I have had the pleasure of working for or covering Jerry Jones since 1999. I thought I would take a few moments to share my favorite memories.
The Randy Moss Draft Meeting, 1998
Most of you know that I love the NFL draft. I love the preparation and the build-up that leads to those three days. When I started work with the Cowboys in August of 1999, I was in the office of Chris Hall, who is currently the Coordinator of College Scouting for the club. Chris and I were discussing how the draft process worked in Dallas. Chris told me how they filmed the draft meetings, which I thought was interesting because I had never been with a team that did that. The discussion then shifted to where the team stood on the selection of Randy Moss. Chris pointed me in the direction of a wall of VHS tapes from that draft. After finding the one for the receivers, I sat down and for the next 30 minutes and viewed one of the most intense and passionate discussions on a player I had ever witnessed. Here was Jerry Jones, glasses on the end of his nose, stacks of thick scouting reports in front of him listening to Chan Gailey and Dwain Painter debate with Jim Garrett and Walt Yowarsky. The coaches and scouts were not giving an inch to the other. Jerry Jones calmly sat in that chair, only moving his eyes from the discussion to look down at the reports trying to take in all the information he could. As the debate wore on, I begin to sense that Jones was leaning in the direction of the scouts and what Moss could mean to the Dallas Cowboys, but Gailey and Painter continued to hammer on. Jones acknowledged both sides, but he was he was left with a very difficult decision. I felt badly for him after viewing that exchange because deep down inside, I knew that Randy Moss was his type of player and it's a shame that he didn't wind up with the Cowboys.
Draft Day Trade, 2002
I have had the great honor of working with two Hall of Fame General Managers -- Ron Wolf and now Jerry Jones. As outstanding as Ron Wolf was at working a draft, Jerry Jones was legendary. When it came to working the phones and knowing exactly where clubs were going with their selections, Jones was on top of it. I will never forget in the 2002 NFL Draft when we drafted Roy Williams, the safety out of Oklahoma. We were selecting six overall in that draft and we were in position to move around if we needed to. When we went on the clock, Jerry and Stephen Jones began fielding calls for our pick. Kansas City and Minnesota were interested and the discussions were going back and forth as time was winding down. As we weighed our options, Jerry did something that I had never witnessed in a draft. He convinced Carl Peterson in Kansas City to tell him who he was trading up for and he did the very same thing to Frank Gilliam in Minnesota. Generally, when you're in discussion for a trade, the club will only tell you if they're taking an offensive or defensive player. Somehow, he was able to pry the names -- not from just one, but two clubs. Armed with the knowledge that neither team was going to take our player (Ryan Sims went to Kansas City and Bryant McKinnie to Minnesota), he made the call to drop down two spots, pick up the Chiefs' third-round pick and draft Williams at that spot. In all my years of working a NFL draft, it was one of the coolest things I had ever witnessed.
La'Roi Glover Free Agent Signing, 2002
My primary job for Jerry Jones and Larry Lacewell was working in pro personnel. We didn't have a pro department before I arrived, so Jones and Lacewell trusted me to set one up. I was working with a group of former high school coaches, some in full-time positions and others part-time. Despite not having much cap space, we put together a yearly list of all the eligible free agents in the NFL. Even though we didn't have the money to go out and get much help, Jones wanted to meet for three days and go through the names just to keep himself in the loop with what was going on in the league. In our meeting before the 2002 season, he was intrigued by our discussions on La'Roi Glover, the defensive tackle from the New Orleans Saints. Glover was an All-Pro and Pro Bowl player the previous two seasons, and he was an ideal fit for the 4-3 scheme we ran at the time. The more that Jones listened, the more I got the sense he wanted to take a run at Glover. With our information in hand, Jerry and Stephen went to work on securing Glover. I will never forget Jerry asking me one final time before he closed the deal if I was absolutely positive that Glover was the right guy -- because he was about to hand him a big check. With all the courage I could muster, I answered "Yes sir." Glover played four seasons for us and was a Pro Bowl player each of those years. To tell you how special a player Glover was, Bill Parcells moved him to nose guard in 2005, and he made the Pro Bowl there, as well. Jerry Jones knew that La'Roi Glover could be special and likely didn't need me to tell him that -- but he trusted me and made it happen.
Meeting in Hallway at Valley Ranch, 2015
This one came well after my time in the scouting department. I had been back with the Cowboys for a few years after working in the local Dallas radio market. One day I happened to be standing in the hallway at Valley Ranch looking for cell reception for my phone when Jerry Jones came walking around the corner heading for the scouting department. Our eyes meet just as the number began to dial on my phone. I was caught between continuing the call or just hitting the end call button. Jerry forced my hand, so I dumped the call. Now standing right across from me, he told me: "You've been on my rear a lot here lately, but you've been fair about it and I can respect that. Keep up the great work, I have enjoyed it". I can't begin to describe the range of emotions that I felt during that short exchange. As I look back now, that is who Jerry Jones is. He is firm and direct but always there, encouraging you to strive for better things.
There have been plenty of times where Jerry Jones could have sent me packing, but he didn't. It was Bill Parcells that wanted me gone and not Jerry. I always felt like Jerry had my back, whether it was in scouting or now with DallasCowboys.com. His willingness to listen and challenge will always be the traits I think best describe him. Sure, there were times where I felt like I let him down but like him, I always had the right intentions. I have learned a lot from Jerry Jones over the years, some good and some bad. But the most important lesson I do take from him is, no matter how successful you are, there is a right way to treat people.