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Owner Not Concerned About Claiborne; Lee's Contract & More
OXNARD, Calif. – Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has a knack for covering a bevy of topics when he agrees to speak with reporters.
Jones did just that Thursday evening, as he expounded on a number of issues facing this year’s team, the organization and future events.
Most imminent among those topics is the health of cornerback Morris Claiborne – a growing concern for the Cowboys, as Claiborne has yet to return to practice after a knee injury suffered a week ago. Jones said the injury isn’t one that concerns him.
“I just don’t think we need to see him play against Arizona, but I’m not concerned,” Jones said.
Claiborne has not undergone an MRI or any X-Rays since he injured his knee during last Thursday’s practice, but he has yet to return to the practice field in the time since. Jones said the injuries Claiborne has suffered in his year with the team don’t look like recurring problems, though.
“He’s a young player. The injuries that he’s having are not what you’d call the kinds of injuries that would be chronic or you’d expect to be dealing with down the road – to the extent down the road means opening night,” Jones said. “All of those things are not a concern … He ought to be a healthy player, and he ought to be a healthy player soon – for us, right now, opening game.”
Aside from the afflictions besetting his current roster, Jones spoke briefly about concerns for next year and beyond. Chief among those is working out a contract extension for linebacker Sean Lee. Lee is entering the final year of his contract this season.
“When we look at things we need to do, short and long term, he’s on that list. And his agreement is on that list. That would be the best way to say that,” Jones said. “In terms of our planning and our management of our cap dollars and our future, we’re planning on having him on the team. We plan on it.”
Jones said he would consider Lee to be near the top of the team’s list of priorities. But he also added that the coming year is going to be another tight situation financially, with the Cowboys coming quite close to the salary cap.
“Next year is going to be another tight year for us, with the cap, so we’ve got to really be pretty resourceful,” Jones said. “It’s going to be tight again, and I’m not a budget guy -- as you guys know. It has been a real learning experience for me fitting under a cap.”
Turning his attention to players of the past, rather than the present, Jones also addressed the possibility of expanding the Ring of Honor. The Cowboys last added to the Ring of Honor in 2011, when the team inducted Drew Pearson, Charles Haley and Larry Allen.
Jones said the organization has no plan for a ceremony this year – but that doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be.
“I have thought about it this early (before), but it’s not necessary to think about it,” he said. “We’ve had inductees in the ring of honor when we didn’t address it until after the start of the season, or we’ve thought about it a year before. It goes both ways.”
Jones looked even further into the future of the franchise when he was asked about the Cowboys’ potential to play a game in London as part of the NFL’s International Series. The Cowboys have a 2014 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who recently announced a deal to play one home game in London from 2013-16.
It doesn’t sound as though a trip overseas is in the team’s near future, however.
“We don’t have that in our radar, but it’s something that, recently at an NFL meeting, we gave the league the right to draft teams to go over there,” Jones said. “They can ask you to go – nicely. We know we’re a really interesting draw, and games we played over there were great memories for everybody involved.”
Jones said if the Cowboys were to ever play in London, it would be only as a visiting team.