“To see all the busts and all the great players you grew up watching, to see that is inspirational,” Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee said. “…You look up to these players growing up and try to emulate them and how they were.”
Witten and DeMarcus Ware both are putting up Hall of Fame numbers. They were with the Cowboys in 2010 when the players visited the Hall of Fame the day before playing in the Hall of Fame Game. But they are closer to Canton now than they were then.
“That was awesome,” Witten said. “It was a great experience being in there with the busts and seeing all the great players. Just like any player, you always visualize the dream of maybe one day being there.”
Several players not expected to play in tonight’s game, including Tony Romo, Ware, Miles Austin, Witten, Lee, Dez Bryant and Doug Free, were escorted into the ceremony in between speeches. Most heard Larry Allen’s speech before being ushered out the back exit to return to the team hotel in Cleveland.
But Lee and Witten stayed to hear Parcells. Assistant coaches Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, who made their mark in Tampa, waited to hear Warren Sapp’s speech before heading back to get ready for tonight’s Hall of Fame Game.
Allen’s 16-minute won praise from the Cowboys.
“I thought he was fantastic up there,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “For someone who doesn’t like to speak a whole lot, I thought he captured the essence of his career, and all the people who are close to him.
“It was emotional just watching him. I loved it. I was just happy for him.”
Charean Williams/Clarence E. Hill Jr.