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Put Richie's Pasture On Hold Columnist 
Jan. 25, 2005, 5:08 p.m. (CST)   

better," he said Monday. "They're saying right now surgery is not an option, so I'm going to start preparing myself as though I'm going to play. 

"I still want it. I still like it. I still want to take a run at a Super Bowl." 

Parcells, as we know, had no post-season state-of-the-union session, but at one of his last meetings with reporters, he talked about the need for another back besides Julius Jones, someone who could spot-run a little, catch the ball, be a weapon. "A younger, healthier Richie Anderson?" he was asked, and kind of nodded and grunted in the affirmative. 

And they still need another back. But they also need Richie Anderson. One of the great untold stories of the Cowboys' season was how Anderson, back in the summer, helped Julius survive the mental browbeating he took from Parcells and assistant Maurice Carthon. The Julius Jones walking the Valley Ranch halls in August was a confused and beaten young man, not the confident ball of energy we all saw in November and December. 

Ask Julius if he could have made it through his rookie camp and his injuries as well, or at all, without Anderson.  

He's a bit player now, Anderson, hoping for a 13th year. He'll be 34 in September. But he's been elected offensive captain twice in two years in Dallas for a reason. He can still make some plays. He still leads.  

The season won't be called off, as Parcells might say, if his neck and the doctors tell him he shouldn't play. But he's not leaning that way now. 

Indications are, Parcells won't be his former soft, jolly self this trip around the track. Those boys need Richie Anderson in 2005 more than they know.                                                           

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