INDIANAPOLIS – Cowboys owner Jerry Jones meeting with reporters on his own Cowboys bus has become an annual thing at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Not only does Jones address many topics of interest, it is usually the first time since the end of the season when he gets the chance to have such a lengthy media session.
Saturday from the was no different, as the Cowboys owner/GM fielded an assortment of questions, ranging from contract talks to Jason Garrett’s future to of course, the big news surrounding the recent return of Jason Witten.
Here are some of the quick highlights from Jerry’s latest go-round with the media.
- The term “progress-stopper” has often been used for veterans who are still playing and perhaps preventing growth of younger players. But Jerry Jones certainly didn’t go there with Witten, who turns 37 this May. Jones has also said he likes the potential in Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, but even with Witten in the fold, he didn’t rule out the chances of drafting a tight end with the No. 58 overall pick. Don’t forget the Cowboys drafted three second-round tight ends with Witten on the roster (Anthony Fasano, Martellus Bennett and Gavin Escobar). All three were drafted following a Pro Bowl season from Witten.
- The recent indefinite suspension of defensive end Randy Gregory hasn’t changed Jerry’s outlook on the 2015 second-round pick’s future. Jones praised Gregory’s efforts to overcome his off-the-field challenges and didn’t rule out the chance Gregory could play Week 1, though he didn’t speculate on a timetable. “For all the obvious reasons I don't know. It’s certainly not impossible,” Jones said.
- Jones added this about Gregory, who has battled substance abuse since before he joined the Cowboys and has been suspended a total of 30 games the past three seasons: “He’s a pure soul, first and foremost. He’s genuinely afflicted,” Jones said. “It’s real and he’s trying to work through it. Everybody on this team knows he is.”
- Defensive lineman David Irving was also suspended this week indefinitely by the NFL for substance abuse. However, Jones did not discuss Irving’s future, which includes him being an unrestricted free agent in mid-March.
- Contracts are a big topic of discussion in Indy, with so many big-names players needing one, some more pressing than others. Jones said the organization met with DeMarcus Lawrence’s representatives on Friday. He didn’t go into detail, other to say there “was good communication.” The Cowboys have until March 5 to potentially place the franchise tag on D-Law, which would likely serve as a placeholder until a new deal is reached. But it would ensure that no other team could offer Lawrence a contract.
- Another top priority to re-sign is quarterback Dak Prescott, who’s entering the final year of his rookie contract. Jones would only confirm the two sides are in discussions. “We’re in the activity of negotiating his contract,” Jones said. “We have several in that category. There’s nothing notable about where we are or aren’t. It’s business as usual.”
- The 2019 Combine marks the 30th anniversary of the Jerry Jones’ first Combine after buying the team in February of 1989. He talked about the hunger to win is stronger than ever. “This my 30th Combine and I don’t have 30 more. I’m running out of Combines. So it’s more urgent than it was sitting here visiting with you 20 years ago. ... We need to grab this while it’s here.”
- With head coach Jason Garrett entering the final year of his contract, Jones acknowledged “in essence there’s a little bit of no net here,” but added that “I do my best work without a net.” Jones reiterated his support for Garrett and applauded the consistency his head coach has endured. “He has never lost a team, ever. ... That’s very impressive,” Jones said. "Hopefully that can come together, we get him a Super Bowl and he'll be maybe the longest-tenured coach in the history of the Cowboys.”