FRISCO, Texas – Hours before the 2017 Dallas Cowboys brought training camp to The Star in Frisco, the organization paid tribute to its prestigious past.
On Monday the Cowboys officially unveiled the Ring of Honor Walk presented by Dr. Pepper, recognizing all 21 members of the franchise's exclusive group of legendary players and contributors: Bob Lilly, Don Meredith, Don Perkins, Chuck Howley, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Lee Roy Jordan, Tom Landry, Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Bob Hayes, Tex Schramm, Cliff Harris, Rayfield Wright, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Drew Pearson, Charles Haley, Larry Allen and Darren Woodson.
Sixteen members attended the ceremony as well as the families of Meredith, Landry, Hayes and Schramm. A Ring of Honor mural representing the members was unveiled on the east and west ends of the plaza, and each member's honorary monument was revealed.
"Certainly they represent the very best of the people that won those five Super Bowls," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said. "For our fans to be able to come here at The Star, in this particular case today to be involved in the preparation of this team for the '17 season and at the same time reflect back on what these players and Coach Landry meant, Tex Schramm meant, is not only unique but it is a part of what football is about.
"It's always about tradition. We've got the greatest tradition that anybody could have, and it will be reflected and enjoyed here at the Star."
Views of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Walk unveiling from the Star at the Ford Center in Frisco, Texas.
Like Jones' Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement earlier this month, gathering this many legends in the same room is a rare treat. Michael Irvin, star receiver on the 1990's "Triplets" dynasty, marveled at the talent on this all-time Ring of Honor roster.
"We're in the back arguing about who's starting and who's sitting the bench," Irvin joked. "Who's starting, Emmitt or Tony? Who's starting, Roger or Troy? We're having those conversations. Of course Drew Pearson and I said we're both starting at the same time.
"But it's just fun to be back, to be in this atmosphere with the excitement that's going on around the Dallas Cowboys, and then being around the guys and being able to share some of the great memories, not just our time but the time before that, the guys that truly built America's Team to where it is."
That afternoon, the current Cowboys roster took the field for the first of six practices at Ford Center over the next two weeks, still in training camp mode with two preseason games left.
Longtime tight end Jason Witten, who very well could be in the Ring of Honor conversation whenever his career ends, appreciates the support he's gotten from generations of former Cowboys players.
"Roger's always been a great resource for me over the years. It's amazing just how successful he is and how he just roots for us, always genuinely pulling for us. Michael's someone that I've enjoyed being with, ran routes with him before (back at the old Valley Ranch facility). Emmitt's been somebody that I looked up to as a kid and had an opportunity to be around him."
Monday offered a celebration of the past and an optimistic eye toward the present and future.
*Not yet confirmed to attend but monuments will be unveiled at ceremony
*Inductee's family will be present to unveil their monument in their honor*