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Past / Present Blog

While the Cowboys are never short on current superstars, their legacy was built on legends, many of which have long retired from the game. Still, former Cowboys players and coaches constantly garner headlines, which will be captured in the ongoing “Past & Present Blog.” Here are some of the latest news items that have come from some members of the Cowboys’ alumni.
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Redskins Decide To Part Ways With Scandrick

The Redskins gave a $1 million signing bonus to Orlando Scandrick earlier in the offseason, not long after he was released by the Cowboys.

However, that will likely be the only thing the veteran cornerback will get from Washington as the club decided to cut Scandrick and rely on younger cornerbacks.

According to reports, the Redskins made the move early enough in hopes Scandrick could sign with another team seeking veteran help at the cornerback position.

Drafted in 2008 as a fifth-round pick, Scandrick played 10 years with the Cowboys and was a solid piece to the defense for the majority of his career. But he only has eight career interceptions and never had more than two in one season.

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Alfred Morris To Sign With 49ers

Former Cowboys running back Alfred Morris is expected to join the 49ers this week at training camp this week.

Morris, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, spent the last two years with the Cowboys, starting five games, mostly in the place of Ezekiel Elliott last season. Morris rushed for 790 yards the past two years with the Cowboys, but had a pair of Pro Bowl seasons with the Redskins in his four years in Washington, including a 1,613-yard rookie season in 2012.

Morris rushed for 547 yards and one touchdown in 2017 with the Cowboys, including 127 yards against the Redskins.

The Cowboys chose to let Morris test free agency this offseason, opting to stick with Elliott, Rod Smith and Trey Williams, along with added rookies Bo Scarbrough and Jordan Chunn. The Cowboys also added Darius Jackson before camp.

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Switzer Scores Raiders’ First Preseason TD

One of the Day 3 surprises of the NFL Draft involved a trade with the Raiders that sent wide receiver Ryan Switzer to Oakland in exchange for Jihad Ward, who has been taking first-team reps with the Cowboys’ D-line at camp.

But Switzer had an impressive debut in Oakland, catching a touchdown pass in the first quarter last weekend, diving to the ground to haul in the Raiders’ first score. Switzer celebrated the play by leaping into the “Black Hole” behind the end zone with the fans. The touchdown came from quarterback Connor Cook, a player the Cowboys reportedly wanted to draft in 2016 before the Raiders traded up for the former Michigan State standout. The Cowboys eventually took Dak Prescott later in the draft.

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Spears Joins Cowboys Broadcast Booth

A former first-round pick has joined the Cowboys media team for the preseason and parts of the regular season. Marcus Spears, who is also an analyst for ESPN and the SEC Network, worked the preseason opener in San Francisco as a member of the Cowboys’ TV Network. Spears, the 20th overall pick in 2005, played eight of his nine pro seasons in Dallas, recording 10 sacks. Spears finished his career in 2013 with the Ravens. 

Throughout the season, Spears is also scheduled to appear on occasional internet pregame shows for the Cowboys in the regular season.

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Deep Blue: Parcells’ Final Ride

The first installment of this year’s Deep Blue Documentary series, presented by Pepsi, kicked off with an extensive look at the 2003 season and the partnership formed by the Cowboys and Bill Parcells.

The documentary, titled, “Parcells’ Final Ride,” starts with a secret meeting on the runway back in 2002 when Jerry Jones and Parcells first discussed the possibility of him becoming the head coach. The documentary chronicles the entire 2003 season and how Parcells not only changed the culture, but elevated a team that had endured three straight 5-11 seasons, but managed to make the playoffs despite a lack of talent on both sides of the ball.  

This kicks off the fourth season of Deep Blue, an annual series of four documentaries that have featured a wide range of topics over the years.

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Before USC Job, Campo Stops By

The head coach of the Cowboys the first time they came to Oxnard, Calif. returned to the fields this week. Dave Campo, a head coach from 2000-02, but also an assistant coach for 15 other seasons, said hello to some familiar faces. Campo is spending this season in LA as part of the coaching staff at Southern Cal. Campo is a defensive assistant for a defense run by Clancy Pendergast, who spent seven years as a Cowboys coach from 1996-2002.

Campo isn’t the only former coach or player who has visited the team during the first 10 days of camp.

Along with Pendergast, who spent seven years as a Cowboys coach from 1996-2002, former offensive line coach Tony Wise has been on the sidelines for a few days. Wise spent 1989-92 coaching the O-line and helped win a Super Bowl in his final season with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys also welcomed former tight end Eric Bjornson, who has remained a close friend of Jason Garrett over the years. Bjornson spent five years with the team from 1995-99.

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Witten, Dez Still Make Headlines

For the first time in 16 years, Jason Witten is not with the Cowboys at training camp. For the first time since 2009, Dez Bryant isn’t here either. Yet, both of them have managed to stay in the news, offering up some insight to how things were, at least in their eyes, in the locker room and behind closed doors.

Witten, who now works for ESPN as part of his new job on Monday Night Football, wrote his first column this week, basically explaining how social media sites such as Twitter can be problematic, distracting and actually “poisonous” for a football team. He mentioned there were times players have checked their own accounts at halftime of games.

Ironically enough, later that day, Dez Bryant took to Twitter in an attempt to defend himself of a tweet he thought was directed solely at him by Stephen Jones. Bryant promptly went off, blasting former teammates and coaches, including the play-caller Scott Linehan, owner Jerry Jones, Travis Frederick and Sean Lee, whom he referred to as “Snake Lee.”

The messages were quickly relayed back to the Cowboys in Oxnard, where both Lee and Frederick responded, saying they admire Bryant as a teammate but Lee went as far to say the wide receiver needs to “look at himself” and needs to be more accountable.

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First Great Cowboys WR Passes Away

Frank Clarke, one of the original players on the Cowboys back in 1960, passed away at the age of 84 on Thursday.

Clarke was the first 1,000-yard receiver in club history, recording 1,043 yards in 1963.

Although he retired after the 1967 season, Clarke still ranks seventh in Cowboys history in receiving yards with 5,214 and he’s one of seven players in franchise history with 50 touchdown catches.

Clarke’s final game of his career was the “Ice Bowl” in Green Bay for the NFL Championship.

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Jerry Says T.O. Making HOF Mistake; Owens Fires Back

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said many times one of the more enjoyable moments of his entire life occurred last year in Canton, Ohio when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Recently, he said he visited with Terrell Owens about the former receiver’s decision to skip out on the Canton festivities next month.

Owens has made plenty of headlines over the last month for deciding to hold his own private party at his alma mater, Chattanooga, instead of attending the ceremony with fellow inductees such as Randy Moss and Ray Lewis.

“I did have discussions with him. I had one of the great experiences that ever happened to me last year,” Jones said. “He did not ask my advice. Had he asked my advice, or had I been compelled to, I would have shared with him that this is a mistake. You, for your own reasons, but more importantly because of fans, you should participate. I didn’t give him that advice and consequently, you see where he’s going. He is making a mistake, but that’s his decision. Terrell, as you know, has a mind of his own.”

Owens, who played three seasons for the Cowboys from 2006-08, responded to Jerry’s comments with a tweet:

_ “Jerry ‘made a mistake’ of releasing me after listening to others when I produced, gave my ALL, sacrificed my health for the team but who am I?!” Owens wrote in a post on his verified account. “But hey I thought Jerry had a mind of his own too. #GOFIGURE What I'm doing is for the FANS. #THISISFORYOU”_

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Romo Rallies For Celebrity Golf Victory

Former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is no stranger to playing in golf tournaments. But the former Cowboys quarterback arguably won his biggest tournament on July 15, winning the American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe

Romo edged out celebrity stars such as baseball pitcher Mark Mulder and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer.

The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

For more info on Romo’s win, along with the results of DeMarcus Ware at the tournament, check out a full story on 5Pointsblue.com.

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Greg Hardy Earns UFC Contract

Former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has not played in the NFL since his one year in Dallas, but has found a new home in the UFC.

Hardy was signed to a developmental contract this past summer and is expected to fight again on Aug. 7 in Las Vegas at Dana White’s Contender Series 16.

Hardy’s record is officially 1-0 as a UFC fighter.

Hardy spent just one season for the Cowboys in 2015 and was filled with controversy, stemming from an NFL four-game suspension for personal conduct. Hardy was convicted of domestic violence in 2014 but the charges were dismissed when his accuser did not testify against him. Hardy played in 12 games in 2015 and recorded six sacks and an interception. However, he has not played in the NFL since that season. 

Check out is full bio here.

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Dennis Thurman Graduates 40 Years Later

Although he didn’t finish college at USC because he was drafted by the Cowboys in 1978, Dennis Thurman never gave up on his goal.

At the age of 62, the former Cowboys cornerback recently graduated from UNLV, earning his bachelor’s degree in Las Vegas.

Following the ceremony, Thurman flew to Virginia to surprise his 82-year-old mother and two daughters, who were both college graduates, who were all unaware that he had returned to school.

Thurman was an 11th-round pick in 1978 but not only made the team but eventually became a leader in the Cowboys secondary. The namesake of “Thurman’s Thieves,” he played eight years in Dallas and nine overall. He ranks fourth in Cowboys history with 36 interceptions and had seven more in the playoffs, including a franchise-record-tying three in a 1982 Divisional win over the Packers.

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