Picking Up The Pieces And Moving Forward

is sprawled out over the majority of the two other fields.

But because so much broken bits of glass are spread all over the three fields, the Cowboys veterans will be going over to Standridge Stadium in nearby Carrollton, Texas, for their twice-a-week on-field teaching sessions following their strength and conditioning workouts. They will use Standridge for their upcoming organized team activities (OTAs), scheduled to begin May 19 and last three days a week for four consecutive weeks.

Because of all the glass remaining on the fields, along with the little pieces of debris - even after vacuuming the fields - the Cowboys, for obvious safety reasons, are planning to till up the practice fields and start from scratch with brand new fields. And at some point soon, the debris from the tension structure will be carted away, but not until all the inspections have been completed.

So there is no telling how long they will continue to use Standridge Stadium for these off-season practice sessions. And should they need an indoor facility during the summer or the coming season, they will likely work out at Coppell High School, a place where they previously practiced indoors before completing construction on the tension-structure in 2004.

Also, the collapse of the Cowboys indoor practice facility likely will cause the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Committee and the NFL to scramble previously set plans that are to be revealed on Tuesday during a press conference in Arlington, Texas, to announce the various Super Bowl venues. Preliminary plans were for the NFC team to practice at the Cowboys facility, assuming weather conditions force the teams inside that week, but because no decision has been made yet on the Cowboys' plans to rebuild, the Committee might have to look at alternative sites. The AFC team is set to use the TCU indoor facility.

Anything else?

Oh yeah, and completely unrelated to injuries caused by the collapse of the indoor facility, Cowboys kicker Nick Folk underwent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his right hip, which means he will spend the next eight to 12 weeks rehabbing before being ready to at least resume his place-kicking duties. Drafting USC kicker David Buehler, bruised up pretty good in the collapse as well, in the fifth round now seems rather psychic moreso than just trying to improve kickoffs.

Man, oh man.

So now with those projected to heal healing and some time and distance being placed between last Saturday's tragic collapse of the indoor practice facility, we can begin to get some closure to the traumatic event and slowly inch back into football, which might be mentally medicinal as well.

Looking for some personal closure, I walked out to the fallen structure around 5 p.m. Thursday before leaving. I was not alone. Assistant coaches Hudson Houck, Skip Peete and Ray Sherman had wandered out there, too, evidently thinking the same thing, trying to take one last look before the destruction was carted away.

Truly amazing more were not seriously injured, and that we all left there alive. Pictures from above just don't do justice to 120 yards of this fallen building, which please, do not confuse with some air bubble. Salvage yards don't have this much metal, with all the beams and poles scattered across the two fields.

If you believe in miracles, we lived one a week ago.

And one more time, we all traded stories about where we were and how we escaped and how nearly we didn't. We knew where Hud was. He was captured on the videos with his linemen. Ray showed me where he dived to the ground. Skip showed me where he went down and how he rolled to prevent a falling air conditioning duct from landing on him. I saw the door with the broken glass Will McClay was under and the one trapping Dallas Morning News writer Todd Archer. Ray showed me the stack of tractor tires piled three high one of his receivers wisely jumped into for safety.

And maybe for the last time I found the spot where my little cave just had to be, the tangle of poles, beams and tarp protecting me and Jancy Briles, as it turns out, from any more serious injury - the reflective silence

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