Tony Pollard Jersey


—Swiss army knife in the Memphis offense who showcased a skill set as a runner, receiver and return man.

—One of the best return men in college football; returned seven kicks for touchdowns during his time at Memphis.

—Slasher who can get to the second level in a hurry and does a good job finding openings outside. Has some scoot to his game to run away from defenders.

—Very good receiver out of the backfield; can be used on dumps, wheels or even split out as a wide receiver. Can be dangerous on jet sweep options.

—Instant-impact special teams player who has upside as a runner or receiving option.


—Lacks strength as a runner and doesn’t have the gear to push the pile.

—Limited reps as a true running back because of the play of Darrell Henderson. Might be more of a gadget guy.

—Tweener prospect who will only be a fit in some schemes because of lack of power and vision as a runner and undeveloped route-running ability.

—Jack of all trades, master of none. Teams who don’t value his return skill set will have little use or value for him.

—Didn’t wow with speed or agility. Has average long speed, burst and juice in his hips to make defenders miss.


Pollard is the answer if NFL teams are looking for a return specialist, but he lacks value as a straight-up running back prospect. Pro teams will have to find a role for him, but if they do want a highly productive return man and upside third-down option, Pollard is a good value late in the draft.

Former Tiger kick returner/wide receiver Tony Pollard was selected Saturday by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.

Pollard became the second Tiger drafted this year. Running back Darrell Henderson was taken Friday by the Los Angeles Rams with the 70th overall pick in the draft.

Pollard played a versatile

Pollard played a versatile role under coach Mike Norvell, getting reps at running back and wide receiver. He rushed for 941 yards and nine touchdowns while catching 104 passes for 1,292 yards and nine receiving touchdowns. No other Tiger produced more all-purpose yards in the last two years.

In addition to his rushing and receiving numbers, Pollard could earn a slot with Dallas as a kick returner.

The Memphis native tied the NCAA record for kickoff return touchdowns with seven. He broke a 20-year drought in 2016 when he returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in a 34-27 win over the Temple Owls. Special teams play earned him All-American honors in 2017.

Teams started kicking away from Pollard in his last season at Memphis, so he returned only one kickoff for a touchdown. That was a 97-yard return in the Birmingham Bowl that tied the NCAA record.

Henderson, who was selected No. 70 overall by the Rams, and Pollard being picked make it consecutive years where two Tigers were picked in the NFL Draft. Anthony Miller and Genard Avery were the two Tigers selected in 2018.

Tony Pollard grew up in Memphis and played his high school football at local Melrose High School before playing at the University of Memphis, and he is now preparing for the National Football League Draft this weekend.

The former Memphis standout has been constantly working out and going on pre-draft visits following the conclusion of his redshirt junior season, and he said he is finally getting to sit back and enjoy the process and his hard work.

“The whole process has been surreal for me, and I couldn’t be happier to be in this position,” Pollard said. “It’s crazy to me that I’m just a kid from Memphis and all my hard work led to this point.”

Throughout the draft process, Pollard said he turned to his former college, high school and little league coaches for advice on how to handle the countless visits, workouts and interviews.

“Everything has been crazy over the last few months, but luckily I’ve had my family and mentors to lean back on,” Pollard said. “They’ve all told me that I only get to do this once, so I’ve really been trying to take it all in and enjoy it along the way.”

When I spoke with Pollard, he was on his way to yet another pre-draft visit. With the NFL Draft only a few days away, Pollard said he was not quite sure how to feel at this point.

Pollard said his emotions have been “all over the place” recently, and he is ready and hopeful to hear his name called at some point.

“With the draft basically being here at this point, I’m not really sure how to feel,” Pollard said. “It’s hard to believe I’m at this point already.”

Since finishing his career at Memphis, Pollard has been courted by multiple NFL teams, and he said he feels like he has handled himself well throughout the process. Throughout the NFL draft process, teams are known for asking tough questions, but Pollard said he has been prepared.

“With playing in the Senior Bowl and talking to all the scouts and all the media training in college, I feel like I’ve done well in all my interviews,” Pollard said. “I think I’ve been able to show teams who I am as I person, and I feel like they’ve all liked me.”

Although Pollard will be heading to a different city shortly to play in the NFL, he said he will never forget his Memphis roots. Pollard said he plans on spending draft weekend in the Bluff City with his close friends and family.

“I’m not planning on doing anything special really, and we will probably just watch it at my mom’s house,” Pollard said. “I want to spend that moment with the people that helped me get to this point.

Pollard – who is now tied for the most kickoff return touchdowns in NCAA history with seven – is looked up to by young players in the city he calls home. Pollard said he enjoys being a role model to young players in Memphis, and he wants to continue to be a role model throughout his career.

“I would just tell any young football player in the city of Memphis that you can make it to the next level,” Pollard said. “If you work harder than anyone else in trust in God at all times, anything can happen. I never thought I’d be in this position, but I made it with my faith and my work ethic, and I want that for every young player in Memphis.”

“I would just tell any young football player in the city of Memphis that you can make it to the next level,” Pollard said. “If you work harder than anyone else in trust in God at all times, anything can happen. I never thought I’d be in this position, but I made it with my faith and my work ethic, and I want that for every young player in Memphis.”

Tony Pollard:

Pollard played wide receiver, running back and kick returner at Memphis, which could make him a valuable player in his rookie season with the Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott has been a workhorse for the Cowboys ever since entering the NFL in 2016, but Pollard offers a great change of pace back.

The former Tiger has a slighter build than Elliott, and he also has great receiving skills. It will be interesting to see if Dallas uses him some in the slot and some in the backfield because he certainly has the ability to do so.

Although he was projected as a sixth or seventh round pick by most NFL analysts, the Cowboys felt like Pollard could be a difference maker. Pollard will also likely take over as the Cowboys kick returner from day one.

Connor McGovern Jersey

On Jan. 2 of this year, Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern announced he was giving up his final year of collegiate eligibility to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. As it turns out, that decision had its roots in something that happened in January of 2016.

Back then, McGovern was one of four true freshmen who graduated from high school early so they could enroll at Penn State for the 2016 spring semester. That became not only a springboard for McGovern’s playing career — allowing him to emerge as a rare first-year starter on the offensive line — it also got things rolling academically.

McGovern’s father, Jim, is the superintendent of the Lake-Lehman (Pa.) School District, so obviously the family takes education very seriously. And the younger McGovern now admits that without the head start in the class room at PSU, he more than likely would have been returning for his senior season.

“Very important,” he said when asked about the impact education had on his NFL decision. “My parents made sure I would get my degree sometime very shortly. If I would have been a little farther away from graduation, that probably would have had a bigger effect (in returning).”

As it stands, McGovern still does not have his degree in agricultural business management. But he is close to earning it.

“I would have graduated this semester, so I’ll graduate in the summer now — online,” he explained. “I’m only 19 credits away from graduation. … I only have one major class and a math. Everything else is gen ed. So it’s pretty easy to get done in the summer.”

McGovern took off this semester so he could train, and then compete in the NFL Combine and later Penn State’s March 19 Pro Day. That was all in anticipation of the NFL Draft, which will take place April 25-27 in Nashville.

After Pro Day, the grind of trying to impress scouts on the field was finally complete. McGovern’s plans were simple.

“Working out here at Penn State,” he said. “Then wherever I get flown out to, whatever meetings I have, I’ll take care of that.”

Mock drafts have McGovern being anything from a second- to fourth-round pick. He gets the sense it will be the former as opposed to the latter. Why?

“I think my versatility is a big factor for it, and just how I’m able to play all five positions and do it well — especially the interior three,” he said.

He’s going to find out soon enough. McGovern plans to have a draft party with his extended family at a bar near his hometown of Larksville, Pa.

“I think that’s gonna be a very hectic and chaotic time, but a great day in my life — one of the best moments, I think,” he said.

And one that will stem in part from his decision to enroll early at Penn State back in January of 2016.

Connor McGovern was a 4-star prospect from Lehman, Pennsylvania. He was very familiar with the Penn State program and took multiple visits to the school during his recruitment journey. However McGovern was really interested in playing for North Carolina. He really liked the program and with it came down to chose between the Tar Heels and the Nittany Lions McGovern chose the latter because of the shorter commute from his home town. He got to work right away in State College and was bar none Penn State’s best offensive lineman over the past two seasons. He has starting experience at center which he started all 13 games at the position during his sophomore season and right guard which he played this year. He has a tough and competitive demeanor and is considered a pro ready option at either center or guard in the NFL. McGovern confirmed what you saw on tap with his numbers at the combine and even surprised people with his agility and explosion tests. He ought to have teams of all types of blocking schemes interested in him if they need help on their interior OL.

Good size, strength, athleticism, and length for the position.
Plays with a nice wide base and light feet in pass protection. Short area quickness and agility allow him to keep up with speed while his lower body technique helps him handle power through the rep. He plays with solid arm extension and can lock up guys keeping them at bay with his length and strength.
Plays with good awareness and knows when to pass off rushers to his teammates to take care of more immediate threats. Moves well maintaining the pocket and that explosion and power shows itself off the snap when he’s asked to perform power blocks.
Athleticism shows itself when he’s asked to pull and seal as well and work to the second level.
Position versatility with experience playing guard and center.

Can have trouble maintaining hand placement and leverage when asked to maintain blocks downfield. He relies too much on his upper body in space to maintain control and can get thrown off balance.
Will revert to lunging and bending instead of resetting his base and using his feet when beat by speed. He can overcompensate his recovery and open up holes in the pocket for second wave rushers to come through.
Lacks overwhelming power in space due to the above if he can correct some technique and angle issues he’s going to be a force.

I was out of the country last week but I couldn’t get away from reading Hogs Haven. McGovern is mentioned as an option for the Redskins in the 3rd round to fix their longstanding left guard issues. McGovern is ready to play now. Front offices like his size and power and that he is ready to go on day one. Sorry to burst bubbles but all of the starting guards are going to be gone by end of round two. If the Redskins want a day one ready player like McGovern who doesn’t need to add weight or work out in the weight room they are going to have to spend a second round pick. This may not surprise some of you if you look at where the majority of starting guards have been taken in the draft the last few years who did need that type of development to get on the field in their first season. How does he fit? He would be an asset in the Redskins power run scheme. This is an area he shines in because of his blend of power and athleticism. He would also improve the line in pass protection and playing between Trent Williams and Chase Roullier he ought to shine with that kind of support. He also gives the Redskins flexibility with his position versatility and he has been healthy and is still very young. He ought to earn a second contract with the team that drafts him. Will it be the Redskins?

Trysten Hill Jersey

The Dallas Cowboys conducted a thorough check on defensive tackle Trysten Hill before selecting him in the second round (58th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Hill’s dedication to football was called into question at Central Florida.

Still, the Cowboys felt good enough to bring him aboard after talking to his college coaches and requiring Hill to sign a work ethic contract with Cowboys defensive coordinate Rod Marinelli.

As for the work ethic contract, turns out it had nothing to do with Hill’s time in college. Instead, the informal procedure, which details expectations, is more for internal use among the Cowboys’ defensive linemen.

“I do this with every guy from a free agent to a draft pick, just my own copy of it, back and forth, front and back,” Marinelli said, via Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram . “It talks about how we play, what I ask of you in practice, day of games, all of it. I am very clear of it.

“I said to him, ‘If it doesn’t fit you, tell me now, because you will not be happy here. I told him to keep it, and he said, ‘Coach I feel great about this.’ It’s just about how you play. It’s a lot of different things, but how you carry yourself, how you play in our system. The effort and the want to, every snap. We’re unique that way — how hard we practice and play. I usually see that on film early with guys. He really plays hard. If you watch his tape, he really hustles. That’s the passion we want in these guys.”

Barring any specific legal language built into Hill’s actual rookie contract, which he hasn’t signed yet, the informal agreement between the second-round pick and Marinelli won’t hold weight in a court of law.

But it’s a unique honor-bound and motivational approach between two men, and Marinelli and Hill established a bond during the pre-draft process and stayed in touch leading to the draft.

“I can’t put into words how important our relationship is with each other,” Hill said, via the Star-Telegram. “He wants the best out of me and I want to give him everything I’ve got. Him really taking hold of me this whole process, and me being able to call him and chat with him and hear his voice was huge in this whole ordeal.”

Now, it’s up to Hill to stay true to his word to put in a full effort on the football with his new team.

FRISCO — What seemed like an interminable wait came to an end a little after eight o’clock Friday evening when the Cowboys jumped into the proceedings.

Three safeties the team invited to the Star before the draft and contemplated selecting in the second round were still available at No. 58 when Dallas went on the clock. Club officials didn’t blink.

They took defensive tackle Trysten Hill from Central Florida.

The decision underscores yet again what the Cowboys value on defense. Someone to pressure the quarterback, either on the edge or inside at the three-technique that Hill will play, takes precedence over a safety.

The Cowboys came back in the third and showed what they value on offense by taking Penn State offensive lineman Connor McGovern. Given the team’s strength at the position, it’s something of a curious pick. McGovern is an interior lineman, playing all three spots, but should be viewed as depth in his first season.

Why take him? Two defensive backs that held an interest for the Cowboys, safety Will Harris and cornerback Justin Layne, went a few spots before Dallas was on the clock at No. 90.

“He’s just a really good football player,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “He was the best player, by far, at the time on our board.”

The same goes for Hill.

This defense hasn’t had a truly productive player at the three-technique since Jason Hatcher recorded 11 sacks in Rod Marinelli’s first season with the Cowboys defense. Hill became close with Marinelli during this process, calling the defensive coordinator out of the blue a week ago just to check in.

“This is a dream come true,” Hill said on a conference call with local reporters shortly after his selection. “This is everything I ever wanted, to play for coach Marinelli and play for this organization and have that star on my helmet.

“Rod wants the best for me and I want to lay it all on the line for him and this organization.”

Washington’s Taylor Rapp, Virginia’s Juan Thornhill and Florida’s Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, three players who paid pre-draft visits to The Star, were still on the board at No. 58. So was Delaware’s Nasir Adderley.

Three of those players went within the five picks after the Cowboys’ selection.

“Well, I think disrupting the passer helps makes safeties play better, makes it easier for them to do their thing,” owner Jerry Jones said of the clear positional preference. “When you can get rush and disruption, which is what we think his game is, I think that is where it starts.

“We liked him as a player better than the alternative and he happens to fit us better. We’ve discussed this for several days.”

Will Hill step in and start as a rookie? That’s unlikely. Maliek Collins is the starter. The club also added Kerry Hyder in free agency.

But Collins is a free agent at the end of this upcoming season and while he’s been solid, he’s hasn’t provided the consistent push that Marinelli craves from that spot.

“He’s sure going to compete to start,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “He has the skill set.

“You know how Rod rotates the defensive linemen. If you’re in the top seven, in my mind, you’re a starter. He’s got all the skills to do that.”

Hill echoed that assessment.

“Being in that three-technique next to (DeMarcus) Lawrence and next to those guys, I think I’m able to get off the ball and get in the backfield and disrupt and contribute early and contribute a lot,” Hill said.

“I think I’m a dominant, tenacious player that wants every bit of the competition. That’s how I was raised. That’s what I’m going to do day in and day out.

“I’m excited to get to work.”

This marked the fifth time in the last six years that Dallas has used its second round pick on defense.

McGovern, meanwhile, is the sixth offensive lineman the Cowboys have taken in the first three rounds since Garrett presided over his first draft as head coach. Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin were all taken in the first round. Connor Williams was taken in the second last year and Chaz Green, who is no longer with the team, was a third round pick.

McGovern said the Cowboys had no real contact with him until they called Friday evening to inform him he was their pick.

“He’s smart, tough, and loves to play the right way,” Garrett said. “More than anything else, there is the blinking light. He was a highly graded player with all of the intangibles.

“We just said let’s take this guy.”

Demarcus Lawrence Jersey

FRISCO, Texas (105.3 The Fan) DeMarcus Lawrence and the Dallas Cowboys have agreed to a five-year, $105 million contract extension with $65 million guaranteed, according to league sources.

The star defensive end known as “Tank” had expressed both optimism about the negotiating process, though he was saddled with the franchise tag for 2019.

“They know where I want to be,” Lawrence said. “I got big goals, not just for me but us as a team and as an organization. I love being a Cowboy.”

Lawrence played under a franchise tag in 2018 that paid him $17.1 million. There was a sort of understanding that Dallas wouldn’t leave him hanging that way again, and through some tumultuous negotiations that threatened to do just that, feathers were ruffled. One key: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones referred to Lawrence as if he would be a “depreciating” asset should the player choose to continue to delay his shoulder surgery while using that delay as a negotiating tool.

But now? The 26-year-old, who last year delivered a second straight double-digit sack season and a Pro Bowl effort, can move onto the surgery, which figures to carry with it a three- to four-month recovery period, and be fully ready to terrorize QBs again in 2019.

Dallas selected Lawrence in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft after trading up, personnel boss Will McClay pushing for the move by pounding the table and labeling Lawrence “a QB hunter.” It was the start of a process and a policy of “draft ’em, develop ’em and pay ’em” that has worked with a trio of star Cowboys offensive lineman … and now carries over to the D-line as well. Lawrence registered 14.5 sacks in 2017 and 10.5 this past season while playing through injury.

In 2019, he’ll play left end, and newly acquired Robert Quinn will line up at right end, giving Dallas bookends of credentialed standouts along the line.

DALLAS — DeMarcus Lawrence has the long-term contract he felt he deserved after the star defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys played one season under the franchise tag.

Lawrence and the Cowboys have agreed on a $105 million, five-year contract with $65 million guaranteed, two people with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press on Friday. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.

The sides had until July 15 to work out a long-term contract after the club used the franchise tag on its best pass rusher again. A year ago, Lawrence signed the $17.1 million offer right away. This time he didn’t, and had been putting off shoulder surgery while negotiations dragged.

The talks heated up quickly this week, not long after executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones said at the NFL owners meetings that Lawrence and his representatives were at an impasse. They didn’t get close to a long-term deal last year.

Lawrence tweeted soon after news of the agreement broke , saying “New Number Who Dis?” Cowboys safety Kavon Frazier was a little more specific with his congratulations for one of the leaders of the Dallas defense, writing “SOMEBODY CALL THE BRINKS TRUCK.”

Getting an agreement before the draft means Lawrence can participate in offseason activities, pending shoulder surgery. There was a strong likelihood that Lawrence, who turns 27 late this month, would have stayed away from the team without a contract.

The total value of the contract trails only Chicago’s Khalil Mack ($141 million) and Von Miller of Denver ($114 million) among edge rushers. Both are three-time All-Pros. While Lawrence has been to the past two Pro Bowls, he’s still looking for his first All-Pro nod.

Lawrence earned $17.1 million under the tag last season after finishing tied for second in the NFL with 14½ sacks in 2017. He had another double-digit season with 10½ last year, and is considered one of the better run defenders among pass rushers.

The deal comes about a week after Dallas acquired defensive end Robert Quinn in a trade with Miami. Quinn figures to start opposite Lawrence unless Randy Gregory is reinstated from his fourth substance-abuse suspension.

Lawrence was the first defensive end the Cowboys drafted, trading up to early in the second round in 2014 not long after releasing franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware.

The former Boise State player’s career started slowly, with eight of the nine sacks from his first three seasons coming in his second year. He battled injuries early in his career, and was suspended four games to start the 2016 season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancers.

The healthiest season of Lawrence’s career was his best, when he had 10½ sacks in the first seven games. He has 34 sacks in 64 games in his career.

Consider DeMarcus Lawrence paid.

The stud pass-rusher reportedly agreed to a five-year, $105 million contract with the Cowboys on Friday, including $65 million in guarantees, as per The MMQB.

Lawrence had been franchise tagged by Dallas for a second straight season and had until July 15 to work out a deal. The sides had been at an impasse on a long-term deal until this week. That may have been due to the player delaying surgery on a torn labrum he played through last season until he had a new deal.

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Less than a week after signing the monster contract he longed for, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence will undergo surgery to finally fix a torn labrum he’s played through the past two years.

On Friday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told Mike Fisher of 247 Sports that Lawrence has scheduled surgery for Wednesday. According to the Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr., who also reported that surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, Lawrence is expected to need 3-4 months to recover. The Cowboys’ official team website wrote that the recovery is likely to take a minimum of three months.

That’s all good news for the Cowboys. If they hadn’t reached a contract agreement with Lawrence so early in the offseason, they might have been faced with the possibility of beginning the upcoming season without their best pass rusher. And after losing defensive end Randy Gregory to yet another suspension, the Cowboys couldn’t afford to be without Lawrence, even though the recent trade for Robert Quinn would’ve helped soften the blow. Now, with Lawrence under contract and on track to be ready for the beginning of the season, the Cowboys will be able to pair Quinn with Lawrence.

Despite having a torn labrum, Lawrence has racked up 25 sacks the last two seasons after totaling only nine sacks through his first three seasons. He’s the best player on a talented defense that finished last season ranked in the top 10 in points allowed, yards allowed, and DVOA. Most of that defense will be back and they’ve also added Quinn, who has 69 career sacks and 15 over the past two seasons. The Cowboys have also remained hopeful that Gregory, who recently signed an extension, will be able to play during the upcoming season.

It’s worth wondering if Lawrence’s level of play will improve (a scary thought) once he’s fully healthy. It’s also worth wondering how he would’ve handled the injury if contract negotiations with the Cowboys had stalled.

His shoulder injury is likely one significant reason why the team felt compelled to address his contract sooner rather than later a year after he played under the franchise tag. They couldn’t afford to be without Lawrence when the season begins (and beyond). At some point, they were going to need to pay him. With good reason, they just did it a bit earlier than anyone really expected.

Amari Cooper Jersey

FRISCO — Amari Cooper hit up a local suit store recently to shop for game day. Cowboys players are required to dress up, and their arrival at the stadium is treated like a virtual fashion show on social media.

The salesperson kept bringing him pairs of shoes to go with the looks. “No,” Cooper kept saying, “no.” His childhood friend who was visiting spied one pair and started laughing, Cooper recounted.

They looked like Cooper’s old “church shoes.”

Growing up in the west Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Cooper was the youngest of five, and he owned only one pair of shoes at a time. He wore them for church, but also for school, for everyday, for playing football.

“They were my everything shoes,” the wide receiver who changed the course of the Cowboys’ season said in a recent interview with The Dallas Morning News. And, as he explained it, the shoes “talked,” meaning the sole separated from the rest of the shoe and flapped.

“My mother, she used to buy super glue to glue the part back on,” Cooper said. “But I was playing football … so I would shake and run. They would always come back loose and the glue would be showing.

“It’s kind of funny now. But all my friends remember that.”

The memory is a glimpse into Cooper’s backstory that surprisingly remained largely private as he emerged from a low-income area and football hotbed to become part of the University of Alabama dynasty and the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft in 2015.

The Cowboys deemed the 24-year-old, two-time Pro Bowler their missing piece and worthy of the 2019 first-round draft pick they gave the Oakland Raiders to get him. When the trade was made Oct. 22, the Cowboys were 3-4. The 7-2 finish to the regular season and wild-card playoff game Saturday night against Seattle at AT&T Stadium — another chance for a franchise starved for postseason success — seemed almost fantastical at the time.

Cowboys and their fans continue getting to know Cooper, the gifted route runner with game-breaking ability who is thoughtful and economical with his words. But Michael Irvin is already convinced. The Cowboys’ Hall of Fame receiver said he sees Cooper joining running back Ezekiel Elliott, 23, and quarterback Dak Prescott, 25, as the core of the Cowboys’ offense for the next decade.

“Amari, his personality, the way he is away from the football field, I knew he would fit perfectly with the kind of leader Dak is and a young Ezekiel Elliott,” Irvin said. “You have a young quarterback, that’s the best thing you can give him — a guy that is so great at getting in and out of his cuts … knowing that he’ll be wide open.

“He’s such a great fit, and now these guys can play together hopefully for the next nine, 10 years. And hopefully do a lot of winning. It’s a great combination.”

Cowboys fans immediately took to crooning “Cooooooooop” after big plays. Cooper’s teammates did it too recently, when coach Jason Garrett selected No. 19 to lead the team in jumping jacks at the start of practice, a prized ritual of Garrett’s.

But Cooper does not know the man whose name he carries. Terrance Cooper, his father, is incarcerated in a Florida state prison. According to public records, Terrance was found guilty of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling in May 1996, when Amari wasn’t yet 2. He received a 30-year sentence because he was ruled to be a habitual felony offender. His projected release date is June 17, 2022.

“So I never knew him, never went to visit him,” Cooper said. “It doesn’t [bother me] because I don’t know him. Obviously it did when I was younger. I used to always be like, ‘Where’s my dad?’ You would see guys getting picked up from school and stuff like that. But after a while, nah.”

Cooper’s world was made up of a small square in his neighborhood. His home, his elementary school, the local park and community center were all within a few blocks.

Cooper attended The Barnyard, a nonprofit organization that provides free after-school and summer programs, from the time he was 5. Travis Swain, the neighborhood services coordinator at the time, said it was Cooper’s second home. Cooper was always running around with a basketball or football.

“Everything was really competitive,” Cooper said. “We used to always do field day, relays. Races. I was always just naturally good at those things. So when I started playing football, I used some of those traits.”

Swain recalled the pick-up football games played on the tennis courts. They would have “bowl games” for whatever holiday was coming up, from the Valentine’s Day Bowl to Christmas Bowl.

Cooper remains so fond of The Barnyard that he donates books — and, because it’s important to him, shoes.

Ashley Williams, one of Cooper’s three older sisters, said the kids who used to give Amari a hard time about his “talking” shoes “can’t say anything now.”

Michelle Green, Cooper’s mother, used to do hair, and clients came to the house on Saturday mornings. So Williams and her sisters and their friends would go to the park to watch Cooper’s youth league games. “I’ll never forget the touchdown he scored from one end of the field to another,” Williams said.

Cooper said playing receiver always felt natural to him.

“That’s all just God-given,” he said. “When someone did a route, I was always able to emulate exactly how they did it.”

Cooper transferred to Miami Northwestern High School, in Liberty City. The football program is renowned for the championships and NFL talent that it’s produced in a city known for taking football seriously.

One of Cooper’s quarterbacks there? Teddy Bridgewater, currently with the New Orleans Saints.

Cooper fit in, even though “he put himself right in the fire” by enrolling at the competitive powerhouse, said Luther Campbell, who was the school’s defensive coordinator. Campbell, also known as “Uncle Luke,” is the former star of the rap group 2 Live Crew and is immersed in the youth football scene in Miami.

But Cooper dealt with a hip injury as a junior and didn’t have much to show college recruiters.

“I was really worried,” Cooper said.

That changed when he tried out for the South Florida Express, a well-known 7-on-7 team. Founder Brett Goetz said Cooper stood out immediately, despite the team’s being loaded.

After Cooper dominated at a tournament near Tampa, the word was out.

“I’m getting on the bus and guys are showing me Rivals and stuff,” Cooper said of the recruiting website. “‘Look! They’ve got you on there, you’re a three-star now!’ I’m like, ‘Wow, really?'”

Campbell annually takes a group of Miami kids to summer camps on college campuses, from Miami to Florida State to Alabama.

Campbell asked coaches to pit the best defensive backs against Cooper. By the time they arrived in Tuscaloosa, Ala., legendary Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had heard of the receiver dominating the circuit, Campbell said.

Cooper called what happened next “indelible” in his mind.

“It really happened the same way every time,” Cooper said. “The same way Nick Saban came up to me. I caught a comeback route on one-on-ones and he took off his hat, came up to me and said, ‘I’m going to meet you in my office later.’ … It was just weird. How could you offer me a scholarship after seeing one play, two plays? That’s how you know they’re good coaches, they have good eyes for talent.”

Saban has said he walked away thinking “this guy may be the best receiver we’ve ever had in our camp, and we’ve had some really good ones.”

Cooper now owns the major receiving records at Alabama. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2014, the year he won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver.

Garrett sounded out Saban, his former boss at the Miami Dolphins, before Dallas pulled the trigger on the trade.

Before she made enough money to buy a truck, they didn’t have a vehicle. She had to trek a couple of miles back and forth to the grocery store, weighed down with bags.

When she finally could attend a game in Cooper’s senior year at Northwestern High, he was racked with nerves.

“She’d never seen me play. What if I drop the ball or have a bad game?” he said. “I scored two times that game, so it was really cool.”

Cooper’s family has still yet to see him play as a Cowboy. He said he still gets nervous when his mom attends. “She’s probably seen me play in the league two or three times,” he said.

His mother also doesn’t love to fly. She did brave the long trip to Hawaii, though, when Cooper made the Pro Bowl as a rookie for the Raiders in 2015.

Cooper’s first major purchase after being drafted was a house for her. The next year, he bought her a Range Rover. Eventually, he posted a picture of Michelle standing in front of both on Instagram. He said he’s still driven by the fear of poverty.

“The whole story is way too long and melancholic,” he wrote. “But just know a dream can go a long way if it’s followed by faith and hard work.”

Cooper’s Cowboys teammates have been learning about him over the last two-plus months.

He finished up his degree at Alabama, by taking online courses, and graduated in May. His girlfriend is studying psychiatry. He became a bookworm in college, and he’s currently plowing through books on investing in real estate.

On Thursday, he took part in a team locker room tradition: hamper basketball. He and offensive lineman La’el Collins clanked plenty of shots off the metal rims of the laundry baskets in the middle of the room.

Most people who encounter Cooper observe that he’s quiet and reserved.

“We’ve definitely grown,” said Prescott. “I knew he was kind of a quiet guy. He’s not one to call out in front of everybody. He knows what he’s doing. So, just pull him off [to the side] and you get a better result when you talk to him that way.

“At the same time, once he loosens up, he does talk a bit. I would never say he’s the attention of the room — but he’s got a little bit to him as he’s opened up.”

Cooper’s sister said he’s always having fun and talking around the family. But they have seen a change in him since he joined the Cowboys, including showing more visible emotion during games. “I’ve never seen him like that,” his sister Ashley said. “It’s a big change. I’m just excited for him to be on a team that he’s happy.”

Cooper, who crossed the 1,000-yard mark last week for the third time in his four seasons, has said he wants to prove Dallas right for giving up a first-round pick for him.

Cooper’s most memorable games as a Cowboy, so far, are his 180 yards and two touchdowns against Washington and 217 yards and three scores against Philadelphia. While some of his other days have been more ordinary, defenses still have to account for him, wary of his next big play.

Cooper has played in only one playoff game, a two-catch, 10-yard performance with a backup quarterback for Oakland in 2016. He’s excited to get another chance Saturday.

“Loser go home,” he said, “but if you win, you have opportunity.”

As for Irvin’s idea about Cooper being around for many years to come, Cooper’s contract only goes through next season. The Cowboys’ front office intends to try to reach a long-term extension.

Cooper is game.

“I love it here,” he said. “I’ve been really happy since I got there. There’s no complaints. I feel blessed. So, of course, I would love to be a Cowboy for the remainder of my career.”

Dak Prescott Jersey

We all know about the Dallas Cowboys. They’re as much a part of our national consciousness as apple pie. And good Lord, we love apple pie. Decade after decade, that Blue Star draws us to it. The fascination started with winning football – those five Vince Lombardi Trophies tell that part of the story – but let’s be real: The relationship is about much, much more. For the straight-laced among us, nothing says buttoned-down like the late Tom Landry’s fedora. Roger Staubach went from issuing commands in Vietnam to engineering fourth-quarter comebacks. In Texas, a state where football is darn near a religion, the Cowboys have the largest flock. We’ve come to expect a certain type of look by the quarterback who leads it. But the game has changed.

The new face of America’s Team is a biracial, tatted-up, whip-smart, unflappable 23-year-old, who in about the time it takes to open the roof at AT&T Stadium went from being a let’s-see-what-the-unheralded-rook-can-do emergency starter to The Man on the NFL’s hottest club. Prescott’s stunning rise (remember, dude was a fourth-round pick whom the Cowboys backed into) has been the talk of the league – and the conversation hasn’t been confined to his success on the field. To even the non-woke, it’s obvious that the Cowboys are in a new place. That means the rest of the NFL is, too.

Just glance at any credible list of professional sport’s most valuable franchises. It won’t take long to find the Cowboys: They’re No. 1. Dallas plays its home games in a $1.15-billion grown-folks amusement park masquerading as a sports venue. They don’t call it Jer-ruh World for nothing. Their still-under-construction new team headquarters is merely office space in the same manner that the Roman Colosseum is just a bunch of old bricks. The Cowboys do everything big. That team is now Prescott’s team.

The first bruh to star at quarterback for Dallas – the others who came through were mostly short-term backups, though one was a high-round pick and onetime heir apparent to a three-time Super Bowl winner – is adding an unexpected chapter to the story of America’s Team, at a time when America looks much scarier to people of color than it did only a few weeks ago. Just like the timing on Prescott’s deep balls, he has arrived as if almost on cue.Warren Moon has stayed up on what’s going down in Dallas. And he’s definitely feeling the change.

“We’re in 2016, and even after all these years, nobody has really taken that title of America’s Team from them,” the Hall of Fame passer said on the phone the other day. “And when you’re America’s Team, when that’s how a lot of people who love the game view your team, that’s going to mean something to a lot of people.

“Everybody knows their history. Everybody knows the [Blue] Star. There’s significance behind it. So to have Dak Prescott leading them, and the way he has done it, that’s a bold statement. It’s also something people are going to think about for a lot of reasons.”

Tony Romo was finished. Both literally and figuratively. It only took about five minutes for the former face of the Cowboys to officially pass the torch to the new one.

The transfer of power occurred early last week during a news conference in which Romo, 36, read from a prepared statement. The 10-year Cowboys’ starter and four-time Pro Bowler reaffirmed he was fully healed from the back injury he suffered Aug. 25, but Prescott had “earned the right to be our quarterback.”

Say what?

Owner Jerry Jones’ guy stood at a lectern and surrendered one of the plumb jobs in all of sports? The Cowboys’ QB gig is as prestigious as playing center field for the New York Yankees. It attracts the spotlight like running the point for the Los Angeles Lakers. There are certain jobs that once you’re in them, you just don’t resign without a fight. Romo knows. He waited until a past-his-prime Drew Bledsoe left the door ajar – then Romo kicked it in. The irony of the situation is downright delicious. Romo was unexpectedly usurped by someone who burst onto the scene much like he did way back when.

Sure, by all objective criteria, Prescott should have remained under center regardless of Romo’s status. The data supporting the logic is overwhelming:

The Cowboys (9-1) have the NFL’s best record
They’ve won a team record nine straight
Prescott has displayed off-the-charts decision-making
And he ranks among the league’s best passers statistically.

Despite the flashing red arrows pointing to maintaining the status quo, it still was a Texas-sized stunner that Romo backed Prescott so strongly. Think about it: When was the last time a star called a news conference to say a black man is the better man for his job?

Black excellence strikes fear into the hearts of those who long for a bygone era that black folk have no interest in reliving. A youngblood rising up in the office can wreak havoc on the workplace environment. But Prescott has been so dope in the most important job on the NFL’s glamour team, his excellence couldn’t be denied. It was so clear, in fact, that Romo decided to publicly endorse his successor despite knowing he would likely be signaling his exit from the company soon. No matter the field, we haven’t seen that occur much when bruhs are involved. If at all, USC law professor Jody David Armour said.

Armour, who studies the intersection of race and legal decision-making, is part of a growing number of scholars who are concerned about the racial climate in the country after the presidential election. The black excellence Prescott has exhibited, on such a grand platform, is needed now more than ever.

Ezekiel Elliott Jersey

The longest rush of the NFL playoffs so far — a 44-yard run by Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott — was also the fastest. Elliott hit 21.27 miles per hour as he outran two defenders, his top speed as a ball carrier this season.

We only know that statistic because of a tiny chip inside Elliott’s shoulder pads — a small piece of the National Football League’s aggressive push into advanced data and analytics. The NFL is using technology to track the game and its players like never before. For the first time, all 32 teams have access to chip data throughout the league, providing a snapshot of every player’s location 12 times per second.

And it’s not just the NFL. Every major sports league is counting on data to revolutionize how athletes train and recover — and how coaches evaluate and prepare for games. But the analytics boom has also produced some thorny questions. Should a player’s privacy factor in? Should the data be used in contract negotiations? And who should share the spoils if broadcasters and sports-gambling companies pay for the information?

To resolve these questions, research firm Sports Innovation Lab formed a 16-person advisory board with executives from the major sports leagues, unions, tech companies and gambling houses. The board will meet four times — starting this week — with the goal of producing standards and best practices by the end of 2019.

‘Over and Over’

“We see these questions over and over again,” said Angela Ruggiero, a four-time Olympic medalist for USA hockey and co-founder of Sports Innovation Lab. “Everyone is trying to solve them in their own unique, siloed way. Our plan is to accelerate that conversation.”

The discussion is advancing on two tracks: One focused on privacy; the other on money. New technology is revolutionizing our understanding of the body and its limits. Wearable devices, genetic testing and bloodwork are providing new insights. They’re also creating tension between athletes and their employers, with concerns over how information gleaned for health purposes may bleed into matters like contract negotiations.

Then there’s the massive revenue opportunity. Some of the same data may be commercially viable for social media, video games, broadcasters and gambling companies.

Betting Opportunity

Companies like casino owner MGM Resorts International are already paying tens of millions to partner with leagues like the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball — deals that sometimes include access to these data streams. Next year, for example, MGM customers may be able to bet on which NHL player skates the fastest during a game, or rips the hardest slap shot.

It’s early times, but also a critical moment. Think of athlete data in 2019 like broadcast rights 50 years ago, said Ahmad Nassar, who runs the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association.

“Broadcast rights are a very mature market, and now everybody gets it, but 50 years ago I don’t think people understood the opportunity — it was all about gate revenue, selling out games, concessions and parking,” Nassar said. “Data can follow that same path.”
Collective Bargaining

These conversations are happening all over the sports world with players, leagues and their unions. During the NBA’s 2016 collective bargaining, the league and its union wrote explicit new rules for wearable devices. Article XXII, Section 13 outlines which wearables can be used in practices and says players can opt out at any time. It also forbids the data from being used in contract negotiations.

The NFL, which signed its last labor accord back in 2011, operates differently. Teams are allowed to use the chip data in contract negotiations, and players don’t have full access to the information unless granted by individual teams. The league also has a handful of commercial partnerships tied to the data, including agreements with tech company Zebra Technologies Corp., data firm Sportradar AG and Amazon Web Services.

“The technology is just so mature, we’re able to do things that we weren’t able to do just a few years ago,” said Damani Leech, the NFL’s senior vice president of football strategy and business development, who is on the panel. “What we have to decide as a league, and with the players, is what technology is of sufficient quality to be used. And just because it’s available, should we use it? Does it belong in our game?”

The Sports Innovation Lab advisory board includes executives from the NFL, NFLPA, NHL, UFC and baseball’s Chicago Cubs. It also has representatives from athlete-performance companies like Whoop, Orreco, Kinduct, Atavus and Orig3n, plus sports-book operators like MGM and DraftKings Inc.
Augmented Reality

It’s the first of a handful of advisory boards that the Sports Innovation Lab will launch this year. The group is taking a similar approach to smart venues, and immersive media like virtual reality, augmented reality and digital streaming, Ruggiero said.

As a defenseman with USA Hockey, Ruggiero often experimented with new technology. She was an early adopter of heart-rate monitoring during training, and altered her diet after blood analysis said foods like pepper and cherries were hindering her performance. She retired in 2011 having played more games for USA Hockey than anyone, male or female.

“Your body is your business,” said Ruggiero, also a former International Olympic Committee board member. “But now it’s not just about performance, it’s also about fan engagement.”

Ezekiel Elliott will sit for the second time in the last three years as the Cowboys end the regular season.

He wasn’t alone. Three Pro Bowl players for the Cowboys are inactive for the regular season finale against the New York Giants.

Elliott is joined by left tackle Tyron Smith and right guard Zack Martin on the inactive list. The group is completed with quarterback Mike White, linebacker Chris Covington, defensive tackle David Irving and defensive end Tyrone Crawford.

Elliott had expressed a desire to play in this game. But the Cowboys, as they did his rookie season in 2016, determined his value to the team for the postseason is too important to risk him getting beat up or worn down in this game.

The running back’s absence shouldn’t hurt his quest to lead the league in rushing for the second time in three seasons. Elliott’s 1,434 yards on the ground gives him a 183-yard lead over second place Todd Gurley, who won’t play today for the LA Rams.

Giants rookie Saquon Barkley is third, but would need 237 yards against the Dallas defense to pass Elliott for the title.

Tony Romo Jersey

Tony Romo, byname of Antonio Romario Romo, (born April 21, 1980, San Diego, California, U.S.), American professional gridiron football player who emerged as one of the leading quarterbacks in the National Football League (NFL) in the early 21st century.

Romo spent most of his childhood in southern Wisconsin, where he idolized Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, whose aggressive, risk-taking style of play he eventually sought to emulate. Although Romo was a standout player for Burlington (Wisconsin) High School, he was not recruited by the major college football teams and wound up attending Eastern Illinois University, a Division I-AA school in Charleston, Illinois. At Eastern Illinois he was a three-time (2000–02) Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, and in his senior season he received the Walter Payton Award as Division I-AA’s top offensive player.

Despite being eligible for the 2003 NFL draft, Romo was again overlooked. Later that year he signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, but he earned little playing time in his first three seasons. He did not take over as starting quarterback until 2006, when he replaced an aging Drew Bledsoe near midseason. Romo blossomed almost immediately in the starter’s role, helping the Cowboys land a wild-card spot in the play-offs. His ability to improvise plays and his willingness to throw downfield quickly made him a fan favourite. He finished the season having passed for 19 touchdowns and 2,903 yards and became the first Cowboys quarterback to be selected for the Pro Bowl since Troy Aikman in 1996.

Although Romo was blamed for the Cowboys’ 2006 play-off loss to the Seattle Seahawks—he dropped the snap on a potentially game-winning field goal attempt—he returned to lead the team to a 12–1 start in 2007, the best in franchise history. The Cowboys went on to win their first National Football Conference (NFC) East Division title in nine years, and Romo finished the regular season with 36 touchdowns and 4,211 passing yards. However, the Cowboys were upset by the rival New York Giants in their opening play-off game, and Romo’s performance in big games began to be called into question by some observers. The criticism grew louder in 2008 when the Cowboys suffered a 44–6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the final game of the season with a play-off berth on the line. In 2009 Romo gained a measure of redemption as he passed for a career-high 4,483 yards (which was also a franchise record) and led the Cowboys to their first postseason victory in 14 years.

A fractured clavicle limited Romo to just six games during the 2010 season. In each of the following three years, the Cowboys finished with 8–8 records, missing the play-offs by losing to a division rival in the final week of the regular season each time. While Romo produced solid statistics over those seasons—including breaking the Cowboys’ single-season passing mark with 4,903 yards in 2012—the team’s mediocrity led to the continuation of the “Romo is not clutch” narrative. Although he threw a fair number of poorly timed interceptions, Romo was in fact among the league leaders in fourth-quarter passer rating during his career and led numerous game-winning drives. He had his best professional season in 2014, leading the NFL with a 113.2 passer rating while throwing 34 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Dallas won a division title that season, and Romo led a game-winning fourth-quarter drive in the team’s opening play-off contest, but the Cowboys were eliminated in the team’s next postseason game. Romo was once again sidelined by an injury in 2015 as a broken collar bone limited him to just four games, and the Cowboys staggered to a 4–12 record in his absence. In 2016 Romo was once more bitten by the injury bug when a broken bone in his back sidelined him until midseason. However, the stellar play of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, who ultimately led Dallas to an NFC-best 13–3 record, forced Romo into a back-up role after he returned to the active roster.

In April 2017 he abruptly retired from the NFL and immediately joined CBS as a commentator for NFL television broadcasts. At the time of his retirement, Romo had thrown for 34,183 yards (29th most in NFL history), 248 touchdowns (21st all-time), and had a 97.1 career passer rating (fourth highest ever).

Tony Romo has been accurately predicting plays since he left the field and went to CBS’ booth starting in the 2017 NFL season.

Transitioning to broadcasting almost immediately after retirement, Romo has repeatedly proved over the last two years that he is able to read defenses just as fast as the quarterbacks on the field and can anticipate a specific play seconds before the snap.

Most recently, he stunned viewers watching the AFC championship game almost two weeks ago. In the New England Patriots’ 37-31 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs, he correctly predicted the Patriots’ movements multiple times, and NFL fans were amazed. And with CBS broadcasting the 2019 Super Bowl matchup between New England and the Los Angeles Rams, Romo will have one more opportunity this season to prove he’s basically psychic.

And because of that, The Wall Street Journal took an impressively deep dive into Romo’s broadcasts this season. It reviewed all 2,599 plays from every game the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback called this season and counted the number of times he made a specific prediction, as opposed to a general observation.

Romo has made 72 play predictions so far this season and was correct 68 percent of the time, according to the WSJ’s calculations. And that means statistically, he’s better at predicting NFL plays from the booth than completing passes because his career completion percentage is 65.3.

It’s more physics than metaphysics, Romo says. He looks at the field and understands the tendencies of the players and coordinators. He combines his knowledge of those teams with his knowledge as a player who not long ago would be the guy calling the play in the huddle. Maybe the offense is lined up in a particular formation. Or it’s the defense gearing up for something unusual. From all those variables he makes a calculation.

“In some ways, it’s like math,” Romo says.

“People think Tony’s a fortune teller, but this isn’t guesswork and this isn’t psychic ability,” said Jim Nantz, his partner in the booth. “He’s not getting some sort of message from the gods. He’s seeing what Brady saw.”

Looking ahead to the Super Bowl, it seems like Romo is set up to impress viewers once again. According to the WSJ’s analysis, 16 of Romo’s predictions during broadcasts this season were in five Patriots games with Tom Brady on the field, and his accuracy was even higher in those instances at 69 percent.

DeMarcus Ware Jersey

Former NFL linebacker DeMarcus Ware announced a $10,000 donation Friday to cover grave marker expenses for the 23 people who died in Sunday’s tornado in Beauregard, Alabama.

Lee County coroner Bill Harris confirmed the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation will use the money on markers after the EF4 tornado led to widespread destruction and the 23 deaths, including four children, per Kirsten Fiscus and Brad Harper of the Montgomery Advertiser.

Ware, who grew up in the Lee County city of Auburn, released a statement about the donation:

“When I heard the news, I didn’t know where to start, I just knew I had to do something. We are coming up on ‘DeMarcus Ware Day’ (April 19) in the state of Alabama and when that proclamation was declared three years ago, I made a vow to always do my part to protect ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ All things considered, this donation is small in comparison to the devastating feeling of burying a loved one. I look forward to making an even bigger impact in the weeks to come as relief needs continue to be assessed.”

After attending Auburn High School, he played college football at Troy University in Alabama.

Ware went on to earn nine Pro Bowl selections, including seven straight while with the Dallas Cowboys, during a 12-year NFL career that was also highlighted by winning Super Bowl 50 with the Denver Broncos.

DeMarcus Ware Day was first celebrated under former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in 2016.

As Lane Kiffin jogged off the practice field, he was stopped by Ernest Bagner.

Earlier that morning, the Florida Atlantic coach had issued Bagner a challenge: get three sacks today.

“He told me he got four,” Kiffin said. “It was good to see.”

Bagner, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound defensive end, is one of two former junior college players competing for playing time along FAU’s defensive line. The other is Tim Bonner, a tall, lanky pass rusher with a quick first step.

Both are entering their first season at FAU, and both players started fall camp low on the Owls’ depth chart, playing mostly on the third and fourth teams.

But both have moved up. And Kiffin isn’t…

Jason Witten is ditching retirement and ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast booth to play again for the Cowboys.

The longtime franchise standout’s unexpected return, which the Cowboys announced Thursday afternoon and SportsDay’s Jon Machota reports will be on a one-year contract for $5 million, prompted widespread shock and several jabs about his rocky broadcasting tenure.

Here’s some of the national reaction on Twitter to the Cowboys’ new — and old — tight end:

Don’t expect to see DeMarcus Ware on Denver’s sideline next season.

The future Hall-of-Fame linebacker figures to pursue different endeavors after serving the Broncos as a part-time pass-rush instructor in 2018. Per Mike Klis of 9News, the team has still had “no discussion” about bringing back Ware as an assistant under new head coach Vic Fangio.

Fangio himself confirmed on Jan. 24 that he’s yet to speak with Ware.

“We haven’t had those discussions yet,” he said.

Following various media gigs and television appearances since his 2017 retirement, Ware returned to the Broncos as a defensive consultant for then-HC Vance Joseph. He tutored the team’s edge defenders and linemen during parts of spring workouts, training camp and the regular season.

Ware’s star pupil was first-round draft pick Bradley Chubb, whose historic rookie campaign included setting the Broncos’ rookie sack record and finishing as a Defensive Rookie of the Year finalist. With Ware’s expert tutelage, Chubb’s steadily progressed from week to week, to the point where he totaled 7.5 sacks over a five-game stretch, forming a terrorizing bookend to perennial Pro Bowler Von Miller.

“I could see how he’s been progressing throughout the whole season, from the first game, second game, third game. Oh, man, [in the] third game he got a sack!” Ware recalled to the Broncos’ official website. “And I could see he’s progressing along as he should, but he’s still learning and he can get even better. And knowing that now he’s past my single-season rookie record already, I feel like the sky is the limit for him. I told him, ‘You have all the tools needed to be an awesome pass rusher, and as you keep progressing, you take it, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

In January, Chubb spoke glowingly of Ware and the lessons he imparted.

“I feel like this whole year I built a great relationship with him,” he said. “Even if he’s not here coaching with us, I still feel like I can text him, still hit him up, still learn from him. I feel like this whole year has been a great experience and I’m excited to keep working him in the future because I feel like if I continue to do that, the sky’s the limit.”

The Broncos filled Ware’s staff position last month by poaching Brandon Staley from Chicago to coach the OLBs. Fangio also will work with the positional group in addition to handling his head-coaching and defensive play-calling duties.

“Obviously, starting off, we have two good players on the outside,” he said during his introductory press conference. “Von Miller can be one of the rare players in this league, much like Khalil is. I’m looking forward to working with both of them. [OLB] Bradley [Chubb] is a guy that we had high grades on also in Chicago last year. I’m aware that he had a good season this year. That’s my position of expertise when I’m coaching a position, and those guys are going to get coached by their position coach, but they’re going to get a little extra from me too. We’re going to try to take them both to bigger and better levels. I think Von Miller can play even better than he’s played in his career.”

Charles Haley Jersey

Former Cowboys defensive lineman/linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley recently discussed America’s Team with the Dennis and Cowlishaw show on 103.3 ESPN Dallas. Here are some highlights from the interview.

After going 13-3 in 2016, why did the Cowboys regress to 9-7 in 2017?

“First all the controversy with Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott], injuries, and then they didn’t play the top-tier guys [in 2016] like they did this year.

“I don’t think they understand what it takes to win a game. If you want to look back, if that was Coach [Jimmy] Johnson, we would’ve worked harder than we did last year just to repeat that part of it. I don’t see that maturity where guys are doing their own thing out there. When the coach says run 10, you run 15, or you grab your teammates and go run. They took 13-3 for granted and they thought, ‘OK, we’ll win the Super Bowl the next year.’

“I blame everybody. It’s one team and everybody’s together. And that’s the key. I go over there and I tell guys, ‘Man, Jerry built this house for a bunch of damn losers.’ And they get mad. They have to do something about it. I can’t do anything about it, I can’t play. All I can do is give you some knowledge.

“And then the egos are so big and they’re so busy getting on Twitter and Facebook and everything else – maybe they should get in that playbook. Maybe they should learn how to rush, catch and block.

“I tell those guys nobody’s scared of them. Ain’t nobody in the league scared of y’all. What y’all been doing is listening to people saying you’ve got the best offensive line in the business. I said who’s scared of y’all? Huh? Those little things like that, those intangibles, the attitude you take to the field [matters]. … I go over there and I watch guys work. I watch them go through drills. They go through three or four drills and they’re gassed.”

If you were Jerry Jones, would you sign DeMarcus Lawrence to a big-money extension?

“I think that he’s shown the Cowboys what he can do, but it always come down to the team. I want Lawrence to get all the money he can, but I also want them to finish and get a Super Bowl. So they’ve got to get some offensive players, too, to help them become great. They don’t have to go defense. Lawrence will be there regardless, even if he’s just franchise tagged, he’s going to be there. Jerry’s got to be crazy not to do it when you’ve got somebody special like that.

“Taco [Charlton] came on at the end of the year. He’s finally getting confidence in himself. You’ve got Tyrone Crawford, he played a hell of a year.”

Have you seen enough from David Irving to keep him around? Irving missed the first four games due to a suspension and the last four due to a concussion.

“It ain’t how you start, it’s how you finish. I guess he finished hurt. My thing is I’m not a fan. I think that when the game is on the line, you need the dog to show up. You don’t need the dog making excuses. I’m not an excuse guy, so I’m not a fan.”

Charles Haley won five Super Bowls with the 49ers and Cowboys during his 13 NFL seasons. He recorded 100.5 sacks during his career and is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So he knows a something about what it takes to be a winner. And in his mind, the Cowboys, who he helped hoist three Lombardi Trophies from 1992-96, are losers.

“I don’t think they understand what it takes to win a game,” Haley said during an appearance on 103.3 ESPN in Dallas (by way of the Dallas Morning News). “If you want to look back, if that was Coach [Jimmy] Johnson, we would’ve worked harder than we did last year just to repeat that part of it. I don’t see that maturity where guys are doing their own thing out there. When the coach says run 10, you run 15, or you grab your teammates and go run. They took 13-3 for granted and they thought, ‘OK, we’ll win the Super Bowl the next year.'”

There are a number of reasons for why the Cowboys weren’t as successful in 2017 as they were the season before. But it’s not like they’re the Browns, either. After surprising everyone and going 13-3 in 2016 — without Tony Romo and with a rookie fourth-rounder under center — Dallas regressed to the mean last season; the offensive line struggled with consistency, which affected second-year quarterback Dak Prescott, and running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games. Still, the team finished 9-7, just one game out of the final final wild-card spot.

But when a team with high expectations falls short, fingers will be pointed. Which brings us back to Haley.

“I blame everybody. It’s one team and everybody’s together. And that’s the key. I go over there and I tell guys, ‘Man, Jerry [Jones] built this house for a bunch of damn losers.’ And they get mad. They have to do something about it. I can’t do anything about it, I can’t play. All I can do is give you some knowledge. And then the egos are so big and they’re so busy getting on Twitter and Facebook and everything else — maybe they should get in that playbook. Maybe they should learn how to rush, catch and block.

“I tell those guys nobody’s scared of them. Ain’t nobody in the league scared of y’all. What y’all been doing is listening to people saying you’ve got the best offensive line in the business. I said who’s scared of y’all? Huh? Those little things like that, those intangibles, the attitude you take to the field [matters] . … I go over there and I watch guys work. I watch them go through drills. They go through three or four drills and they’re gassed.”

Haley isn’t entirely wrong; there were times last season where the effort wasn’t there. But it’s also worth noting that the Cowboys had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2008-2009.

Of course, it’s all about perspective. When Haley was in Dallas, the Cowboys were 59-21, made the playoffs all five seasons and won three Super Bowls.