Jan. 6, 2004, 5:46 p.m. (CST)
Division I-AA championship as well.
He would not get out of coaching until joining the Cowboys in 1992, when he began working in the scouting department. There are some out there who would like to blame the Cowboys' current mess on Lacewell, pointing out there is only one player left on the team from the 1997 draft, only two from 1998, one from 1999, none from 2000 and there will be none from 2001 since the Cowboys are unlikely to re-sign Tony Dixon.
But that would be unfair. Lacewell wasn't exactly picking the groceries. He and his department would basically do the leg work. The picking was left to an assortment of head coaches, at times assistant coaches and the front-office tandem of Jerry and Stephen Jones. Now, this is not to say Lacewell didn't have some influence on those picks, and he should have been the one recommending guys he's scouted.
Still, and as he said off the cuff one day, "I needed to get paid more if I was making all the picks."
Even Jerry Jones would tell you it would be unfair to totally plop the Cowboys' draft misfortunes all in his lap. Just as it is unfair to blame an unsuccessful season entirely on the quarterback.
"His experience and knowledge of the game are understood and respected by football people throughout the collegiate and professional ranks," Jerry Jones said.
Look, if Lacewell is given the blame for the recent rash of poor draft picks, then does he get the credit for the Cowboys selecting Roy Williams and pulling off the trade while "settling" for Julius Jones? Does he get Jason Witten and Al Johnson, too?
See what I mean?
Sure, the timing of this move seems suspicious. The Cowboys fall to 6-10 this season. Parcells talks of changes to be made. And then the first admitted change is Lacewell announcing his retirement. There certainly would seem to be more changes coming, within the scouting department and on the coaching staff.
That, though, is a natural occurrence. I'd imagine if you had a dying plant you would alter your watering pattern before it was time to pitch the poor thing.
Status quo, no matter the reasons for failure, is only inviting more failure some times.
So the Cowboys will move on, and now, after all these years, so will Lacewell, but with a semi-trailer full of memories and associations with the likes of Billy Simms and Greg Pruitt and Joe Washington and the Selmon Brothers and Fred Barnett and Maurice Carthon and all these future Cowboy Ring of Honor members, and, as he says when ticking off all these names, "I got to work for Jerry Jones."
"I'm going back home, really," Lacewell said of returning to his Arkansas roots where he is a Hall of Famer in that state. "It was a hell of a ride."
Helluva long ride, Lace's football veins reaching far and wide.
|The Cowboys have yet to name a replacement for Lacewell, but the name popping up most seems to be Jeff Ireland, the team's national scout who joined the Cowboys in 2001.|
|This would take some research, but I'd think after being involved in football for 46 seasons you have the right to thump your chest some. So Lacewell wonders out loud if anyone else has been involved in winning back-to-back national championships (OU, 1974-75) and back-to-back Super Bowls (Cowboys, 1992-93).|
| Want some winners this weekend? Let's try Packers over Vikings, Colts over Broncos, Chargers over Jets and . . . Rams over Seahawks.
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