Former Dallas Cowboys star Daryl “Moose” Johnston will be the keynote speaker for the University of Texas-Arlington Concussion Summit in the Mavericks Activities Center on March 9-10.
Some of the top concussion researchers from around the country, including UTA’s Dr. Jacob Resch, will attend.
The summit is open to physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, emergency medical technicians, coaches, athletic directors, parents, and athletes. Cost is $50 for certified health professionals and $25 for students.
Check-in and registration is 4 p.m. on March 9 with Johnston scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. On March 10, check-in and registration is at 7 a.m. and the program goes from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (817)-272-1402.
Shaping the Cowboys negotiations with free agent receiver Laurent Robinson is the team’s need for three quality receivers.
With Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Robinson, the Cowboys have a trio as dangerous as any in the league and the Giants certainly showed the importance of that with their run to the Super Bowl fueled by the play of receivers Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham.
What’s also true for the Cowboys as it relates to Robinson is that they need a third quality starting caliber receiver because of the injury history of Austin and Bryant who missed a combined seven games last season.
Austin missed six of them and seemingly has a propensity for nagging hamstring issues going back several years.
Their absences last season set the stage for Robinson’s breakout with 54 catches for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns, all career highs in what was his fifth season in the league.
Robinson needs to strike while the iron is hot and make the most of his good timing as an unrestricted free agent considering the disappointments he’s since being a third round pick of the Falcons in 2007. He played two years in Atlanta before being released and then was cut after two seasons in St. Louis.
But it’s also that same history that will cause the Cowboys some hesitation in going all in to keep Robinson. It was injuries that stunted his development with the Falcons and Rams.
They value what he brings to the team and chemistry he particularly has with quarterback Tony Romo.
But they don’t plan to break the bank because there is already a lot of money being given to Austin and Bryant.
You can’t pay three receivers top dollar.
Just asked the Giants, who are almost certain to lose Manningham in free agency this year.
Team vice president Stephen Jones, who has carefully and artfully managed the Cowboys through salary cap hell and back, said the Cowboys have the financial resources to do whatever they need to do. They are currently $12.6 million under the cap and can restructure several contracts to acquire more room if need be.
According to a source, the Cowboys have already one financial decision given them financial flexibility by choosing to tender a contract to only one restricted free agent, fullback Tony Fiammetta. Of the others, only wide receiver Kevin Ogletree had a chance of returning next year. If he does return, it will be at a minimum deal, rather than the $1.26 million free agent tender.
It's only the beginning of several huge decisions that must be made in the next couple of weeks. The must decide by March 5 whether to put the franchise tag on linebacker Anthony Spencer, guaranteeing him $8.8 million next season, or let him hit free agency where he is sure to draw big contract on the open market.
"Spencer is a difficult one," Jones said. "He is a helluva player."
Jones said the Cowboys will likely also decide the fate of cornerback Terence Newman before free agency officially begins March 13. He is candidate to be cut because of his age, salary, declining play and injury. The Cowboys can save roughly $6 million by releasing him after June 1.
The Cowboys won't wait that long to decide because if they are not going to bring him back they plan to add a veteran in free agency which is independent of their plans of adding a young cornerback in the draft. The need for multiple cornerbacks is great because only Mike Jenkins and nickel back Orlando Scandrick are set for next season, and Jenkins is in the final year of his contract.
"We will the decision (with Newman) made," Jones said. "We are going to need to decide internally what we are going to do whether we are going the veteran route. We will go with a young guy regardless." -- Clarence Hill
The Cowboys draft 14th, but who is the best fit for them, regardless where they pick? That is the question we posed to our staff.
Clarence E. Hill Jr., writer: The Cowboys need to improve the secondary, especially at cornerback. Terence Newman is (almost) gone, and they need to replace him opposite Mike Jenkins. Add in the fact that Jenkins will be a free agent after the 2012 season, and the need to draft a quality starter is even more paramount. The best fit would be LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. He will likely be long gone by the time Cowboys draft 14th. Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick and North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins are also quality cornerbacks who would be good fits as well.
Charean Williams, writer: You have to have a quarterback and a pass rush to win a Super Bowl. The Giants showed that. The Cowboys think they have the quarterback. You can debate that if you want. What is not debatable is they have only one pass-rusher. DeMarcus Ware needs help, and Alabama's Courtney Upshaw would be a perfect fit. Upshaw had 17 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks last season.
Carlos Mendez, writer: Juicy question. Well, if I'm the Cowboys, and I can have anybody I want, give me the quarterback. Give me Andrew Luck. He's the best fit, long-term. You've got to have a quarterback in the NFL, and this guy looks like a 12-year franchise at the position. I know the Cowboys have a quarterback. I know he's good enough. But you and I both know he won't be around forever. Four more years? Five? Even if I make my new quarterback wait that long, at least I know I've got him when the time comes. And if my present quarterback doesn't perform, I won't have to wait so long to get my new quarterback's career started. Now if I could just get a tackle, a guard and a center...
David Humphrey, editor: I would go with Morris Claiborne, a cornerback from LSU. He has size, speed and makes plays. His ability to make plays jumps off the scouting report. Another plus is that he played in the SEC and national championship game with the Tigers. The SEC is a mini-version of the NFL. When you stand out on a team of standouts, that's a good thing.
While owner Jerry Jones believes the Cowboys have enough to compete for a Super Bowl, vice president Stephen Jones questions the personnel on defense where the team has finished among the worst in team history against the past the past two years.
“Obviously we are not pleased with where we are on defense,” Stephen Jones said. “We got to get better over there. I don’t know that we got good enough talent to win over there. We have to improve it.”
The NFL Scouting Combine is not just about eyeballing and scrutinizing the top college prospects. Teams use the event to talk with the representatives of their prospective free agents.
Vice President Stephen Jones said the Cowboys have had meetings with the agents of receiver Laurent Robinson, linebacker Anthony Spencer, Dez Bryant and Kelvin Ogletree and David Buehler.
Don’t be alarmed by the conversations about Bryant, who is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, along with Ogletree.
Jones said the conversations with Rosenhaus were not about a contract extension for Bryant but rather just some background on the third-year receiver who recently switched to Rosenhaus from Eugene Parker.
Jones acknowledged that the decision on Spencer is the toughest as the Cowboys try to decide whether to put the franchise tag on him before he hits free agency.
But it’s not the only one they have to make as they are also deciding what to tender some of the restricted free agents like Ogletree and Buehler, if at all.
Jones said they will not offer contract tenders to all their restricted free agents.
Buehler is set to make $1.26 million next year in the final year of his contract. That is a lot pay a kickoff specialist and Cowboys would like a reduction of the salary for him to have a chance to stay on the roster.
Vice President Stephen Jones agrees with defensive end Jason Hatcher in saying the Cowboys don't have a vocal, emotional leader who will get in their teammates faces and hold them accountable like Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin did for the Cowboys of the 1990s and linebacker Ray Lewis does now in Baltimore.
“We got good solid character lead by example guys,” Stephen Jones said. “Things we don’t have, and they don’t grow on trees, is a Michael Irvin or a Ray Lewis who is not only a lead by example, who not only is a great player, but one who will get in your face.”
The Cowboys aren’t the only team without a Lewis-type leader. But not every team may need one, as opposed to the Cowboys, whom Stephen Jones allows probably do because of the scrutiny and pressure they face every year.
It certainly could make a difference for the Cowboys in close games and late in the year when they have consistently failed.
“I don’t have the answers,” Jones said. “We would like someone like that.”
Owner Jerry Jones identified linebacker Sean Lee, who he called a natural born leader, as a player who could possibly grow into that role on the Cowboys as he continues to grow as a force on the field.
Janoris Jenkins was honest about why he ended up at North Alabama and now faces character questions from NFL teams. He was arrested three times – one for a bar fight and twice for marijuana – and failed a drug test at Florida.
“I’m pretty sure it will hurt me,” Jenkins said Sunday. “But I’m looking past that, looking forward to moving on and being successful from here on out.”
Jenkins said he is “done with marijuana forever,” He bears responsibility for four children – Janoris Jenkins Jr., Legend, Janorian and Paris, who range in age from 3 months to 3 years.
“In order for me to be successful and them to have a great life, or a nice life, I’ve got to put it [drug use] behind me,” Jenkins said.
The Cowboys, who need a cornerback, and other teams will have to weigh Jenkins' words when it comes time to spend a first-round pick on a player.
"Every year I talk to you guys about different red flags -- medical, off the field -- there's all kinds of different red flags," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. "What is always interesting to me is how different teams treat those red flags. There's no one uniform way to deal with a kid off the field. That's why I think it's really important for a kid who's had issues to come here and for the next two months, they're going to get asked nine gazillion questions. It's all public. It's all out there. The teams know more than we do. So you've got to look these guys in the eyes and have the right answers and most importantly convince them it's not going to happen again. They're all going to say the same thing: I've grown up; I'm sorry. That's kind of the message. Do you buy into that and at what level? At a first-round price? At a second-round price? At a fourth-round price? Every team is different that way."