ARLINGTON, Texas – When the doors of the Cowboys locker room open after each game, team owner Jerry Jones is usually right in the middle, ready to speak to reporters and/or visit with players.
On Thursday, Jones made his way to a locker room, but not the one he's accustomed to.
Jones made sure to make a rare visit to the Texans locker room so he could personally visit with Wade Phillips, shake his hand and wish him good luck on the regular season.
After the short visit, Phillips called back for Jerry and told him how much it meant for his former boss to go out of his way to see him.
"That was special, I told him that," said Phillips, the Texans current defensive coordinator who head coached the Cowboys from 2007-10. "I owe a lot to Jerry for giving me an opportunity here. The great thing about the Cowboys, once you're a Cowboy, you're always a Cowboy. That's pretty special."
"I get as many autograph (requests) from Cowboys fans as I do Texans fans. It's pretty neat. Jerry is a close friend of mine. I know it sounds strange, but it isn't. The guy has his team and he did what he thought he needed to do at the time. I did the best I could do and we go from there."
Jones admitted he doesn't make many trips to the visitor's side of AT&T Stadium. But there are always exceptions.
"It's not normal. It's not the first time I've been in the visiting locker room. But, I wanted to make sure I got to see him. Wade is not only an outstanding coach but has a great perspective on the NFL. "
While Jones had to make the tough decision in 2010 to fire Phillips after the Cowboys' 1-7 start to the season, the current GM and team owner said he still considers the veteran coach a close friend.
"We were close. We were real close," Jones said. "I thought he did an outstanding job with our team. It was a shame our last year ended the way it did. Make no mistake about it, Wade is a close friend of mine." [embedded_ad]
Phillips is no stranger to return visits to his former clubs. This is his eighth different NFL franchise to coach, but this was a bit different, considering his son, Wes Phillips, remains the tight ends coach for the Cowboys. Wes joined the Cowboys' staff with his dad in 2007. He was in the coaching booth during Thursday's game while Wade roamed the Texans' sideline, calling out the defenses for a squad that yielded just two field goals and registered seven sacks.
Wade Phillips mentioned his "young guys" several times, but it was the youngest players of all he was most excited about on his trip back to Dallas, where he still owns a home.
"It was great. I got to see my grandkids, which was special. But if I worried about all the places I've coached … I've coached for eight different teams. So it's happened before."