IRVING, Texas – Lincoln High School's student-athletes in Tacoma, Wash., may benefit more than the Cowboys with Jon Kitna rejoining the team.
Kitna, who teaches and coaches at the school, said he'll be donating his game check to the school's booster program, which his wife runs.
He said he didn't have a second thought than to give the money to the program to help out and get protein for the students. Kitna said 85 percent of the student population is below the poverty line, and his family's dedicated itself to helping out.
"My wife runs our booster program and spends roughly $25,000 a year feeding this young men and things like that in a lot of different avenues. One of the things we committed to this year for our booster program was our first $25,000 that we raised we were going to use on protein for the young men," Kitna said.
Kitna and his family started a foundation specifically for what he's doing now, giving young men the opportunity to grow in school and on the field.
"Unfortunately with the market dropping, all that stuff, when things when under, the foundation did too," Kitna said. "But it's what my wife does. She started a booster program along with my sister. They spend about $25,000 a year just feeding the young men.
"Then for us, we feel like we have some Division-I talented young men in our program that are doing great, but they need some supplement to their diet. One of the things we're going to do is use money that we raised, and we've had a lot of donations and things like that, to get protein for these young men so that their body gets what they need."
Kitna said whether it's his teacher's salary – he was an algebra teacher for two years at the school – or this player's salary, he's dedicated to helping out the school. He previously gave his teacher's salary to chip in before adding this money on top.
"That's what we do," Kitna said. "I've lived a great life."
The Cowboys' defense isn't planning to do anything different just because Tony Romo's likely out.
Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said the pressure won't change, and he trusts backup Kyle Orton will be more than serviceable.
"That's why you have backup quarterbacks," Kiffin said. "Just do our job. What the heck, you get him the ball, he gets a chance to show what kind of quarterback he is. This isn't his first rodeo."
Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher reiterated a similar thought.
"Keep going, man," Hatcher said. "We lost a great quarterback unfortunately, but we've got all the faith in the world in Kyle. He's a starting quarterback, he's a pro, he knows how to handle it. We've got to do what we do on defense, cause turnovers and give them more opportunities to score."
Chip Kelly and Nick Foles remember just how active Sean Lee was the last time these two teams played.
Lee finished as the Cowboys' leading tackler and picked off a pass, and Kelly knows the magnitude of the loss it would be for the Cowboys if Lee can't go after missing the last two days of practice with his neck injury.
"I thought Sean and what he had done when you just turn the tape on, he's got to be one of the top linebackers in this league," Kelly said. "I think I saw in nine games he had 99 tackles and four interceptions. I know in our game up close and personal I saw him just running from sideline to sideline making play after play. I just think he does such a good job at recognizing his keys and diagnosing plays and he's just an outstanding football player."
Foles had trouble throughout that game against the Cowboys, and Lee played a significant role in making that happen, as well as shutting down LeSean McCoy.
"He's a tremendous player," Foles said of Lee. "He's a very good athlete, he's everywhere and he can make plays."
It Takes Two
The two teams facing off this week in Dallas know the importance of a competent backup quarterback. [embedded_ad]
Nick Foles started the year as the Eagles' backup, while Kyle Orton is preparing to make his first start of the season if Romo's unable to play. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said he's not sure why there's so many good backups in the league, he just knows that every team needs to have two good players at the position.
"I've said that since Day 1 when we got in here and we had Michael (Vick) and Nick," Kelly said. "People talked about it being a quarterback controversy – I never looked at it that way. I looked at it as a positive, because it's very rare in this league that you're going to make it through the whole year unscathed. Drew Brees has missed time, Toy Brady has missed a season, Peyton Manning has missed a season – it's a very, very difficult position to play."
The Cowboys brought Orton in and paid him years ago to ensure they'd be in a decent position if Romo were to go down. This is Orton's second year with the Cowboys, but Sunday will mark his first meaningful snaps of his tenure in Dallas if Romo can't go.
"Everybody is hitting you, and they're protected by rule, but they also still take some unbelievable shots," Kelly said. "I think, if you're going to last as a team, you'd better have two."