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Vikings' Terence Newman Maintains Career-Long Bond With Witten and Romo

FRISCO, Texas – Almost 14 years later, Terence Newman was able to recite the names of the Cowboys' 2003 draft class, of which he was the No. 5 overall pick.

Some notable names on that list include Jason Witten, Bradie James and an undrafted rookie Newman made sure to name who goes by Tony Romo. Witten and Romo's decade-plus friendship and growth as players will forever live in Cowboys lore, but Newman was an immediate playmaker and staple of the Cowboys organization for nine years.

Newman, who recorded 32 interceptions as a Cowboy, is still a key contributor for Thursday's opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, at the age of 38. Much like his former teammates and Cowboys legends, he is motivated by a singular and elusive goal.

"I never really set a time period [for how long I'd play]," Newman said in a conference call with the Dallas/Fort Worth media. "I just wanted to win a Super Bowl. That's kind of my biggest goal. The one thing I did want to do is win a Super Bowl, and I'm sure Jason and Tony would be in the same boat."

Newman watches Witten play now and loves seeing another veteran and friend continue to do the things that have made him great.

"Witt's never been a guy that will go out and burn you, but he's always been a crafty guy," he said.

Newman and Witten actually stepped on a field together in Dallas before either of them were Cowboys.

"I remember playing him in the Cotton Bowl when we played Tennessee," Newman recalled. "He's just the total package. He's a guy that can catch the football obviously, but he does all the dirty work like blocking and sealing guys off. He looks the exact same."

Newman's Kansas State Wildcats defeated Witten's Tennessee Volunteers 35-21 in the 2001 Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys' 2016 fourth overall pick, Ezekiel Elliott, was five years old at the time.

"Terence was a special guy. That was the class of '03 and I really enjoyed our nine years together," Witten said. "He was always a really talented guy. I think that's something you always remember for every player, the guys they came in with in the draft.

"That first year, we were rookies under (Bill) Parcells' system, the first year in that system. Man, it was a whirlwind for us. To be where he's at, I just commend him on the work that he's done playing the position that he's asked to play. It's not easy to do. He's had a really good career and I'm glad to see him still playing at a high level."

Few players have had tenures with the Cowboys as long as Newman did. Parcells once called Newman the best athlete on the Cowboys' roster. He's now been a mainstay in the NFL for a decade and a half.

Newman shouldered much of the pressure and expectations of that 2003 rookie class that included Witten and Romo, but over the next nine years the three of them made up a huge part of the Cowboys' identity. All these years later Newman still thinks back to his time playing on the same field as Romo and Witten.

"Those guys, we shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears together," Newman said. "I love those guys."

As for Romo? After a decade as the starting quarterback in Dallas, he has been the backup behind rookie Dak Prescott since returning from a back injury this season. It's hard for Newman to fathom someone else playing under center for the Dallas Cowboys.

"I saw his [press conference]," Newman said, referring to Romo's recent prepared statement in which he showed support for Prescott as the starter. "It was hard for me to watch that. But that's a true professional. That's somebody that understands his role. He did that on his own."

Romo's statement a few weeks ago may have hit home for Newman especially because the Cowboys made a decision to move on from Newman after a disappointing 2011 season.

"I didn't play very well my last year [in Dallas]," Newman said. "That's why I'm not a member of the Cowboys anymore. I take ownership of that."

Newman's career didn't end with the Cowboys, though. It still continues in Minnesota, and this week he'll take the field opposite his old friend Witten. Even so, Newman said Dallas remains a special place to him.

"That's still home," he said.

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