ARLINGTON, Texas – It an understatement to say Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones caused a stir in the sports world Thursday.
An in-depth profile of Jones, written for ESPN and published Thursday afternoon, quoted Jones on a variety of incendiary topics – both from the present and the distant past. Those issues centered around the ongoing debate of whether Jones wanted to select rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel in the 2014 NFL Draft this past May, Jones’ rocky relationship with former coach Jimmy Johnson and the implication that Jones broke NFL tampering rules in a telephone conversation with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
For good measure, Jones also addressed the lingering question of what Josh Brent’s role would be with the Cowboys in 2014.
Johnny Be Good
Ever since the Cowboys opted to select
In the story, Jones said “I get madder, every day” about not picking Manziel, the mercurial Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones is given the lion’s share of the credit for the less-flashy selection of Martin – something Jerry Jones said he appreciates.
“Well, that was a little tongue in cheek with it, but I’m still mad at him,” he said. “I think I’m proud of that decision right now, and I’m proud I was a good listener.”
Another Manziel talking point from the story centered around Jones’ insistence that Manziel, one of the most high-profile rookies to ever enter the NFL, would keep the Cowboys relevant for the next 10 years. That was bound to ruffle the feathers of Cowboys fans, who have seen the franchise earn one playoff win in the past 17 years, though Jones stood by his word.
“The reason you take Manziel is to win. We’ve talked a lot about the cache. We’ve talked a lot about the visibility,” he said. “But I don’t think anybody has to back into the fact that this guy is a winner. He’s a proven winner and high competition. And so I wouldn’t distinguish any conversation I’m having about taking him or not taking him with the idea that if we have him he’ll help us win.”
Jones doesn’t seem concerned that his conversation with Adrian Peterson will be considered tampering.
The ESPN profile on Jones included an excerpt about the Cowboys’ owner receiving a call from the Vikings’ running back and discussing the possibility of playing with the Cowboys. Peterson released a statement Friday stating he spoke to Jones, but he said it was a casual conversation and that he’d love to retire with Minnesota.
Jones had a similar comment about the lighthearted nature of the conversation after receiving the call.
“I understand the tampering thing, and you have to be an initiator,” Jones said. “When that came in, I happened to be standing there with that writer. Matter of fact, I think he might have handed me the phone from the guy who was on the phone. It was Adrian. It was good talking to him. I’m a big admirer of him.”
Jones said both before the game on 105.3 FM “The Fan” and after the game that the majority of the conversation was about Texas – where Peterson is from – and Peterson’s father.
“That’s mostly what we talked about,” Jones said. “Certainly, that was about it. It was after the George Strait concert. I think it was about an hour after the concert, so that was the atmosphere.”
Questioning Jimmy’s Honor?
All of the issues between Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson over the years have been well documented. The two sides have seemingly buried the hatchet with Johnson making a couple of return visits to Valley Ranch for his broadcast duties.
But apparently, putting Johnson in the Ring of Honor is not something Jones is interested in, despite the former coach winning two Super Bowls, equaling Tom Landry.
Jones didn’t waver from his previous comments in the magazine article when asked to address the situation Thursday night.
“I was pretty candid and it’s what it is,” Jones said. “But the Ring of Honor, the last word is Honor. And so you have to give that some thought and that is just because we have to look at the definition. Tex Schramm told me the definition is someone who made a material difference in where the franchise is. It didn’t have in their Super Bowl winning coaches. It said, somebody that has made a difference in the franchise. And so that will always be a debate.”
Jones said he takes some of the blame for the divorce that occurred after the 1993 season.
“I had a lot of fault relative to how that came down, too.” Jones admitted. “I don’t necessarily agree that I was right. I accept the freight that might have been involved in the way I handled that decision. I accept that.”
But, Jones claims he has never answered the question whether Johnson will get into the Ring of Honor, or any player for that matter.
“I never comment on who is going in the Ring of Honor. I really don’t. I want to be consistent,” Jones said. “I never have until I announced it, ever, ever said one way or the other about somebody going into the Ring of Honor. I have never done that. That’s saved for the announcement.”
Jones hopes to hear about Josh Brent’s status with the league within the next day or two, although he hasn’t gotten word yet.
Brent could face a suspension from the league stemming back to his drunk driving incident, despite already missing last season. Jones said during training camp if Brent got cleared by the league, he would have a roster spot on the team.
“I’m just sure we’ll get some word here as we’re making this roster and we’re making these decisions about the status of players and certainly the players that are the 53,” Jones said. “So I would think, just knowing that it’s roster-making time, we would hear something from the league on Josh Brent.”