* ARLINGTON, Texas –*There they were, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, sitting side-by-side on a makeshift stage here Wednesday afternoon, brought together for the good of the kids in this city that's home to AT&T Stadium.
The Cowboys, in conjunction with Hellas Construction and the NFL, are leaving an NFL Draft Legacy. They announced at a groundbreaking ceremony on the aging football fields of Workman Junior High the construction of a turf field, along with a refurbishing of the modest stands.
The three parties are putting together a $1.85 million project that will not only provide the 10 Arlington Independent School District's 10 junior highs a turf field, along with a new tartan track to replace the rather rough current ones, but also to install lights on the fields, which also will accommodate soccer, and a lighted scoreboard.
"We're here to celebrate the fact that we are doing something for young people," Jones said with several hundred of the Workman students filling up the stands. "Yes, we are doing something where you can go out and feel better about participating in your sport, both women and men, because this field will cover many areas of sport."
These types of Legacy projects by the Cowboys throughout the city of Arlington began back in 2011 when the NFL brought Super Bowl XLV to AT&T Stadium. Thus, now the NFL Draft Legacy Project, again thanks to the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation's $1.4 million donation, along with the added support from the NFL and Hellas, the construction company with offices out at The Star in Frisco, known for installing turf surfaces and construction of sports facilities.
The groundbreaking ceremony also featured NFL Draft ambassador Drew Pearson, Arlington mayor Jeff Williams, AISD superintendent Marcello Cavazos and Hellas president and CEO Reed Seaton, along with Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson, given credit for spearheading this project.
Or as Goodell would say, "When you want something done, you call Charlotte."
The NFL commissioner also wanted to point out the reason this NFL Draft Legacy project is expanding as the league now has moved the draft traditionally held in New York City to Chicago and then Philadelphia over the past three years before landing here for Thursday's start to the three-day, seven-round draft. The event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to the draft theater built inside AT&T Stadium and the 26-football field-sized NFL Experience for fans to enjoy free of charge located on the stadium's East Plaza and surrounding parking lots.
"I'd like to thank the Cowboys because without the Cowboys we wouldn't be here and without the leadership of Jerry and his family. We're so honored to be here," Goodell said. "But we're here because of (Jerry Jones') drive and his commitment to this community, as well as making everything bigger and better, and he does that.
"And every time we give him an event, he finds a way to make it bigger and better."
And once all the speeches were completed, a ceremonial groundbreaking took place with the dignitaries lifting a shovel of dirt. Then the two bulldozers sitting in place began digging up the old field.
Finally, Dr. Cavazos maybe best summed up the Cowboys contributions to the City of Arlington, along with the NFL and Hellas, by saying, "You know why they do what they do? They do it for the young people. They know, like I know, and all the adults know, that when we invest in you, the youth of today, that our future is much brighter."
And this particular investment in the kids of Arlington will last a long, long time.