud to be a Cowboys fan. She’s an excellent example of how classy and devoted the Dallas Cowboy’s fans truly are. We not only have the best team in the NFL but the best fans as well!!!

Cowboys Still Quiet in Free Agency

I hate free agency after the big players are signed. After Julius Peppers and LaDainian Tomlinson went to other teams, I got bored.

Dallas is a big part of that boredom because they haven’t done anything. They haven’t pursued anybody that may have need of.

Part of that is Jerry Jones’ fault; part of it is the fact that Dallas is such a great team that it doesn’t have a need for many players to improve the team.

Also throw in the fact that since Dallas was one of the final eight teams as in teams that went beyond the wild-card round of the playoffs, they have limits to what they can do in free agency in order to prevent a team from becoming the Yankees in baseball, who just buy themselves all the talent they want.

Dallas has done nothing. No one noteworthy has left Dallas either. Dallas does need a new kicker and Matt Stover has stated that since he was a native of Dallas, he would like to come back and play.

Jerry could be planning on drafting a kicker instead, but I really believe Stover is the way to go. We do have David Buehler, but he’s a kickoff specialist, and I’m not sure on his range from 45 yards plus.

Now before anyone goes off on tangents that we need a receiver or we need a new safety or about how a certain player really is struggling, I’m telling you right here that I’ve read no indication that Jerry intends to get rid of anybody.

The thing about Jerry is not only is he a businessman, but he knows football too, and he knows what a player can do, and he knows that players sometimes can have off years.

Take Ken Hamlin who had five interceptions in 2007, but has had only one the previous two. I can guarantee that Jerry is not happy with that, but he’s not impatient. He’s a guy who is going to give his experiments TIME before he terminates the project.

Ken Hamlin, in my opinion, probably has one more year to prove himself before Jerry starts to seriously consider trading or releasing him.

Same goes with Roy Williams. Roy Williams had a bad year this year. I cannot and will not dispute that in the slightest. However, I’ve seen Roy Williams play at really high level. I remember the Buccaneers game where he just split the coverage and went 66 yards for the touchdown.

I’ve seen Roy contort his body in the air and make some ridiculous catches. Yeah, he hasn’t been as productive as Miles Austin, but not everyone is Miles Austin.

View the rest here at: http://www.nfltouchdown.com/cowboys-still-quiet-in-free-agency/

Morning Radio and the Joy of a Quiet Offseason

Driving into work this morning I was flipping between Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio on XM. Most of the talk was about baseball and March Madness, but for a few minutes I heard some ranting regarding the new Jets/Giants stadium and their dilemma about who will open the season in the new home. After a coin toss by the commissioner it was decided that the Giants will open the stadium on Sunday September 12th and the Jets will open on the following Monday night to the huge MNF crowd.

First of all, can you imagine your team sharing a stadium with another team, even if they were in the other conference? I still find it ridiculous that they aren’t even in the state of New York. I guess some could argue that the Dallas Cowboys don’t play in Dallas but Arlington is a hell of a lot closer than say Louisiana or Oklahoma.

Another topic discussed on my morning drive radio programming also featured the Jets and their newly acquired running back LaDainian Tomlinson. The poor guy has gone from being the best in the biz to being a 3rd string back that fans hope they never see on the field. I’ve always liked LT, and I find it really sad how the world of sports works sometimes.

It seems the Jets really are trying to make some noise this offseason, but none of their moves have impressed me yet. In case you missed it they grabbed former Cowboy Nick Folk to a one year deal back in February. Their veteran kicker Jay Feely isn’t worried at all and expects a new deal despite the signing.

As for the Cowboys, everything is really quiet right now. Next month comes the draft and the release of the 2010 schedule.

StarStruck Graphics

For now you can relax and enjoy Spring Break, only five or so months until Preseason football… ;)

Why Dallas Will Not Look To Re-sign Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens is now a UFA which means unrestricted free agent. Anyone can pick him up for however much money he and his agent agree to.

He is an example of the joys of free agency which give hope to struggling teams looking to improve their team by going after experienced players for lucrative contracts.

According to Sports Illustrated, Cowboys wide receiver, Patrick Crayton, has stated that he would welcome the return of Terrell Owens should he come back to the Dallas Cowboys.

However, I don’t think the Cowboys will go after Terrell due to a few reasons.

A: He’s a year older and we don’t know if he’ll keep up his previous production of the past.

B: Terrell has publicly stated many unflattering comments about former teammates like how if he had had quarterbacks like Joe Montana and Steve Young throwing to him for his career, he would have numbers like Jerry Rice.

That is a subtle way of saying, ‘My QBs are not good enough to realize how open I am at all times.’

He even posted things on his twitter page, which I thought was fake at the time, but sadly, it was confirmed to be true.

His exact words when responding to a fan that had stated he was unhappy that T.O. was no longer in Dallas were: “Neither ws i, blame the OC & romo!! but i’m happy 2 b where i am but i miss the other guys tht were & r true teammates!!”

The “OC” is offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who calls all the plays for the Cowboys. We all know who Romo is.

So, how can Dallas just welcome back a guy who has insulted the two guys that are responsible for Owens getting the ball at all?

C: We already have an accomplished receiving corp. Roy Williams is going to start next year as said by Jerry Jones, the owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, and the Cowboys are paying him starting money already with a six-year contract of $54 million and along with $26 million of that guaranteed.

Throw in the fact that Miles Austin will get a new contract soon, and he is the number one guy who will get a lot of money. Throw in the fact that the Cowboys love to run the ball just as much as they do pass it, so we can’t expect this team to be Air Coryell and play with three wide receivers every down.

Despite Roy Williams’ disappointments this year, I believe that he can improve and become that big-play wide receiver we need alongside Miles Austin.

The two guys we have now are much younger, much quieter, are more of team players, and will not have reality shows in the offseason.

I love T.O. But, we can’t have him now. We’d be wasting money on an unhappy player. Dallas is a family now. Keith Brooking is the daddy on defense and Tony is taking charge on offense, and Tony doesn’t need Terrell demanding the ball every other down.

What else is there?

Terrell Owens is not coming to Dallas. The Cowboys are going to use the receivers they have now and look to a Super Bowl win next year.

Original article posted here James Williamson is an accomplished writer for NFLTouchdown and Bleacher Report as well as a view Dallas Cowboy sites

Franchise or Not, Miles Will Stay In Dallas

According to a recent post at Star-Telegram.com the Cowboys will not franchise Miles Austin nor will they sign him to a long term deal. What?

“We don’t need to use the franchise tag,” said Stephen Jones. “How many times have you seen another team give up a one and a three?”

“It’s very difficult for us to make an offer when we don’t know what the system is going to be. I’m not saying that it won’t happen, but it may be difficult,” Stephen Jones said. “We want to win next year, but we want to win in the future.”

Jerry Jones was quoted on ESPN radio saying the Cowboys will do whatever it takes to retain Austin.

“We’re just not going to have Miles Austin any place but with the Dallas Cowboys,” Jerry Jones said on ESPN/103.3 FM radio.

I’m sure that the recent comments from Stephen Jones will send some into a tizzy and spur on an onslaught of posts raising the panic alert, but all Jones did was explain the course of action regarding Miles Austin and the current climate surrounding the yet to be determined collective bargaining agreement.

Obviously the owners want to reduce the rate of salary growth while the players union want the opposite. It may take some time before they come to an agreement that suits both of them.

With the financial picture so cloudy and hard to predict, it makes it difficult for all NFL teams to negotiate long term deals with their current players.

Would you go out and buy a new house after finding out that your company was laying off 300 workers next month?

How can the Cowboys negotiate a big deal with Austin when there’s even a slight chance that there still might be a cap, and if the owners get their way, a smaller cap…

Another huge contract on top of those already given to Roy Williams, Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware and Marion Barber could suffocate the Cowboys and prevent them from making any other additional moves.

Hopefully, a new collective bargaining agreement will be in place by March 5, 2010, thus making it easier for the Cowboys and every other NFL franchise to navigate through their offseason plans and better prepare for the new season.

Miles Austin isn’t going anywhere. He is now one of our most prized possessions and there is no way the Cowboys would risk losing him.

Dear Fellow Dallas Fans; Why Do You Want Romo Gone?

The Dallas Cowboys have been the center of criticism and unwarranted jabs for a long time.

That said, I can honestly state that this team is one of the best in the league, especially since it won its first playoff game in over a decade. It was a long time coming for us Dallas fans, and I treasure that moment up with the ones you would have on today’s holiday of Valentines Day.

However, I was sitting with my close friend and the conversation included college majors, the artwork in our homes, old memories, and finally it drifted to sports.

And I heard something from her I couldn’t believe. She actually wished that Tony Romo was off the Cowboys.

Immediately I was stunned because Tony’s coming off his best season ever.  347/550 pass completions to attempts with a 63.1 completion percentage, 4,483 yards passing, 26 passing touchdowns to only NINE interceptions, and a 97.6 quarterback rating.

Plus, we won a playoff game!!!

What else do you want? Yeah, I know. You want to win the Super Bowl; who doesn’t?

It just ruffles my feathers when I hear the fans I represent take advantage of what Dallas has in its possession. We have a top ten quarterback and they want to catapult him out of Dallas?

I think of the days when we had Quincy Carter or Drew Bledsoe starting for us. Or how about that three game stretch in 2008 with Brad Johnson as a starter?

Those were some dark times. With Tony Romo however, we are never counted as an automatic loss ever. No team suits up against us thinking they can just check this one off the to-do list.

It’s offensive and somewhat asinine to be against Tony Romo after what he has done for us. We finally have a shot at the whole thing; Lombardi Trophy, parade, and all with Romo.

That’s something we never had with Drew Bledsoe, who looked more like a worn-out punching bag at times.

That first year in 2007 when Tony Romo took over as the starter, you knew that Dallas actually had a shot. That we weren’t battling for a lower draft spot or a season about .500, we actually had a shot.

What does Tony do? He throws 36 touchdowns and we win 13 games. Get first round bye, but are knocked out by the eventual champions, the New York Giants.

Yeah, we didn’t win it all, but we made progress! Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I think the fans or viewers that harshly critique the Cowboys as losers, and Tony Romo as a incompetent player, should either jump in a lake or read Football For Dummies.

Is their any legitimate argument that Tony Romo needs to be replaced other than the fact that he doesn’t have a Super Bowl ring yet?

Is that all that the negative people have?

Ok, lets see, just a few weeks ago, Drew Brees didn’t have a title. Should the Saints have looked for someone else instead?

Peyton Manning was in his ninth season before he won the Super Bowl. Should the Colts have scrapped him back in 04?

I think it is pure impatience by fans who want to win the Super Bowl, and since Dallas has this great history of winning the Super Bowl, they believe that the team should win it right now.

Football is not royalty, there is no entitlement to the fans for anything. All we can do is hope and pray for our players. They are trying very hard to win the Super Bowl, but we need to be patient because this isn’t Troy Aikman, who actually took five years to win the Super Bowl, and the 90s Cowboys. These are the 2010 Cowboys fresh off a playoff win and ready to kick some butt.

There are all these fans that think the solution is to change quarterbacks and every time I hear that, I just scoff and roll my eyes.

Who can we get that’s better than Romo? Better yet, who is better than Romo?

Ok, lets say: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, and Kurt Warner are better.

If anybody says Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger are better because they have rings do not have any idea of how average-good passers they are while Tony Romo routinely throws for 300 yards.

Kurt Warner is retired. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees are staying where they are without question for now.

Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers are unlikely going anywhere barring some scandal or them demanding a trade.

Face it people. Tony’s the best we got. He may not have a ring, but we as fans need to give him time.

This team was sorting out its kinks when he started here, and now the first year where we actually look like a Cowboys team of the past, we win a playoff game.

You got to win a playoff game before you win the Super Bowl.

Yeah, we did lose to the Vikings the next week, but I don’t think the 85 Bears could’ve knocked Favre off his rhythm that day. They just had our number and it happens.

‘Next time, we’ll have their number’ is the kind of attitude I need to see more of. How can anyone say that Tony Romo is a bad quarterback when he threw for nearly three times as many touchdowns as he did interceptions?

Please view the rest here: http://www.nfltouchdown.com/dear-fellow-dallas-fans-why-do-you-want-romo-gone/

James Williamson is also an accomplished writer for SB Nation, NFLtouchdown, and Bleacher Report.

Michael Irvin Accused Of Rape

Hall of Fame wide receiver, Michael Irvin, has been accused of forcible rape by a young woman at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in 2007, a month after he gave a moving speech at the Hall of Fame.

There are no criminal charges yet, but the woman is filing against him in civil court with a lawsuit. She will be known as the woman because her name has been kept confidential. Even the lawsuit states her as Jane Doe.

Irvin’s lawyer, Larry Friedman scoffed at the charge calling it, “totally untrue.”

In fact, he is stating that no kind of contact of any physical nature, consensual or forced, happened between the plantiff and Irvin.

I’m sorry, but I refuse to graphically state the alleged crime because I’m not sure how young my readers are.

But, to put it in plainly, she states that Irvin got her drunk, tricked/escorted her to his room where he and another man had some fun with her, and then Irvin committed the alleged felony. After he was done, the other man had the woman ‘Lewinsky’ him.

Irvin’s brother, Derrick, was accused of helping Michael silence his crime after the deed was done by taking the woman to another room and “assisted in covering the sexual assault and rape up.”

Friedman, Irvin’s attorney, is basically calling the woman a blackmailer/extortionist.

The woman apparently spoke up after Irvin appeared on a few episodes of the television show Dancing With the Stars.

She wanted to settle for a million dollars, then went down to $800,000.

Each time, Friedman said no.

“This complaint is tantamount to criminal extortion,” Friedman said. “There is no merit to the complaint.”

Plaintiff’s lawyer stated that his client has passed a polygraph test (which, by the way, are not used in criminal courts of law because they can be fooled).

No criminal charges have been filed, but the district attorney’s office will ponder their options for a little while until a decision is made.

Building a Hall of Fame Case For Charles Haley

Charles Haley. Man, what can I say about this guy.

When you think of success, in terms of football, one of the first images that should pop into anyone’s mind is Charles Haley. No player had more success than he did.

To be on five Super Bowl teams and have five Super Bowl rings is an accomplishment that no one has been able to match, and I doubt if anyone else ever will.

The addition of free agency and salary caps have prevented dynasties from surviving in the NFL. “The teams that do stay intact, like the Patriots, are unusual,” to paraphrase my idol, Paul Zimmerman.

Therefore, it is almost impossible for a man to be on five different teams and win the Super Bowl. He’d have to be a mid-level player for one, because teams try to lock up their stars for several years.

He’d also have to be extremely lucky as well.

But, Charles Haley was more than that. Charles Haley was a difference maker. Charles Haley was a man that scared opponents. He made every defensive line he played on a better line. He made every linebacking corp he played with a better crew, and he was probably the most angry and violent man to ever play professional football.

This defensive end/outside linebacker belongs in the Hall of Fame.

To truly understand why this man is a must for a Hall of Fame, you have to look at the player. You can’t just look at numbers. You have to get inside Charles Haley’s head and understand what kind of player was he.

Was he driven? Was he a leader? Was he a locker-room cancer? Was he someone who made clutch plays? Was he a constant threat to other teams? Did his teammates respect him?

All of those things come into perspective now. We are talking about the Hall of Fame here. Charles Haley is on a list with 14 guys, and only a maximum of five of those men are going into Canton this year, and with two slots being locks for Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice, that means Charles Haley will have to beat out a minimum of ten players for a bust in Canton.

For voters to choose Charles Haley, they will need to judge every aspect of Charles Haley besides the statistics he has on football websites.

Charles Haley was born in Gladys, Virginia on January 6, 1964. He went to James Madison University and is the best player to ever come from there.

Since James Madison is not relatively known for its NFL talent or has what one would call a high competition level, Haley’s success there was overlooked.

However, arguably the greatest talent judge of all time, Bill Walsh, saw something in Charles Haley.

In 1986,  Bill Walsh realized that the 1986 draft really was weak in terms of talent. “One of our chief scouts after the draft said to other people, “That’s the worst draft I’ve ever seen.””

Walsh realized that he could make trades and accumulate multiple draft picks in order to really build depth to the 49ers. He turned eight draft picks into 14 through a variety of trades.

Out of those 14 picks, he drafted eight starters for at least one Super Bowl, most started two, in the 88-89 Super Bowls.

Walsh and his assistants saw Charles Haley in the fourth round, and Walsh knew that Haley was something to get.

Haley had very long arms that could extend and get to the passer. He was 6-5, around 250 lbs and very fast. An ideal defensive end.

Combine physical talent with Haley’s almost Viking-like warrior persona and an intense dedication that was rivaled by few, and you get a great football player.

Haley was frequently used as a pass-rusher his rookie year, and he compiled 12 sacks, despite the fact that he was playing linebacker instead of his college position of defensive end.

His second year, he only played in 12 games, and the Niners were upset by the Vikings in the playoffs.

However, in Haley’s first year as a starter at left outside linebacker, he was elected to the Pro Bowl with11.5 sacks, and the Niners won their third Super Bowl title.

Remember that the left outside linebacker is really, to the quarterbacks point of view, on the right. So, Haley managed to record 11.5 sacks with the quarterback able to see him coming most of the time since most quarterbacks are right-handed.

I’d like to know how many sacks he would have gotten if he had rushed on the quarterback’s blind side.

Not only was Haley crowned a champion, he also was recognized as a great player by one of the game

“Charles is one of the greatest players of our era,” said 49ers Vice President/General manager/Head Coach Bill Walsh. “At one point he was considered the best pass rusher in all of football. He’s been a credit to the game and very well could be a Hall of Fame candidate.”

Bill Walsh understood Charles Haley and how to deal with a man like Haley. Haley was… I can’t spin it or try to fudge the facts, he was crazy. The guy was nuttier than a cuckoo clock.

He was a manic-depressive. He could be happy and sweet as well as helpful with other players, and down and mean as a mother-in-law the next.

One of the most common similes used today to describe someone when they’re mad is to compare them to a volcano. I think that simile is used as a hyperbole too often.

Yet, that simile is what one can use to perfectly describe Charles Haley. He had so much anger in him that it did come out like ash and lava out of a volcano when he lost his temper.

He even wrote an autobiography entitled, All The Rage, which was a first person perspective of the thoughts and words of Charles Haley himself.

It really is a book that I would recommend because it can help one understand how an NFL player would think, and how to handle people with severe psychological problems.

He also was a guy who would ride you. You could not have thin skin or sensitive feelings around Haley. He was always testing you. He made fun of Joe Montana’s nose, he went after Troy Aikman’s crooked smile, he messed with Deion Sanders’ uniforms, and he even went after Jimmy Johnson’s hair.

Haley accepted teasing as well. People would talk about his head, how it was pointy and shaped like a bullet.

Some could take it, some couldn’t. Matt Millen, a highly talented linebacker for the Raiders joined the 49ers in 1989, and he said, “Now, I get to the 49ers.Within a week, I want to kill him.”

No one was safe from Charles Haley. The players needed to have thick skin or he’d eat them alive.

One of Haley’s closest friends and largest supporters is Hall of Fame cornerback/safety Ronnie Lott. Ronnie Lott was the guy that could keep Haley from going over the edge whenever Haley started pushing it too far and becoming a locker room chaos.

After the 1988 season, Bill Walsh retired from the 49ers. Defensive coordinator George Seifert was chosen to replace Walsh, and Haley was not happy with the transition.

Seifert did not know how to talk to Charles Haley. Seifert was not a good choice for a mediator, and as a coach, you have to be able to talk to your players, especially with guys like Charles Haley.

An excerpt of Haley’s book tells of what George Seifert was like as a communicator.

“When I was in San Francisco, Seifert’s way of dealing with black players was to bring in Harry Edwards. Dr. Edwards is a professor of sociology at Cal-Berkeley. He used to be a radical, but now I think he’s all about the money. Give him a check and he’ll help your team solve its racial problems. It was kind of pathetic, really. He’d come around, acting like he belonged, telling stories about how he used to be with the Black Panthers and shit. Most guys would just try to ignore him. We all knew why he was there: to be the mediator between the coaching staff and the black players. It was like Seifert said, “I’ll handle the white guys, you talk to the black guys.” What kind of bull**** is that?”

Bill Walsh was not that kind of coach. He talked to all of his players, and Haley respected him for it, but Seifert did not make that effort.

Since the 49ers were such a dominant team to begin with, the 89 season was really a breeze for them to repeat. They were 14-2 and blew out the Broncos in  Super Bowl XXIV 55-10.

One signature play in that game was when John Elway throws an interception to Michael Walter, and that would not have happened had Charles Haley not been in his eyesight. Elway could not see Walter because Haley’s pass rush prevented him from seeing that Walter was in a position to intercept the ball.

Charles Haley was the owner of two Super Bowl rings with that victory. Things did not go well after that though.

After losing the 1990 NFC Championship game to the New York Giants, the 49ers did not resign Ronnie Lott, and Lott went to the Los Angeles Raiders instead.

Matt Millen said, “It was like the ship was rudderless, and that drove Charles crazy. And so, when Ronnie left, they lost Charles Haley at the same time.”

Charles Haley said in an NFL Films interview, “Just seeing the anger and hurt in his (Ronnie Lott’s) eyes man, and that hurt went over into me and uh, because I’m a loyal friend, I could not deal with it, I could not deal with it. It just festered into everything. I just started hating being here, hated wearing the uniform.”

Forget money, strength, physical attractiveness,  and all that other stuff; my main criteria for the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with great play is great character and there is no greater measure of character than loyalty to one’s friends.

The bond that Haley shared with Lott is one that I can describe best by another use of Haley’s book.

It was 1991. The Raiders had Ronnie Lott on their team. The 49ers were in Los Angeles, and the Raiders are a decent team that finished 9-7, but the Niners should have beaten them.

The Niners didn’t even score a touchdown. They lost 12-6 in what I would definitely call an embarrassing fashion with Steve Young throwing two interceptions.

Losses like this happen though, right? This was more than just a “loss,” this was the final blow to the already unstable and frustrated Charles Haley.

“My frustration reached a peak in the fifth week of the ‘91 season, when we lost to the Los Angeles Raiders, Ronnie Lott’’s new team. After the game I had a slight nervous breakdown–or whatever you want to call it. Basically I lost control and gave the 49ers reason to believe that I really was crazy. It just seemed like I was the only guy out there playing hard, and I went up to George and told him, “You know, you’ve got to start coming down on these guys.” Everybody had big contracts, everybody was fat, with full pockets. They weren’t playing hard anymore. They weren’t hungry. But when you try to point out something like that, when you try to express your opinion, coaches always think, You’re a dumb-*** football player and you can’t tell me anything.

I tried, though. Man, did I try. When the game ended those motherf****** came in, and I really gave it to them. I started cussing out the whole team. George got sick of listening to me, I guess, so he grabbed my arm, and when he did that I just lost it. I took a swing right at his smug little head. Fortunately, I missed. But I did hit the wall, and it hurt so much–left a big knuckle print–that I got even more pissed off. I started bouncing around, cursing, yelling, throwing s***. Then I put my hand through a window and cut it to pieces. They had to stitch me up in the locker room.

I don’t know what I was thinking. My temper had gotten me in trouble before, but this was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I was in a complete f******* rage. Some of the other players tried to hold me down after a while, but I wouldn’t let them. Finally, they tracked down Ronnie in the other locker room, and he came running in. I remember he was half-naked–shorts, no shirt, no shoes. He sat down next to me, held my hand, and kept telling me everything would be all right. I just sat there shaking, crying. It was so emotional. I can’t really explain what happened, except to say that I felt like they were trying to destroy me…and they almost succeeded.”

That is as close to brotherhood as you will find. To find a man like Charles Haley, who is one of the toughest men to ever step on a football field and is willing to let another man hold his hand as he is crying is the ultimate symbol of trust.

That was the beginning of the end for Charles Haley. After the 91 season, the 49ers made a deal with the Dallas Cowboys, exchanging Charles Haley for a pair of second and third-round draft picks.

You can quote me on this. It was the trade that finished the championship roster for the Dallas Cowboys.

In 1991, the Cowboys had allowed 310 points to finish 17th in the league in defense. After Haley showed up in 1992, the Cowboys were 5th in defense and allowed only 243 points for the season.

The only change to the defensive starting roster was Charles Haley. He brought a championship attitude. A guy who had two rings in the Niners dynasty and was still as hungry as fox in a chicken house. His strength and leadership made the defense dominant enough for the Cowboys to win Super Bowl XXVII.

One play that really changed the momentum of the Cowboys in that game was when Jimmie Jones caught a fumble in mid-air on the two yard line and he dived into the endzone as fast as he could.

The only reason that play happened was because Charles Haley got his hand on Jim Kelly and forced the fumble.

Dallas got the lead with that play and never gave it back. It was one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history with a score of 52-17.

A year later, they won it all again. The Cowboys beat the Bills again with a score of 30-13.

Charles Haley became one of the few players in NFL history to have four Super Bowl rings. It is hard to get one ring, but four?

Who would have thought that he’d be getting one for the thumb in two years when the Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-20 in Super Bowl XXX.

That would be the end of championships, but not challenges for Charles Haley. He would later face a challenge that you cannot defeat by working out or sacking the quarterback or winning a Super Bowl. He would have to face the challenge of a father.

His daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Nothing hurts more to a man than when he sees his little girl in pain, and he cannot do anything to stop it. That and an injured back led Charles Haley to retire from football in 1996.

He was there for her and her fight to overcome it made him realize that he could come back to football. At the age of 35, he came back to football in 1999. He would rejoin his former team, the 49ers, who now had Bill Walsh back in charge as the Vice President and General Manager. Haley was welcomed with open arms.

It is strange though when you think of it. He’s got injuries, he has five Super Bowl rings, he definitely had done enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame. Why come back?

It is the same reason as a lot of people. For the love of the game, he came back and played.

Another oddity about Haley is that he doesn’t wear his rings. He said, “I believe that if I put it away, then I’d always keep driving and trying to get another one.” He doesn’t even remember where he put them. That’s the kind of man he is.

And you know what? He’s right. It is human nature for us to have goals and a lot of the times as we get closer to our goals or once we complete them, we lose our will to keep climbing the mountain. Charles Haley never would let that happen to him. That’s why he was a part of five championship teams.

He never wanted to stop winning, and he never did stop. After the 1999 season, he retired. He realized that he would probably end up in a full body cast if he kept playing.

Despite all the things that he may have done off the field (I’m not going to get into details because this is a PG-13 case at most), he’s a Hall of Famer. Even Jeff Pearlman, the author of the tell-all book “Boys Will Be Boys” that states all the activities, legal and illegal, of the 1990s Cowboys, believes the man belongs in the Hall of Fame which he stated on the Jim Rome Show.

If this guy, who knows everything good and bad, Charles Haley has done says he belongs, how can anyone argue he doesn’t belong?

Please view the rest here: http://www.nfltouchdown.com/building-a-hall-of-fame-case-for-charles-haley/

Former Cowboy’s Wife Dies; My Condolence to Jay Novacek

Before Jason Witten, the Dallas Cowboys had another go-to-guy at the tight end position named Jay Novacek.

He had a vital role on the Cowboys team that won three Super Bowls in four years.

However, it is with a sad heart that I have to inform Dallas fans that Jay Novacek is now a widower. His wife, LeAnne, passed away earlier today on February 1, 2010.

The 45-year-old woman was found in one of the residential bedrooms. Suicide is one of many presumed causes for her death. Jay Novacek has confirmed the passing, but is mum on whether or not it is suicide.

He and his daughter are in my prayers as they should be in yours.

Here’s to you Jay. The Big D is with you in spirit.

Your 2010 Pro Bowl Cowboys

Sadly, the 2009 season ended for the Dallas Cowboys a couple of weeks ago, but this weekend when the Pro Bowl kicks off you might reconsider tuning in. In addition to the six Cowboys elected and Terence Newman who was added last week, two more will join the Cowboys coaching staff on the NFC roster. Andre Gurode will not be playing because of knee surgery.

Tony Romo and Mike Jenkins will play in the game due to injury of the elected starters. Romo was chosen to replace Brett Favre (ankle injury). Jenkins will replace Antoine Winfield (foot injury).

That makes a total of nine Cowboys attending this year’s Pro Bowl in Miami. Philadelphia is tied with Dallas for having the most players at the game. It is also the sixth most selections in franchise history.

StarStruck GraphicsYour 2010 Pro Bowl Cowboys:

Miles Austin, wide receiver

Leonard Davis, guard

Andre Gurode, center (injured)

Mike Jenkins, cornerback

Terence Newman, cornerback

Jay Ratliff, interior lineman

Tony Romo, quarterback

DeMarcus Ware, outside linebacker

Jason Witten, tight end

Head Coach Wade Phillips and his staff

A Tough Loss To Take In

Well, 3 days later and I am finally writing an article. It was hard to take in that loss. Not because we got beat 34 – 3 but because, just like James said, we did not choke. We got beat by a team that just simply wanted it more. I am still confused because going into that game, not only did I believe we were the better team but it was being said everywhere I watched and read. NFL.com writers and analysts were saying Dallas is a better team, Broadcasters on Sports center were saying Dallas was a better team. They were playing “together” just like a championship team should. But watching the game, we simply got outplayed.

Romo did not have his best game by far but this loss was not even close to being his fault. The offensive line fell apart, the defensive line got played, simply put the Dallas Cowboys got outplayed. Don’t get me wrong I am just as much of a fan today as I have been my whole life. I stuck by them when they went 1-16. I was there with them when Tom Landry got treated like a red headed step child and DID NOT deserve it. I was there when they won 3 out of 4 super bowls in the 90’s. I will be with the Cowboys until the day I die.

Looking back at this game if I did not see the score I would never think that they got beat that bad. Let me prove my point.

Time of possession in the game was extremely close. Dallas had the ball for 30:34 and Minnesota had it for 29:26. Dallas had 16 first downs in the game with Minnesota only have 15. Dallas had only 2 penalties all game for a minimal 10 yards. Minnesota had 8 penalties for 50 yards. Minnesota only had 17 more rushing yards than Dallas but the average yards per rush was Dallas 3.7 Minnesota 3.3. Minnesota only converted one more third down that Dallas did.

Looking at those stats makes me feel better about the loss. Do I feel good about it, of course not who does or would feel good about a loss. But I know that Dallas did not choke, as a matter of fact they played a half way decent game.

This year Dallas got a HUGE monkey off their backs. After a 13 year drought, they finally won a playoff game. No we did not advance to the super bowl like we all had hoped but we made a huge step forward in our progress to becoming a championship team once again. We will learn from our mistakes and come back next year stronger faster and more hungry. Thank you Dallas Cowboys for a great season. Let’s do what we have to do this off season to keep our star players and draft some soon to be pro bowlers, and come back next year ready and raring to take on the world.