Randy White Jersey

About 25 years ago, when Thomas Henderson met a girlfriend for dinner at a Dallas restaurant, she pulled out a jewelry box and said she had a surprise.

Henderson opened it. Much to his delight, there was the ring the former linebacker nicknamed “Hollywood” received years earlier for the Cowboys’ 27-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII on Jan. 15, 1978 in New Orleans. Henderson hadn’t been in possession of the ring for nearly a decade and figured he never would see it again.

“It was in 1992 or 1993,” Henderson said. “This girlfriend had paid $11,000 to buy the ring back, and tells me when she gave it to me, ‘You deserve this.’ I just lost it. I bawled like a baby.”

Four decades after the only Super Bowl he won, Henderson, 64, wears his prized ring most days while splitting time between his native Austin, Texas, and South Florida. It’s a reminder of the greatest moment of his NFL career — and also of his downfall and eventual recovery.

Henderson was projected to be an NFL star and did make one Pro Bowl in 1978, but drug addiction and outrageous behavior played a role in his career ending prematurely. He hit rock bottom when he was arrested in 1983 for smoking cocaine with two teenage girls and for allegedly sexually assaulting one of them. He claimed the sex was consensual and eventually pleaded no contest.

That’s when he lost his ring.

“I had to put it up for bail,” said Henderson, who played for the Cowboys from 1975-79 and had stints with San Francisco, Houston and Miami before his NFL career was over in 1981 at age 28. “I had to give them something so they didn’t think I was going to run off to Canada. And then the IRS seized it and put it up for auction.”

The Internal Revenue Service had determined Henderson owed $156,881 in back taxes, a claim he disagreed with and said eventually was worked out. Nevertheless, the ring was sold for $11,000 in 1984 to Robert Briscoe, an avid Cowboys fan living in the small west Texas town of Levelland.

The ring is 10-carat white gold with two 40-point diamonds set in blue stars and surrounded by 25 smaller diamonds. Briscoe, now deceased, agreed nearly a decade later to sell it back to Henderson’s girlfriend at the time without a profit.

By then, Henderson had long completed a 28-month prison term for his conviction. He has been sober since Nov. 8, 1983, the day he said “Hollywood” died.

“When I was 30, if I didn’t change, I wouldn’t have made it to 35,” he said.

Henderson now says he’s “blessed.” He has won the lottery twice. He won $28 million in Lotto Texas in 2000, and took an immediate payout after taxes that netted him $9 million. A decade later, he won a $50,000 prize.

As for his Super Bowl ring, that’s in a special category

“I’ve got three NFC championship rings, which are pretty, but when you win a Super Bowl, it is a special endeavor,” Henderson said. “It’s one of my prized possessions.”

With New England and Philadelphia playing in Super Bowl LII on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, Henderson looked back at the three Super Bowls he played in and some of the wild stories surrounding them.

When he was in rookie, Dallas lost 21-17 to Pittsburgh in Super Bowl X on Jan. 18, 1976 in Miami. After the Cowboys defeated the Broncos two years later, they were going for a repeat but lost 35-31 to the Steelers in Super XIII on Jan. 21, 1979 in Miami.

That’s when even casual fans became aware of “Hollywood.” In the days leading up to the game in Miami, Henderson told the media that Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw “couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the ‘c’ and the ‘a’.” Henderson ended up on the cover of Newsweek alongside Bradshaw with the headline “A Really Super Bowl.”

Three years earlier, though, Henderson was showing signs as a rookie of the unique place he would hold in Super Bowl lore. On the opening kickoff of Super Bowl X, the athletic Henderson took a handoff from Preston Pearson and rumbled 48 yards down the left sideline before being pushed out of bounds by kicker Roy Gerela.

“If (safety) Randy Hughes would’ve went to block Gerela, I would’ve scored,” Henderson said.

Henderson preferred Adidas footwear throughout his career but wore shoes with a Puma logo during Super Bowl X. Naturally, there’s a story behind that.

“Before the game, Puma gave me a bag of money to wear their shoes,” Henderson recalled. “There was $3,000 in there. But I tested out the Puma shoes on the turf before the game and they were like ballet shoes. They didn’t protect my toes.

“So to get the money, I actually painted the Puma emblem on my Adidas shoes. I put like a sock over my shoe and painted over it. I never heard anything from Puma after that, but what were they going to do? I already had the money.”

Former Cowboys defensive back Charlie Waters doesn’t doubt that story.

“He did it,” Waters said. “It was clever. That was typical Thomas. We made a lot more money on what shoes we wore in Super Bowls because you got so much exposure in the game. And Thomas would love to have the cash so he could buy a little more entertainment, if you will, after the game, or even during the game.”

By Super Bowl XII, Henderson said he was already deep into his cocaine addiction. Asked recently if he was doing drugs in New Orleans during the week leading up to the game, Henderson said, “I was with Richard Pryor and Marvin Gaye, so what do you think I was doing?”

Pryor, the legendary comedian who died in 2005, and Gaye, the Motown superstar who was shot to death by his father in 1984, had histories of drug abuse. Henderson hung out with them during his playing days.

“They both loved football,” Henderson said. “This was before crack and smoking crack. It was just more of a hit or two. But I was well into my recreational use of cocaine that I snorted.”

Henderson said he didn’t do cocaine the weekend of the game and was well rested for it. He said he relaxed the night before by “smoking cigarettes and I might have had a joint.”

Henderson had a strong performance as the Cowboys’ defense overwhelmed the Broncos. He made Dallas’ first two tackles of the game, stuffing Jon Keyworth for a five-yard loss on the first one. But it was a play on special teams Henderson remembers most.

After the Cowboys were stopped on their opening drive, Danny White punted to Denver’s Rick Upchurch, a former University of Minnesota star who was then one of the NFL’s top punt returners. Before Upchurch could field the ball at Broncos 32, Henderson went flying into his left shoulder, and was assessed a 15-yard penalty.

“Mike Ditka (then a Dallas assistant) had come up to me and said, ‘I don’t care where the ball is, I want you to hit Upchurch,’ ” Henderson said. “We wanted to put something in his head. I was aiming for his throat, but I missed him and just kind of hit him on the shoulder. After we got the penalty, (then Cowboys coach) Tom Landry was irate. I just said to him, ‘Go talk to Ditka. He told me to do it.’ Then I walked away.”

At Super Bowl XIII the next year, Henderson was coming off the best season of his career. He had been named to the Pro Bowl in 1978, and was regarded as one of the NFL’s best linebackers.

He also was becoming known as one of the most flamboyant. In 1977, Henderson picked up his “Hollywood” nickname from teammate Robert Newhouse when he showed up for practice one day in a limousine and wearing a fur coat.

Henderson said he decided to take his antics to a new level in the days leading up to a game midway through the 1978 season.

“We’re playing a game in New York, and I’m in an elevator and I hear a (Cowboys public relations official) talking to four or five New York reporters,” Henderson said. “He’s saying, ‘We want you to talk to (Dallas players) Charlie Waters, Randy White and Roger Staubach.’ In other words, they were telling the press who they wanted them to talk to. That was the first day the self-promotion and marketing of Thomas Henderson was born.

“So I started saying outrageous things, and the reporters started running to find me. I said that the Rams didn’t have any class, and I said Bradshaw couldn’t spell.”

Henderson said the idea for the quote about Bradshaw came from a conversation with then-Cowboys vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt.

“Gil sits down at my locker and says, ‘Did you know that Terry Bradshaw really wanted to go to LSU?’ ” Henderson said. “He said that his grades weren’t that good and he didn’t pass the SAT and ACT, so he had to go to Louisiana Tech. So that put it in my head, ACT, SAT. That’s when I said he couldn’t spell C-A-T.”

Brandt, who said he tried to swing a trade to get Bradshaw before the Steelers took him with the No. 1 pick in the 1970 NFL draft, recalls having a conversation with Henderson but said that’s not how it went.

“What I told Hollywood before our game with them was that we loved Bradshaw coming out of Louisiana Tech but that the thing about him was that you could confuse him,” Brandt said. “Because he’s so strong and with his ability, he thinks he’s so good, that he’ll take a chance. I never said the guy was not smart. … I had the utmost respect for Bradshaw.”

After Henderson made the comment, Landry, the legendary coach who died in 2000, was not happy.

“It sure didn’t help us any,” Brandt said.

Waters agreed.

“I just rolled my eyes and thought to myself, ‘Surely you understand the world of competition, and do you really have to get everybody (on the Steelers) madder?’ ” Waters said.

Henderson did have one big play against Bradshaw, sacking him in the second quarter while linebacker Mike Hegman yanked the ball out and ran 37 yards for a touchdown. Bradshaw, though, had the last laugh, throwing for 318 yards and four touchdowns; he was named Super Bowl MVP.

On the sidelines at the Orange Bowl that day, Henderson said he utilized a small spray bottle that contained a mixture of water and cocaine.

“I had a deviated septum that was a bloody mess, and I had this big scab,” he said. “When you’re snorting (cocaine) pebbles up your nose, it’s going to hurt the lining of your nose. But I was only using the (the spray bottle) for medical purposes to ease the pain, not to get high.”

There already had been plenty of that going on during Super Bowl week.

“I’m in Miami, the headquarters of cocaine, and I was trying some new stuff,” Henderson said. “Some Colombian drug dealers were just giving me stuff. I had about four ounces on me when I got on the team plane to go back to Dallas after the game.”

By the next season, Henderson’s antics and cocaine problems had worsened. Brandt said he confronted Henderson after he received an anonymous call about his drug use but that the linebacker denied it.

During a 34-20 loss at Washington on Nov. 18, 1979, Henderson was seen late in the game on the sideline mugging for the camera and displaying handkerchiefs with a Cowboys logo. Landry became so incensed he cut him after that game.

After stints with the 49ers and Oilers, Henderson broke his neck in a 1981 preseason game with the Dolphins, landing him on injured reserve. Although he was able to recover, he never played again.

“If he didn’t have his problems, he’d be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame right now,” Brandt said. “He had the speed, the size and the smarts. But I think he’s done a marvelous job of turning his life around.”

Henderson said he has spent the past 34 years sober, trying to make amends for his once-destructive behavior. He gives lectures around the country to those with drug-abuse issues. He has made a number of instructional videos that are used in prisons.

And in 1999, he apologized to Bradshaw for his remark prior to Super Bowl XIII.

“He came out to Austin when I was building a track for kids in my community,” Henderson said. “He came to interview me (for Fox Sports), and off camera I pulled him to the side and I said, ‘I want to apologize. I shouldn’t have said it. I want to make amends for that.’ ”

Henderson said Bradshaw, who is in the hall of fame and won four Super Bowl rings, accepted his apology.

Henderson has one ring, and he treasures it. He doesn’t deny, though, that he wonders what might have been.

“Tom Landry came to my 10-year sober anniversary (in 1993) and he got up on stage and he said to the audience, ‘If Thomas would have been playing, we might have won three or four more Super Bowls,’ ” Henderson said.

Chuck Howley Jersey

Football great Chuck Howley was born in Wheeling on June 28, 1936. At Warwood High, he starred in football and basketball and in 1954 moved on to West Virginia University, where he lettered in an unprecedented five sports: football, sprinting, wrestling, the trampoline, and diving.He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the NFL draft but left the team with a knee injury. Howley returned to Wheeling and spent 1960 working at a gas station

Then, fate interceded. A former Chicago teammate suggested Howley’s name to coach Tom Landry, who was starting the Dallas Cowboys. Howley played linebacker for Dallas from 1961 to 1973 and was a six-time All Pro. With teammate Bob Lilly, he anchored Dallas’s Doomsday Defense

In 1971, Dallas lost Super Bowl V to the Baltimore Colts; however, Howley was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. He’s still the only player on a losing team ever to win the award. The next year, Dallas and Howley won their first Super Bowl. After retiring, Chuck Howley went into business in Dallas. As of 2012, he was raising quarter horses in Wills Point, Texas.

Chuck Howley was an All-State football player at Warwood High School (54). He earned All-Southern Conference honors three times and Southern Conference Athlete of the Year (57) at West Virginia University. He made WVU history by starring and lettering in five sports – football, track, wrestling, gymnastics and swimming. He won the Southern Conference diving championship in 1957.

Chuck was the first round draft choice of the Chicago Bears in 1958 and was traded to the Dallas Cowboys (`61) where he became a 6-time All-Pro linebacker, Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl V MVP. Howley was the first defensive player and the only player from a losing team to be named MVP of a Super Bowl. Noted for his speed, Howley became one of the greatest linebackers to play the game.

Chuck was the first round draft choice of the Chicago Bears in 1958 and was traded to the Dallas Cowboys (`61) where he became a 6-time All-Pro linebacker, Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl V MVP. Howley was the first defensive player and the only player from a losing team to be named MVP of a Super Bowl. Noted for his speed, Howley became one of the greatest linebackers to play the game.

Legendary Dallas coach Tom Landry once said, “I don’t know that I’ve seen anybody better at linebacker than Howley.” Chuck remembered his roots by honoring the top student athlete annually at Warwood High School with the “Chuck Howley Award.” He was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the WVU Athletics Hall of Fame, the Ohio Valley Athletics Hall of Fame, the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni, the Ring of Honor at Texas Stadium and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

Chuck is a successful business owner in Dallas where he resides with his wife of 54 years, Nancy, also a Wheeling native. They are blessed with two children and six grandchildren. He enjoys raising foundation bred quarter horses at his ranch in nearby Wills Point, TX. (Text by the Howley family for Legendary Locals of Wheeling. Photo courtesy Jack Schuetz and Chuck Howley)

Daryl Johnston Jersey

Longtime Cowboys broadcaster Brad Sham recently sat down with Cowboys legend and FOX Sports broadcaster Daryl Johnston on his show Then and Now to talk about his time with the Cowboys. Here are some of the highlights, edited for clarity.

At what point did you understand that Emmitt Smith was going to be like your little brother?

Daryl Johnston: “Here’s the weird thing about our relationship… Here’s a guy up in Syracuse, New York, playing football who sees the front cover of the USA Today sports page and sees this young man down in Escambia, Florida, putting up some crazy numbers in high school and I started following his career while I was a Syracuse. I followed him at the University of Florida. So, when he gets drafted, I know quite a bit about him. I was a fan. And had followed him. My wife has always told me you’re divinely led… I just think this is another example. That Emmitt and I were destined to be together for some reason. And God chose to put us together in the backfield of the Dallas Cowboys. Some people might say that’s crazy, but there’s no reason for him to have grabbed my attention in central New York and for me to be aware of him.

“The thing with him… he always wanted more. He was the first guy I saw at the running back position go outside of the training room to make sure his body was as close to 100 percent as it could possibly be from week to week so he could perform at a high level. He always wanted to learn more. So, the one time that I do always remember and… you know, I want to win football games. I learned this from Troy Aikman: Stats are not the most important things, wins are. So, for me, I was the third-down back in the passing game. I knew protections. But wouldn’t we be better on third down if we had a guy with the potential to take it to the house every time he gets the ball thrown to him in the flat? That potential really didn’t exist with me. So, I started to teach him how to group protections together — protections in the NFL are a little bit confusing.

“It took Emmitt awhile. And part of that transition was working together and me showing him how — you’re trying to learn groups. Take this group and bunch it here. Take this group and bunch it here. Now learn the sections. Where are your eyes focused? Why would you look over there? — that’s not even important to you. It doesn’t concern you. That’s where we really grew together really close. And we sat next to each other our whole career together. In the meeting room and film room we sat right next to each other.

“Even though I lined up one and a half to two yards ahead of Emmitt, what he saw as opposed to what I saw was completely different. There were a lot of times that he would cut back or go out the back door — the play is designed to go to the right and it looks really good to the right and then all of a sudden there goes Emmitt out the back door to the left for 11 yards. I’m like what are you seeing? Because it looked clean when I went through. He goes, ‘It’s a completely different picture.’ So, he got me to slow down a little bit. Just a fraction. And told me where his eyes would be on certain fronts so I could see what was developing. There were a couple times when we could go out the back door together — and when that happens, there’s nobody there. He doesn’t have to make a guy miss because I’m right there in front of him.”

Robert Newhouse Jersey

Robert Newhouse, a hard-working running back for the Dallas Cowboys who played in three Super Bowls and helped win one of them not just with his legs but also with his arm — throwing a game-clinching touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos in 1978 — died on Tuesday in Rochester, Minn. He was 64.

The cause was complications of heart disease, the Cowboys said.

Newhouse played 12 seasons in the National Football League, all of them for the Cowboys under Tom Landry. Selected by Dallas in the second round of the 1972 draft out of the University of Houston, he soon became essential for the Cowboys, playing mostly as a fullback expected to grind out three or four yards. He was quick and strong, propelled by thighs once measured at 44 inches around. In 1975 he led the team in rushing, with 930 yards, and was ninth in the league at 4.4 yards per carry.

Newhouse’s fortunes began changing in the late 1970s with the emergence of Tony Dorsett, the Cowboys’ top pick in the 1977 draft. Over the next few seasons, Newhouse became more of a blocker than a runner, opening holes for the speedy and dazzling Dorsett. He did not start a game after 1980.

Bill Bates Jersey

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Browns traded down three spots from No. 64 and into the third round during the NFL Draft.

They used that swap with the Indianapolis Colts to take Miami defensive end Chad Thomas.

How does he fit with the Browns? What are his measureables and what did he say at the combine? Find out below as we dig deeper into Thomas.

How he fits the Browns

Speculation entering the draft pointed to the Browns taking North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb with the fourth overall pick. Instead, they took Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.

The Browns are still strong at defensive end, a position that includes last year’s top pick in Myles Garrett with Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Nassib.

Thomas can fit into that rotation.

A five-star recruit from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, Thomas stayed close to home for college. Who is he? Read this breakdown by Susan Miller Degnan from the Miami Herald.

Strengths: Long, athletic player with good size and great natural strength with room to add bulk to his frame. Has played all along the line and will provide pressure from the edge even if asked to stand up. Enough coordination and speed to chase down plays in the flats when necessary. Shows some hand-fighting ability when he is in one-on-one situations and doesn’t shy away from contact or try to simply speed around blockers.

Weaknesses: Lacks situational awareness at times and loses the forest for the trees. Will bull rush straight up the field all too often and miss a chance to press the pocket, allowing quarterbacks to step up underneath him and complete passes. Can overrun pockets because of one-track mind that seems to favor consistency over variety when it comes to pass rush moves. Gets lulled into repetitive attacks and begins to lean on offensive linemen rather than attack them. Allows too many blockers to get into his body because he stays high and reaches for them at times rather than exploding into them from below.

NFL comparison: Za’Darius Smith, Baltimore Ravens — Like Thomas, Smith never quite provided the college production expected from someone with so much natural athleticism, strength and length. Smith and Thomas can both rush from multiple spots along the line, as well as standing up off the edge, but both will have entered the league with questions about technique, consistency, and polish, despite possessing the raw potential to become a strong player along a team’s defensive front.

Tony Dorsett Jersey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure, and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall have been diagnosed as having signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma and linked to depression and dementia, doctors have told “Outside the Lines.”

The three former stars underwent brain scans and clinical evaluations during the past three months at UCLA, as did an unidentified ex-player whose test results are not yet available. Last year, UCLA tested five other former players and diagnosed all five as having signs of CTE, marking the first time doctors found signs of the crippling disease in living former players.

CTE is indicated by a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein that strangles brain cells in areas that control memory, emotions and other functions. Autopsies of more than 50 ex-NFL players, including Hall of Famer Mike Webster and perennial All-Pro Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, found such tau concentrations.

Apr 8, 2017

William Weinbaum and Steve Delsohn

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Joe DeLamielleure, and former NFL All-Pro Leonard Marshall have been diagnosed as having signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative condition many scientists say is caused by head trauma and linked to depression and dementia, doctors have told “Outside the Lines.”

The three former stars underwent brain scans and clinical evaluations during the past three months at UCLA, as did an unidentified ex-player whose test results are not yet available. Last year, UCLA tested five other former players and diagnosed all five as having signs of CTE, marking the first time doctors found signs of the crippling disease in living former players.

CTE is indicated by a buildup of tau, an abnormal protein that strangles brain cells in areas that control memory, emotions and other functions. Autopsies of more than 50 ex-NFL players, including Hall of Famer Mike Webster and perennial All-Pro Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year, found such tau concentrations.
Tony Dorsett, who rushed for more than 12,000 yards with the Dallas Cowboys, was told Monday that he’s been diagnosed with signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. AP Photo/Martha Irvine

Researchers told “Outside the Lines” that they notified Dorsett by phone Monday that they had diagnosed him as having signs of the neurological disease. Dorsett, in an appearance Wednesday afternoon on ESPN’s “Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable” show, acknowledged he had been tested at UCLA and received results: “I’m not going to say too much more about it … I’m trying to be proactive rather than reactive.”

Two weeks ago, upon arriving in California for his evaluation and brain scan at UCLA, Dorsett described to “Outside the Lines” the symptoms that compelled him to seek testing: memory loss, depression and thoughts of suicide.

The former Cowboys running back, now 59, said that when he took his Oct. 21 flight from Dallas to Los Angeles for testing, he repeatedly struggled to remember why he was aboard the plane and where he was going. Such episodes, he said, are commonplace when he travels.

Dorsett said he also gets lost when he drives his two youngest daughters, ages 15 and 10, to their soccer and volleyball games.

“I’ve got to take them to places that I’ve been going to for many, many, many years, and then I don’t know how to get there,” he said.

The 1976 Heisman Trophy winner and eighth all-time leading NFL rusher said he has trouble controlling his emotions and is prone to outbursts at his wife and daughters.

“It’s painful, man, for my daughters to say they’re scared of me.” After a long pause, he tearfully reiterated, “It’s painful.”

Dorsett said doctors have told him he is clinically depressed.

“I’ve thought about crazy stuff, sort of like, ‘Why do I need to continue going through this?'” he said. “I’m too smart of a person, I like to think, to take my life, but it’s crossed my mind.”

CTE is a disease with no known cure, but Dorsett said he was seeking answers to explain his cognitive and emotional difficulties.

“I want to know if this is something that has come about because of playing football,” he said.

Dorsett’s 12-year playing career ended a quarter-century ago. He said he doesn’t know how many concussions he suffered, but that they were numerous and he believes their consequences are, too.

“My quality of living has changed drastically and it deteriorates every day,” he said.

Researchers involved in the UCLA testing say their brain scan uses a radioactive marker to identify the signs of CTE in the living, as was done with the eight former players. The research team, in affiliation with a company named TauMark, includes: forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu, who discovered CTE in football players; UCLA psychiatrist Gary Small and pharmacologist Jorge Barrio; and neurosurgeon Julian Bailes, co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Ill.

Bailes acknowledged that the sample size is small and the testing is in its “very early” stages, but said, “Our preliminary data seems very strong that the areas of the brain and density of the tau signals correlates exactly with what we have found at autopsy.”

DeLamielleure, 62, said he never received a concussion diagnosis during his 13-year career as an offensive lineman for Buffalo and Cleveland, but that during games and practices he endured tens of thousands of blows to his head and believes he had at least 100 concussions.

On the day he received the news that he has signs of CTE, DeLamielleure told OTL, “I can guarantee you my CTE, my tau, came from hits, came from blows to the head.” He said he suffers from anxiety and chronic insomnia, and, like Dorsett, he recounted mood swings and suicidal thoughts.

“When I sit still for any length of time, I get depressed for no reason,” DeLamielleure said. “I have CTE. Let’s see what the heck we can do about it.”

Marshall, 52, told “Outside the Lines” that when he received his diagnosis Sunday it was “very emotional.”

“I knew there was something going on,” he added. “I’ve had short-term memory loss, erratic behavior where the least little thing would set me off, and I’ve experienced fogginess and even been in a daze at times.

“It’s been a rough road and hopefully now there’ll be a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Said Bailes: “Until we had the ability to see it in a living, breathing person, we had no chance of helping them, we had no chance of really understanding what happens to the disease. It gives us the ability to track it, to see if it gets worse, or hopefully, maybe it gets better with medication, with intervention, with new discoveries.

“There’s a lot more scientific investigation and rigor and publication and peer review that needs to be done on this, but initially, we’re optimistic and excited about the potential of the test.”

Other researchers also are developing tests to diagnose CTE in the living. Among them is Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neuropathologist.

No one has examined more brains of deceased NFL players than McKee, who found CTE in 47 of the 48 brains she has studied. McKee is also developing a test for the living, and said it is not yet clear if currently available scans are actually showing signs of CTE or if they are indicative of other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Omalu, also a neuropathologist, said that it is the combination of symptoms, clinical evaluations and brain scan findings that led to his group’s diagnoses of CTE indicators in the former players and that there is a “reasonable degree of certainty that this is CTE until proven otherwise.” He said that in posthumous examinations, as well, a history of cognitive impairment and emotional problems is an important factor in diagnosing CTE.

Bailes, a former team physician for the Steelers, said he looks forward to more testing and considers his group’s scan a “game-changer.” The first tests, published in a medical journal in February, concluded that Fred McNeill, a 59-year-old former Vikings linebacker; Wayne Clark, a 64-year-old former quarterback for three teams; and three unidentified ex-players: a 73-year-old former guard; a 50-year-old former defensive lineman; and a 45-year-old former center, had CTE indicators.

The NFL, which declined to comment, has repeatedly asserted that there is not enough evidence to draw a conclusion that playing football causes CTE or other brain damage. After denying the severity of concussions for years, and disputing the research of doctors like Omalu and Bailes, the league reversed its position in 2009 and acknowledged a scientific connection between football and long-term brain damage — but has not made a similar statement since.

Dorsett, Marshall and DeLamielleure are among the 4,500-plus plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL that is in the midst of being settled for $765 million. The plaintiffs argued that for years the NFL had concealed a link between playing football and brain damage. As part of the settlement reached in August, the NFL did not admit to wrongdoing.

In January, Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, a Seattle neurosurgeon who serves as co-chair of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee, told Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru of “Outside the Lines” that the UCLA CTE study was “promising work,” adding the researchers were “honest about the limitations as well as being excited about the findings.”

“This is the holy grail if it works. This is what we’ve been waiting for, but it looks like it’s probably preliminary to say they’ve got it,” Dr. Robert Cantu, a senior adviser to the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee and co-director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, told ESPN in January. “But if they do have it, this is exactly what we need.”

Omalu said diagnosing CTE in the living is a promising step.

“I think we can develop a treatment for this,” he said. “Everybody should come to the table.”

His advice to the diagnosed ex-players: “Use the power of positive thinking, don’t let the disease overwhelm, this is not a diagnosis of death.”

Prior to his test, Dorsett said he drew hope from its potential benefits.

“I’m trying to slow this down or cut it off,” Dorsett said. “I’m going to be 60 years old here next year, so I’m hoping that I’ve got another good 30 years or so.”

Emmitt Smith Jersey

Emmitt Smith is the NFL’s all-time leading rusher and a Cowboys legend. You probably feel like you know him pretty well, but there’s a few more things you can learn.

Here are 10 things you might not know about Emmitt Smith.

  1. Playing career

In Smith’s 15-year career (13 with the Cowboys, two with the Cardinals) he amassed a number of records. He is the career leader in rushing attempts (4,409) yards (18,355) and rushing touchdowns (164). His 81.2 yards per game average ranks 15th all-time. His also has eight Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pro awards.

  1. The extra ‘t’

Smith is actually the third of his name, but he spells his first name differently than his namesakes: he has two ‘t’s in his name. He told The Dallas Morning News in 1993 that he simply added the extra ‘t’ a long time ago on his own. His father, Emmit Smith Jr., said his son began spelling it that way when sports writers added the ‘t’ without bothering to ask the proper spelling.

  1. Dancing champion

Smith appeared in Season 3 of Dancing with the Stars. He and partner Cheryl Burke went on to win the competition, beating Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff. Smith was the first athlete to win the competition. He averaged 26.8 points out of 30 and received perfect scores from the judges on the Cha-cha, the Mambo, and the Samba. Smith returned to Dancing with the Stars for the Season 15 “All-Stars” edition, but lost in the semifinals.

He isn’t the only Triplet to compete on the show, either. Michael Irvin appeared on it in 2009. His professional dance partner? Cheryl Burke. The duo were the ninth pair to be eliminated out of 15 contestants.

  1. Emmitt Smith Day

A lot of people have a singular day named after them. Smith has one date every year reserved for his honor in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla. The day after Smith was drafted by the Cowboys, Pensacola declared that April 23 every single year would be Emmitt Smith Day.

  1. A chance meeting

Smith has been married to his wife, Pat, since 2000. Pat is a former Miss Virginia who was Miss USA runner-up in 1994. She had previously been married to comedian Martin Lawrence. The two met when they ran into each other a music festival in Aruba. After, they began dating long-distance immediately.

  1. “Scoey”

Smith’s nickname among his family growing up was “Scoey.” Comedian Scoey Mitchell was his mother’s favorite entertainer. The name was a way to differentiate the youngest Smith from the three generations of Emmitt Smiths.

  1. Going back to college

“I promised my mom if I left school early, I’d come back and get my degree,” Smith told the University of Florida Alumni Magazine. “I wanted to get that done.”

  1. Architect dreams

Before he became a star with the Cowboys, Smith dreamed of being an architect, according to a story in The Dallas Morning News from 1993. After he retired, Smith didn’t become an architect but he came close. In 2013 he became the President and CEO of Emmitt Smith Enterprises, an umbrella company that includes Smith’s real estate firm and his construction company, which specializes in commercial construction.

He left in June 2017 and is now attempting to open a sports shop at DFW International Airport.

  1. Back on TV

Smith made fun of his Dancing with the Stars appearance during a cameo on the CBS show How I Met Your Mother. In it, a character asks him who won the Super Bowl. Smith says that once you win two or three of them you stop paying attention. He’s then asked what’s more important than football?

“Dance, my friend,” Smith said. “Dance.” You can check out the super-low quality scene below.

That wasn’t his only cameo on TV, either. He appeared on a CSI: Cyber episode in 2016.

  1. Poker contender

Smith competed in the 2011 Heads-Up Poker Championship. He beat professional poker player David Williams in the first round, then lost to gambler Andrew Robl in the second round. Robl went on to the semifinals before he lost to eventual champion Erik Seidel.

Roger Staubach Jersey

DALLAS, Texas — Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach sees some of the same leadership qualities and penchant for comebacks in current quarterback Dak Prescott that he had in his storied career.

Staubach took time at the Children’s Cancer Fund 2019 model photo shoot to answer questions about the moxie and flair for the comeback that Prescott has displayed in the 2018 season.

“This team believes in Dak Prescott,” Staubach said in an exclusive to WFAA.com. “And, so, that was important to me, and I see how important it is to Dak because he’s their leader. He’s a winner. He makes big plays when you have to make big plays.”

Prescott’s big game heroics were on full display in the Cowboys’ 24-22 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 5 in the wild-card playoffs. The third-year field general from Mississippi State completed 22 passes on 33 attempts for 226 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

The enduring image of Prescott’s never-say-die attitude spirit was a draw on third-and-14 from the Seattle 17-yard line with the quarterback flipping head over heels over safety Tedric Thompson to score a touchdown. Prescott was a yard short, but the effort was part of the rehabilitation of Prescott’s image from a hesitant signal caller in the middle of the season to a confident gunslinger in the playoffs.

“I was very confident and I felt like I could win but you have to transfer that confidence to your teammates,” said Staubach, who led Dallas to two Super Bowl victories in 1971 and 1977. “And I think Dak really does that. I think I was able to do that, that they believed in me.

“If they don’t believe in you as a quarterback, you’re in trouble.

Troy Aikman, who called the wild-card game against Seattle, also sees some of the same traits in Prescott.

Said Aikman: “I think that he has shown an ability to win games late, much like [Staubach]. And that’s a quality not everybody has, and he’s shown to have that even in games where he has shown not to have played his best. I think that’s the greatest quality as it inspires teammates. It lets him know that no matter what, no matter what’s happened in the game, they can come back and win.”

The Cowboys take to the road in the divisional playoffs with a showdown against the Los Angeles Rams in the L.A. Coliseum Saturday. As a team that went 3-5 on the road this season, Prescott will have to instill that confidence in his teammates that they can get their fourth victory as the away team as they go toe to toe with Pro Bowl quarterback Jared Goff and All-Pro running back Todd Gurley.

“At the end of the day it’s a matter of your leadership and how much your teammate believes in you and we have a great quarterback in Dak Prescott,” Staubach said.

Do you share the belief along with Roger Staubach that Dak Prescott has the ability to get the job done when things are tight at the end of close games?

Troy Aikman Jersey

Nearly 18 years after his Hall of Fame playing career ended, Troy Aikman is still dropping back into shotgun.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, in the Fox broadcast booth, stands high above the field at Bank of America Stadium. He’s wearing a dress shirt, tie, and headset. His hands reach toward a bank of monitors, and he subconsciously shifts from side to side, as if about to take a snap. His eyes constantly survey the field as his old team takes on the Carolina Panthers in an NFL season opener. The windows are open and the crowd is rocking.

To Aikman’s left is play-by-play man Joe Buck, his broadcast partner for the last 17 years. Between them, and always within reach, is an open can of bar nuts. Buck jokes that they “lead the league in nuts and gum.”

“Problem is,” Aikman says off-air, “both of us constantly are trying to watch what we’re eating. I can blow through this whole can in one game. It’s honey-roasted.”

Sustenance will be especially key this year, with a new challenge. Buck and Aikman will double their workload by covering Thursday night games as well as their usual Sunday national game. Fox will pay the NFL $3.3 billion to take over the Thursday night package for the next five years, starting Sept. 27 when the Rams host the Minnesota Vikings. (NFL Network aired this week’s Thursday game, and will do so again in Week 3, with Buck and Aikman working both.)

A national audience hears and sees Buck and Aikman, along with rules expert Mike Pereira and sideline reporter Erin Andrews, but there’s an army of Fox employees behind the scenes. The network is issued 125 credentials for a typical game. Pereira sits to Aikman’s right, and between them is a spotter who silently scribbles notes and statistics on blue cards — third-down efficiency, time of possession, turnover differential — and flashes them to Aikman.

Aikman, who was the No. 1 pick in the 1989 draft after his senior season at UCLA, retired as a player after the 2000 season. He has been a broadcaster longer than his college and pro careers combined.

He deftly manipulates the rewind knob on one of his monitors, sometimes before the play has finished, and uses a stylus to make notations on the screen quicker than he can scrawl an autograph. His game notes — and he and Buck have volumes — are printed and meticulously handwritten onto “boards” they create for every game. They’re basically giant depth charts on stiff paper, but with player facts and stories distilled into a few lines. Aikman’s handwriting is so neat it almost looks like calligraphy.

“Everybody over-prepares out of insecurity,” Buck says. “Then I walk out of here and realize I used 10% of this.”

Aikman studies for games as thoroughly as he did as a player. Immediately after working a game, and before their flights home, Aikman and Buck are given thumb drives of their broadcast so they can review it. Buck flies commercial home to St. Louis; Aikman flies private to Dallas.

Buck is typically too wired from working to sleep much Sunday night, so he gets started on the new week. Aikman’s routine begins Monday morning, after he’s gotten his two daughters off to high school and gets in a cardio workout and lifting session. At 51, he still has an impressive physique.

As a courtesy to Aikman, the Cowboys provide him any game tape he needs, regardless of the team. He downloads it onto his iPad.

“I dig down pretty deep,” he says. “There’s a lot to look at — players, scheme, personnel. You start studying a particular guy and then it’s, what personnel groupings are they using? Then you go back and look at it a little bit differently and try to figure out what exactly they’re trying to accomplish.

“When I was playing, I wasn’t worried about [watching] defensive linemen. That’s somebody else’s job to plot those guys. I’d study coverages, study blitzes, and I’d study one team, one defense for that week. Now, it’s four times as much film, both sides of the ball for two teams.”

With two games a week now, the work has doubled. What’s more, there are conference calls with coaches and players from the teams, and face-to-face production meetings when possible. Before the Cowboys-Panthers game, he talked to the Cowboys personnel on the phone, and met in person with Panthers coach Ron Rivera, tight end Greg Olsen and other members of the franchise.

Those meetings took place Saturday at Panthers headquarters in a small theater-type media room, and included Andrews, as well as lead game producer Richie Zyontz and director Rich Russo. Aikman directed the interviews, asking questions as if he were late for a flight.

“Troy doesn’t suffer fools,” Zyontz says.

Aikman doesn’t waste time, either, because he didn’t like people wasting his time when he was a quarterback. Although he is friendly with Rivera, he briskly moved from one question to the next to the next, with the coach barely having time to pause. All the while, Aikman took notes on his laptop. Andrews would mix in some questions as well, hers more to do with injuries and background stories more than Xs and O’s.

“We each have respect for the information the other needs to get,” Andrews says. “There’s a great rhythm there.”

When Aikman was a player, the production meetings were usually pretty informal.

“[John] Madden and [Pat] Summerall did most of our games,” Aikman says. “It got to a point where we didn’t really talk much football. I’d just go in there and we’d sit down and kind of BS and laugh. And then at the end of my career when we weren’t very good, John was almost like my therapist. I’d come in and talk to him about things I knew weren’t going to be on the air.”

Like any good quarterback, Aikman is all about clock management. His longest question is a full sentence. Most are a word or two.

“You try to be respectful of guys’ time,” he says. “This is, in a way, an inconvenience for them. So I try to be mindful of that.”

Aikman remembered an instance as a player when he met an analyst who seemed to want to chit-chat. It didn’t go well.

“I said, ‘Listen, if you want to know how I’m doing, I’ll get up and leave right now,’” Aikman recalls. “If you want to know about the game, I’m happy to talk about the game. But we’re not going to sit here and small-talk, and, ‘How’s life?’ and, ‘How’s the family?’”

As an analyst, Aikman garners instant respect. A lot of the coaches grew up watching him play. During the Carolina production meeting, Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who coached him in Dallas, brought in a jersey for Aikman to autograph. It was for a Panthers player.

After a Fox Super Bowl broadcast, Aikman’s handwritten board was auctioned for charity. Walking through the bowels of Bank of America Stadium, he might as well have been Paul McCartney with the way workers stopped to gawk.

“I’ve seen people stake out hotels where we stay, waiting for Troy to sign autographs,” says Zyontz, Aikman’s producer throughout the quarterback’s broadcasting career. “I don’t know how they find out where we’re staying, but they’ll wait for hours.”

In 2002, with Aikman early in his broadcasting career, he was working in San Diego when the network did a game break-in to say that it looked as if Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb had suffered a broken ankle. During a commercial, a producer got in Aikman’s ear and told him someone wanted to talk to him at halftime: Eagles coach Andy Reid.

Aikman stepped out of the booth at halftime and called Reid, who explained the situation. He wanted the former Cowboys star, who had retired in large part because of concussion problems, to make a beeline for Philadelphia in hopes he would be ready to play the following week. There are no more bitter NFL rivals than the Cowboys and Eagles.

Aikman explained to Reid that he was in the middle of a broadcast and promised to call after the game. Aikman had plenty of time to chat too, because he would be driving from San Diego to Santa Barbara, where he had a home.

When Aikman called back, he told Reid he wanted to sleep on the decision. By the time he reached Santa Barbara, Aikman had a good idea which way he was leaning.

“So I went to bed that night and said, ‘I can wake up tomorrow and spend a nice couple of days in Santa Barbara. Or, I can be in frigid Philadelphia getting my brains kicked in,’” Aikman said when recalling the story in 2009.

The next day, he called Reid and politely declined.

It’s that type of respect that paves a path for Aikman as an analyst, getting coaches and players to open up to him.

He’s got the ultimate hammer as far as I’m concerned: He’s won three Super Bowls.

Ezekiel Elliott Jersey

Ezekiel Elliott is incredulous that the NFL would fine him for a celebration designed to increase donations to charity and offered advice to Kareem Hunt and Reuben Foster as they face repercussions from the league for their alleged violence against women.

Elliott addressed these and other topics Wednesday afternoon at The Star. The Cowboys running back began with his fine of $13,369 for unsportsmanlike conduct for dropping $21 into a Salvation Army kettle after scoring a touchdown in the team’s Thanksgiving Day victory against Washington.

“I mean, I didn’t really expect a fine,” Elliott said. “Really don’t care about the fine. It’s all for a good cause.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to the Salvation Army. If the NFL doesn’t like that, then, that’s on them. I’ll pay their little fine.”

Later in the game, after Dak Prescott scored, Elliott picked up the quarterback and dropped him in the bucket. Elliott, Prescott and the organization all came out in the aftermath and donated $21,000 to the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign.

Elliott was asked if he found it ridiculous that the league would fine him for dropping money and his quarterback into the kettle.

“A lot of things they do define ridiculous,” Elliott said. “But I mean, that’s not really any of my business, not really anything I can change so I’m just going to keep being focused on this season, keep being focused on leading this team and focused on going out there and winning ballgames.”

Fine money is donated to programs for former players. Asked if he thought the NFL should donate his fine to the Salvation Army, Elliott replied, “I think they should.”

Elliott is, however, appealing the NFL’s fine, according to sources.

Elliott, who served a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence last season, was also asked what advice he had for Hunt and Foster.

“Just focus on your day to day life, making sure you’re winning the next day,” Elliott said. “When you start looking down the road you can kind of get bogged down. Just make sure you focus on the day to day and doing better day to day and things are going to work themselves out.”