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While Not Saying Much, Free’s Actions Suggest A 2013 Return
GRAPEVINE, Texas – Player participation in the Cowboys annual golf social at Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine has never been a mandatory event.
Last week’s home-run derby to raise money for The Salvation Army was also a by-choice event for current players.
But Doug Free has now been to both, including Wednesday’s golf tournament that shows appreciation to the team’s corporate sponsors. Free played in the afternoon group with the Bank of America team. And like he did last week at the Home Run Derby at the Ballpark in Arlington, Free chose not to talk with reporters.
But what he’s not saying with words, he might be making up for in body language. If that tells us anything, it seems like Free might be sticking around the Cowboys after all.
In between rounds of the annual event, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, who is the club’s director of player personnel, hinted progress has been made with both sides and reiterated the team’s stance on bringing Free back this season.
“I can’t feel good about it until it’s done,” Jones said, “but we want Doug here and hopefully we get it all worked out.”
What needs working out is the restructured contract that currently pays Free $7 million in base salary for 2013. The Cowboys have made no secrets about their wishes to lower the salary, based entirely on his play the last two years. Free struggled to the point in 2012 that he was forced to rotate snaps at right tackle with Jermey Parnell, who would be the likely starter if Free isn’t signed.
However, when asked to comment on his comfort level at right tackle without Free, Jones sidestepped.
“I don’t want to speculate. We’re working on getting it worked out with Free,” Jones said. “We’re positive. Hopefully he’s positive. We’re trying to work through it all.
Jones wouldn’t reveal a specific deadline when this resolution has to occur, but said Free and his agent Jimmy Sexton are both aware this situation needs to get resolved sooner rather than later.
“I think we’re on the same page with Jimmy and Doug, as far as timing,” Jones said.
Meanwhile, Free isn’t saying much, but at least he is acting like he’s a full-fledged member of the Cowboys.