FRISCO, Texas – Sure is starting to look a lot like training camp is right around the corner. Equipment is starting to get loaded. Travel plans are being circulated. Time to start packing this weekend.
But most of all, the players, who are not required to be back here until the July 24 charter departure for Los Angeles or the first team meeting in Oxnard, Calif., are starting to trickle back in on their own to resume working out. How sensible is that, since you work hard from early April to mid-June to get in shape before the five-and-a-half week break prior to the official start of camp.
Plus, the players know the conditioning test will be administered the day after they get to camp. Need to be ready to take your best shot once getting there.
· Always Sumpin: Almost made it to the start of training camp, almost got through this hazardous dead time, without incident. Almost. And although this did not occur during these unstructured days, comes out that first-year cornerback Marquez White is being charged with felony assault for flashing a gun during an apparent road-rage incident out this way. Now, there would seem to be something fishy about the incident, since it occurred back in October without any arrests being made. More than eight months later, we find out charges have been filed against last year's third of three sixth-round draft choices. White claims he was the one repeatedly confronted by the now accuser, and that he simply showed he had a legally registered gun in his car while trying to diffuse the situation. Let's see if this clears up before the start of camp.
· Dandy Don: Driving through East Texas on my way back from vacation this past Friday when the road sign "Mount Vernon" caught my attention. Mount Vernon, the late Don Meredith's hometown. Remembered driving near there once, but didn't have time to stop to visit the Don Meredith Museum erected in his honor. This time made a spur of the moment decision to exit I-30 for Mount Vernon. Was in no hurry to get home. Found the old city hall/fire station off the downtown square where the exhibit is now located. But unfortunately, the sign on the door stated the museum was open to the public on Saturdays only, or by appointment. Darn it. OK, the next, next time. Have to plan ahead.
· Best OTs: See where former Cowboys VP of player personnel Gil Brandt put together his all-time list of the top-22 offensive tackles in NFL history on NFL.com. Cowboys five-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith came in at 19 on this quite prestigious list. Cowboys Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright checks in at 10, a six-time Pro Bowler who started in six NFC title games for the Cowboys. The top five consisted of No. 1 Jim Parker, No. 2 Jonathan Ogden, No. 3 Anthony Munoz, No. 4 Walter Jones and No. 5 Ron Yary. Now, must admit, really wasn't paying attention to Parker's work for the Colts (1957-67), but if an argument was going to be made for a different No. 1, then Munoz would get my vote. Coming in sixth with one year of Cowboys ties (1971) is Forrest Gregg, the long-time Green Bay great and Hall of Famer who played in eight NFL title games. Gregg (Sulphur Springs High) not only played for SMU but came back to coach the Mustangs.
· Unsportsmanlike Flag: This just won't go away. The NFL Players Association has filed an official grievance against the NFL, claiming the new national anthem policy the owners conceived in May is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights. Nor the players or the NFLPA were consulted on the new policy, and evidently the NFL is somewhat acquiescing since the union claims in advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon. In other words, the NFL is willing to at least listen. And to think, after everything that has gone on, we're now just 22 days away from the first preseason game, Bears vs. Ravens in the Hall of Fame game, Aug. 2, and this still is an issue.
· No Gambling: No surprise the Cowboys didn't gamble a 2019 draft choice in Wednesday's NFL Supplemental Draft. In fact, over the 42-year history of the Supplemental Draft, the Cowboys have only drafted five players, and two of those were in 1989, selecting Miami quarterback Steve Walsh with what turned out to be the first pick in the 1990 draft and running back Mike Lowman of Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College in the 12th round. Lowman did not make the team, but Walsh turned out to be their most valuable supplemental pick by trading him to New Orleans three games into the 1990 season for multiple draft choices (first, second and third). Then in 1994, the Cowboys selected tight end John Davis of Trinity Valley Community College with a fifth-rounder (didn't make the team) and defensive lineman Darren Benson with a third in 1995. Benson ended playing for the Cowboys for four seasons, two of those lost for injury. And in 2010, the last time the Cowboys used a supplemental pick, they used a seventh on Josh Brent out of Illinois.
· Golf Shots: Hey, how about Tony Romo winning the Racine (Wis.) Tri-Course Amateur Championship by nine strokes, played over three courses … Someone asked me the other day if the Cowboys will be a "running offense." My response: "A versatile one." Can't win in this league being one-dimensional if you don't have a Doomsday Defense … Make sure you pick up a copy of the Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine Training Camp Preview, available now at Shop.DallasCowboys.com. With a breakdown of the team and scouting reports on each player, it'll get you ready for camp … Speaking of which, oh my, only one more Mick Shots from here before the next one coming from Oxnard, Calif.