CANTON, Ohio – The moment is approaching for Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys' longtime owner/general manager has built successful teams in Dallas: three Super Bowl champions, division champions, a pretty good young group entering the 2017 season. Now he's about to join the greatest collection of contributors the NFL has ever seen.
Some of his former players are part of that special team: The Pro Football Hall of Fame. Saturday night, Jones will join them as part of the 2017 Class enshrined in Canton.
"It just feels almost unfair to have spent almost 30 years in the NFL and have had as much fun as I've had with players and many great experiences, and still get to be a part of something like this," Jones said Friday at a scheduled press conference. "I've experienced some wonderful things, and this is right there with the very best."
Jones has been the Hall of Fame presenter for three Cowboys greats: Michael Irvin (2007), Emmitt Smith (2010) and Larry Allen (2013). At this year's annual Ray Nitschke Luncheon, Jones said Smith, Irvin and another Hall of Famer, Charles Haley (2015), spoke about their experiences together and welcomed Jones to the exclusive club.
Jones' wife, Gene, will present him on stage Saturday. He estimates 600-700 friends and family are here in support, including his old teammates from the University of Arkansas. Among them: former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson, who will present fellow 2017 enshrinee Jason Taylor.
Without giving away details, Jones said his induction speech will convey how much he loves the game of football, how much it's done for him in his life and career, how much it's helped him be his best.
The "special icing on the cake" this week was the Cowboys' participation in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, a 20-18 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.[embeddedad0]
But the most exciting thing about Hall of Fame week? "Unquestionably, being around these great players," Jones said.
"The inclusion factor in such a limited group. This NFL covers so many generations, so many years. To get to be mentioned in the same breath as a lot of people in those rooms, for me, because of the affinity I have for this game, the love I have for it, the respect I have for the players, the thousands and thousands of players that I'm aware of that have participated in the NFL at the professional level, for it to be limited to that group really doesn't take me but a second or two to get aware of just how good this is."