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Legends of the Star: Mr. Cowboy, Bob Lilly

Many great players have worn the Dallas Cowboys uniform with pride and distinction during the teams glorious 50 year history. None however, can lay claim to the ultimate team nickname, “Mr. Cowboy” save one, the great Bob Lilly.

Though there are many current and former Cowboys who deserve their due recognition for helping the Dallas Cowboys become and maintain the title of “America’s Team”. However, a strong case can be made that if not for Bob Lilly, it may have never happened.

Many of the newer and younger Cowboy fans have all heard of the great  Bob Lilly at one time or another. They may have even heard that he is considered by most to be the best Defensive Tackle in Cowboy history. A fact that cannot be disputed.

That said, it’s only a small part of Lilly’s amazing legacy and the impact he made on a young franchise that would soon become one of the juggernauts of the NFL.

Bob Lilly was born in 1939 and went to Texas Christian University where he became a star defensive end and was named to the All-America team. As part of this honor he received a camera as one of his awards, a gift that would surely impact the rest of his life.

In 1961 Bob was drafted with first overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, thus becoming the first ever draft pick in franchise history. He would not disappoint.

Though he was originally drafted as a defensive end, in his third year with the Cowboys, coach Tom Landry switched his position to defensive tackle where he would become one of the best at his position in the NFL for many years to come.

Lilly was a punishing defender and his tough demeanor and sheer determination made him the undisputed leader of the Cowboys famous “Doomsday Defense’. Lilly was so unstoppable, that he was regularly double and triple teamed for the majority of his career.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl a then record 11 times between 1962 and 1973, and Lilly was also a seven time first team All Pro selection.

During his long 14 year Hall of Fame career he was as durable as they came missing only one game to a leg injury.

Lilly was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, his first year of eligibility, and was the first player who spent his entire career with the Cowboys to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He is a member of the All Century Team and in 1999 was ranked number 10 on the “100 Greatest Football Players” by the Sporting News. Sports Illustrated calls him the greatest Defensive Tackle in NFL history.

In addition to being the Cowboys’ first ever draft pick, when all was said and done, “Mr. Cowboy” would also become the first player ever to be inducted into the “Ring of Honor”. He is the only Dallas Cowboy to wear the #74, and is the only number unofficially retired by the team.

Aside from football, Bob Lilly went on to become a noted photographer, a career that stemmed back to the day he began using the camera he won as an All-American. His interests included photographs of magnificent sunsets, majestic mountain ranges and scenic landscapes that captured all the natural beauty of the Midwest. He has launched a successful business where people can buy some of his most famous photographs.

www.boblilly.com

Leave It To The Media To Rain On Emmitt’s Parade

By now most of you have heard the latest controversy about Emmitt Smith’s big snub during Saturday night’s Hall of Fame induction speech.

Apparently, the media  is trumpeting the fact that Emmitt failed to thank or acknowledge his Alma Mater, the University of Florida.

The way I see it, Hall of Famers earn the right to thank whoever they damn well please when they give their induction speech. It’s one of many rights they earned by being a Hall of Famer.

One thing that is hardly mentioned, is the glaring fact that this was an NFL Hall Of Fame speech, and Emmitt went ahead and thanked all those who made his NFL Hall of Fame career possible.

Upon being drafted by the Cowboys and beginning his NFL career, I don’t believe that anyone from the University of Florida had a hand in shaping the next 15 years of his life. However, his family did… And Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson did… And of course Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin did… And as America now knows, Daryl Johnston did too.

Those were the people who helped get Emmitt Smith to the Hall of Fame, and all of them received plenty of heartfelt recognition on Saturday. 

When Emmitt was drafted in 1990 by the Cowboys with pick number 17, he thanked the University of Florida for getting him to that point in his life. His college journey was over, and new and more glorious journey was about to begin.

To hell with all the haters.

Are You Ready for the “Kam-Akwasi” Cowboy?

We find ourselves meandering through the practice notes and news each day as we lead up to the Hall of Fame game today between the Dallas Cowboys and the Cincinnati Bengals. Lots of questions from the past season are on every fans mind as we get to have a look see at some of the young players the Cowboys are prepping to make the final roster to head into our 50th season and hopefully our 6th Lombardi Trophy and NFL Championship. Since I already focused on the main position that most people are focusing on this year, left tackle, I thought I would delve into the other main question that has been dogging us since Woody left with us a big hole in the secondary when he walked off into his final sunset as a player.

Free Safety is the one main position that we over look every year. Mainly because we have a couple of guys who tend to just kind of get by and barely get the job done. We were spoiled for a long time because we had Darren Woodson back there to hold down the fort and once he left we got to see just how special he really was. This year though going into the off season Jerry decided he has had enough and gave Ken Hamlin his walking papers and went out and drafted someone that everyone thought we were looking at as a cornerback but some scouts believe that he could turn into a very good free safety. I bring you Akwasi Owusu-Ansah from a small little division II school out of western Pennsylvania.  He has a lot of the same attributes that Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie had when he came out of a Division II school, DRC has a bit more speed then him but Akwasi may be a more versatile player and be able to impact the game in a couple other ways then playing in the secondary.

Akwasi was a running back n high school and was switched to cornerback when he got to college. You can see this high school background when he is returning the ball, whether it is on an interception return, a kickoff or punt return. He has those knees just pumping away and doesn’t stop those legs churning until he is brought down.  Usually not on the first attempt at tackling him either. I have watched a couple of the highlight reels of him returning kicks and seen a couple where it took five to six attempts to finally knock him on his keester..    and some he didn’t find his knee on the ground until he was striking paydirt. With his 6 foot, 200 lb frame he is that tweener between a corner and safety when it comes to size but his 4.4 range 40 yd dash time will make you forget about that quickly especially because that speed translates on the field as well.

Now I know everyone will be questioning his ability to transition from division II to the NFL in the secondary but, that is not a worry because of his talents in the return game. Returning a football on kicks in college no matter the level the same talents are needed in the NFL. Awareness and the ability to turn on a dime and also make people miss. That is something he excelled at in college. He will have time to work on his secondary skills while returning punts and he has already gotten some praise form Brett Maxie because of his ability to learn the defensive sets while recovering from shoulder surgery in the off season. He will obviously have to learn run support to play safety as he was a cornerback in college but he has long arms and great closing speed to stop plays dead, whether its wrapping the ball carrier to tackle him or using those arms to deflect balls. His closing speed though allows him to jump routes on receivers.

All in all I think that his ability to help create turnovers, which the Cowboys need a huge shot in the arm in and also his return ability coudl help us have one of the best return games in the NFL. How would you luck to be the coach or kicker trying to decide which person to kickoff to…  Akwasi or Felix. Talk about trying to pick the lesser of two evils!

Emmitt Smith’s place in Canton is now complete

Class…It’s the one word that has always described Emmitt Smith on the field as well as off the field.

Emmitt Smith stood at the podium as the crowd gave him a long standing ovation. Then Emmitt Smith did what he had done his entire career. He showed class as he thanked everyone that got him to the Hall of Fame. It wasn’t about him at all on his night. He thanked the Cowboys organization, his coaches, his teammates, his family and the fans all around the world.

It’s been a long five years since Emmitt Smith retired from the NFL. Watching Emmitt Smith on that stage was one of my greatest moments since becoming a Dallas Cowboys fan. He made us fans proud when he played the game and he continued to make us proud as he gave his speech. Including the fans in his speech was a fantastic thing to hear from him. The smile on my face was from ear to ear. 

When Emmitt Smith broke the All-Time rushing record in 2002 the thing that always stood out to me was the special moment that he shared with Daryl Johnston. It was a touching moment as Emmitt Smith broke down and thanked Daryl Johnston for everything he had done for him. Then tonight as Emmitt Smith was thanking Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin the crowd started to chant “Moose”. Then once again like in 2002 the tears started to flow on the face of Emmitt Smith. He asked Daryl Johnston to stand and thanked him from the bottom of his heart for everything he had done for him. It brought tears to my eyes in 2002 and it brought tears to my eyes tonight.

2002 video with Daryl Johnston

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV9KShXrxT8&feature=related

Hall of Fame speech with Daryl Johnston

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/halloffame10/news/story?id=5445640

Emmitt Smith is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Right  where he belongs because of the kind of player he was and also because of the kind of person he is. He made the night about everyone around him and not about himself. I am so  proud to be able to say that I watched his entire career and loved every minute of it. I’m also proud to say that I had the pleasure of meeting Emmitt Smith back in 1993 and 1994. He signed my Emmitt Smith jersey not once, but twice for me and it will always be my most prized possession. Congratulations Emmitt Smith and thank you for being such a class act. You are most deserving of your place in Canton.

Emmitt Smith’s Hall of Fame Speech transcript from Espn.com

http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/25708/emmitt-smith-hall-of-fame-speech

Emmitt Smith: One For The Ages

Tonight’s Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony begins at 6:00 PM (CST), and Emmitt Smith will be the evening’s final speaker.

He will be presented by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who I’m sure will deliver a heartfelt introduction.

Emmitt Smith will then officially re-join his former teammates Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin for eternity in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Triplets Reunited Forever!

“I’m going home. I’m going home with the rest of the Cowboys, and I feel like it’s a place I belong,” Smith said Friday. “I saw some greats, a lot of greats [Friday]. For me even to be considered to be in that class is a wonderful thing. You’re talking about a kid that had so many odds against him.”

Smith officially will join the Hall of Fame Saturday night at the induction ceremony. He will be the last of the seven players to deliver his speech, the Pro Football Hall of Fame confirmed Friday.

Congratulations to you Emmitt on this glorious occasion celebrating your spectacular career.

Until today, your legendary and remarkable achievements belonged to the Dallas Cowboys and millions of adoring Cowboys fans. We always knew just how special you were.

But after tonight, the world will honor you and your name will become etched in the stars.

Your brilliant career will speak to football fans everywhere about your greatness and your thirst for excellence and perfection.

Your records and achievements as a player, will symbolize what all future NFL running backs will strive for and reach for in their own careers. You are the unreachable star and the mark you left on football will never be erased. You are now one for the ages.

Emmitt Will Always Be My Number One Back

StarStruck GraphicsAn hour commute really gives you time to think and relax on the way to work. It can also give you time to get really fired up. This morning on my local sports radio, The Sports Animal, the two guys on air decide to bring up Emmitt Smith and tell their listeners that they wouldn’t even put him in the top 10-15 greatest running backs of all time. Are you freaking kidding me?!

See, this is why I don’t listen to their station regularly (much like ESPN). How in the hell do you not put him even in the top 5 when he is the NFL’s leading rusher? The record books say he’s the best, the numbers don’t lie.

I just wonder how some of these idiots get their jobs. To me Emmitt Smith will always be number one, and I can understand if not everyone agrees with me. But even those who don’t put him number one have the sense to put him second or third.

I guess we just have to adjust to all of the nonsense we are going to hear this week with Emmitt going into the Hall of Fame this weekend.

Thanks for listening to me rant, now back to work.

50 Years of Cowboys Football Begins Saturday

We are coming up on the day we as Cowboy fans having been waiting for since Emmitt Smith retired in 2005. Saturday the great Emmitt Smith will join the other two Triplets when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s been a long time coming and it will be a very emotional day for all of us.

The current Cowboys team will be there supporting Emmitt and playing the Hall of a Fame game on Sunday. Interestingly enough, they will be facing the Cincinnati Bengals who now house a number of former Cowboys including Roy Williams and Terrell Owens.

Needless to say, this is our last week without football. This weekend the Dallas Cowboys kickoff the football season with a bang starting with Emmitt Smith and the Hall of Fame.

I couldn’t think of a better way to get the 50th year of Cowboys Football started.

Make sure you tune into the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday on ESPN coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. Central time. Followed by the Hall of Fame game Sunday evening on NBC, kickoff at 7 p.m. Central time.

FOOTBALL IS BACK! How Bout Them Cowboys!

You can find this mural and so much more at profootballhof.com.

Have We Met Somewhere Before?

It was announced yesterday that the Cincinnati Bengals signed Terrell Owens to a one year contract. With the Cowboys and the Bengals playing in this years Hall of Fame game on August 8th, it makes the game a little more interesting. The Cowboys will see Owens on the other sideline for the first time since being released after the 2008 season. Owens put up some productive numbers for the Cowboys while he was with the team from 2006 through 2008. Along with Owens, the Cowboys might just notice some other familiar faces from Cincinnati.

Antonio Bryant was drafted by the Cowboys back in 2002 in the second round. He played wide receiver for the Cowboys during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. He also played the first five games for the Cowboys in 2004.

Tank Johnson played for the Cowboys in 2007 and 2008 before being released after the 2008 season.

Adam “Pacman” Jones played for the Cowboys in 2008 and then was released after the season.

Roy Williams was drafted by the Cowboys back in 2002 in the first round. He played seven seasons for the Cowboys before being released after the 2008 season.

Mike Mickens was drafted by the Cowboys in 2009 in the seventh round. He was released before the 2009 season started.

Dennis Roland was signed by the Cowboys back in 2006 as a free agent offensive tackle and then released before the season.

Mike Zimmer was with the Cowboys from 1994-2006. During his time with the Cowboys served as an assistant coach for the nickel defense, defensive backs coach and then defensive coordinator.

It will be somewhat of a mini family reunion when both teams take the field for the Hall of Fame game. As far as playing against each other, I doubt there will be much of that in this game. The starters usually play a series or two and then take the rest of the night off.

In other news…

Injuries

With the start of training camp also come a few injuries. None of which seem very serious.

Felix Jones has been suffering from some swelling in one of his knees. He was held out of the morning practice on Tuesday, but decided he felt good enough to play in the afternoon practice. The team will of course continue to monitor Jones.

Jason Hatcher missed Tuesday’s practice with a hyper-extended elbow. He is expected to miss Wednesday’s practice as well.

Sean Lee also missed Tuesday’s practice with a strained quadriceps muscle. He is also expected to miss Wednesday’s practice.

Martellus Bennett missed his fifth day of practice with a sprained ankle. The Cowboys are unsure when he will return.

Camps first fight

The first fight of training camp broke out between Bradie James and Deon Anderson.

“That’s how you know you’re in two-a-days,” James said.” It’s official when you have that first skirmish. You get the red eye and you just want to go blast somebody. It kills the monotony of practice.”

“I got a little enthusiastic out there,” Anderson said.

The fight was short and both James and Anderson were seen laughing about it afterwards.

Kosier at center

Kyle Kosier took some snaps at center this week. The plan for the Cowboys is for Kosier to backup starting center Andre Gurode. This way the Cowboys can go into games with seven offensive linemen with Montrae Holland and Alex Barron as the backups for guard and tackle.

“It’s definitely different, especially with our defense,” Kosier said. “We’re playing the 3-4 so you’ve got a guy right over you and you’ve got to snap the ball and get the guy and he’s right in his face.”

“Once I get out there in some game situations I think it’ll be fine,” said Kosier

More on Dez

As the media continues to talk about Dez Bryant refusing to carry Roy William’s shoulder pads, it was Bryant telling them exactly what he was thinking on Tuesday.

“You’re trying to turn us against each but it’s not going to happen.”

“No, I didn’t know nothing about no tradition,” Bryant said.” The only thing that bothers me is when I try to do something right, you all (media) try to turn it negative. I don’t feel like that’s right.”

“I’m trying my best to do the right thing. But it seems like I can’t do the right thing because every little thing that I do, you all watch it and try to make a huge deal out of it.”

“It was never an issue. The media made it an issue. It was never nothing.”

“We are fine,” Bryant said.” In fact, it’s not even a situation. Me and Roy are great. Not only me and Roy, but the whole team.”

As Bryant was expressing his feelings towards the media he was signing autographs for fans. The fans then started chanting at the media…

“leave him alone”

Training Camp Less Than A Month Away

Training camp is just right around the corner, less than a month away actually. The dates and times of the camp were announced yesterday. The Cowboys will split dates between San Antonio, TX and Oxnard, CA.

Camp will open July 24th in San Antonio and run through August 6th before the team transfers to Oxnard from August 13th-27th. In between the journey the Cowboys will have two preseason games, one being the Hall of Fame game in Canton, OH versus the Bengals on August 8th, and the other the preseason opener against the Raiders August 12th at Cowboys Stadium. During that week the team will practice at Valley Ranch before their trip to California.

You can find the full camp dates and times on the Cowboys official website.

Training camp is open to the public. If you attend and would like to share your experience and/or photos with Lone Star Struck don’t hesitate to contact us or email me direct at lonestarstruck at aol dot com.

An Offseason Letter From Kelly

Every offseason we go through the same drought. After five years you would think one would be used to it. Every now and again you will find a story the media has brewed up to stir some controversy. Nine times out of ten those stories are speculation and hype that never develops.

The most interesting subject this offseason will no doubt be the salary cap issue and how it affects free agency. The draft is always exciting as well. We don’t have a high pick but definitely have some needs, anything can happen when Jerry Jones is in the war room.

This summer will definitely be a memorable one for many Cowboys fans. The great Emmitt Smith will finally claim his place in the National Football League’s Hall of Fame. We received great news a few weeks back that the Cowboys have been selected to play in the Hall of Fame exhibition game the same weekend. It seems like the best thing next to a Super Bowl party if you ask me.

Speaking of Super Bowl, how exciting is it that the big game will be played in North Texas this time around? Of course every year we die-hard fans believe the Cowboys are going to the Bowl, well our haters really are going to squirm this season aren’t they? Our expectations will be at an all-time high and no we won’t back down.

On another note, during the offseason we are continuing to think of ways to improve the site. Everyday as technology advances there are new ideas and the world wide web is constantly changing. One thing that has made this site unique and popular is our graphics. Our site was created back in 2006 on Myspace. As everyone can tell, Myspace is dwindling and losing popularity fast. Facebook and Twitter are where it’s at now, and who knows how long that will last before the next big thing arrives.

I’m going to need some fan feedback here. With a show of hands (votes) how many Cowboys fans would like to continue to see our graphics grow? Do you still use the graphics? Should we keep our graphics section open?

I know we still have many fans and followers who use our graphics daily and we are very grateful for your continued support. As a graphic designer it brings me great joy to create Cowboys themed images and to share them with the world. I just want to know if I should be focusing my creative energy elsewhere. Please take a minute to vote in the following polls so I can get an idea on what the future has in store for LSS. Don’t be shy, if you have ideas or requests please leave a comment or contact us in an email.


This is not a resignation letter but more of a “how can I serve you better” letter. We love the Cowboys and we love Cowboys fans. And for the record, we aren’t going anywhere but up! 2009 was our biggest year in the five seasons we’ve been around, we grew by leaps and bounds. Our new layout design was a big hit and we gained some excellent staff members who continue to impress every time they post. All of this is thanks to you, our fellow Cowboys fans. So to show our appreciation I am reaching out to you in hopes of making the site even better! I am looking forward to your feedback.

How ’bout them Cowboys!

Sincerely,

Kelly Horn
Founder/Owner/Graphic Designer of lonestarstruck.com

Cowboys To Play in Hall of Fame Game

The Cowboys will play in the NFL Hall of Fame game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday August 8th this summer. The game will air on NBC at 7 p.m. Central time.

It will be great to have the Cowboys play in Canton following Emmitt Smith’s enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.

This will mark the Cowboys fourth time in franchise history to play in the NFL’s Hall of Fame game, the last was in 1999.

The special exhibition game also means the Cowboys will have five preseason games instead of the usual four.

It’s nice to know the team that Emmitt loved so much will be there supporting him during this memorable time in his life.

Props to the NFL for recognizing Emmitt and the Cowboys (for a change).

Let the Offseason Begin

Even though most Cowboys fans began offseason weeks ago, its official now that the big game is behind us. Congratulations to the Saints for winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Drew Brees, Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints worked hard all year and definitely deserved to win it all. At least we can have joy in saying we were the first team to ruin the Saints undefeated season.

In other news, I think its sad that no one is shocked that Michael Irvin was fired from his ESPN show and at the same time was accused of rape. What else can you say?

Congratulations to Emmitt Smith for his Hall of Fame induction announcement. I cheered so loud when they announced his name at the Super Bowl to do the coin toss. Emmitt has always made us so proud, I can’t wait until he gets his moment on the stage in August.

As for the Cowboys offseason, I believe it will be relatively quiet compared to recent years. I don’t think there are any players who are unhappy… wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong. A couple of players may be ‘unhappy’ but none that have earned the right to make any noise.

I am looking forward to next season, and our road to six. The Cowboys have a great chance to play in the Super Bowl which will be extra special since its in their house! And maybe I’ve mentioned this several times, but it happens to fall on my birthday. I know every year we believe the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl but I’ve got extra high expectations for 2010!

So Cowboys fans – sit back, relax and enjoy the offseason. Hopefully it won’t last too long.

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