On November 1st, 2015, Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette suffered a career-ending injury in Dallas. A big hit from Cowboys safety Jeff Heath led to severe neck damage.
Yesterday, Lockette wrote a fabulous piece in The Players' Tribune about the injury and his subsequent retirement. Every football fan should take a moment to read it, because it gives the game we love some oft-needed perspective.
We should never lose sight of the tremendous risk that these players take on for our entertainment.
Yes, they are well-paid for that risk. But as Lockette put it so well in his article, it's all "temporary." Especially in the NFL where contracts aren't fully guaranteed, the timing of an injury can be just as financially devastating as the physical damage.
Players can be left in tremendous debt, having taken on luxuries and expenses that they thought would be covered by many more years of football income. They may have spent their first windfall rewarding family and friends for years of support, leaving little for their own future security. It's a common mistake, hence why the term "broke athlete" has been covered in several documentaries and other media.
The lifetime of physical problems that comes from football can't be forgotten, either. Even those who avoid major injury face early onsets of everything from severe arthritis to ruinous dementia. Imagine turning 40 but having the body of a 60-year-old. That's the price for many of these athletes.
Obviously, I don't know anything about the future of Lockette's finances or personal health. All I know is that he's paying a far heavier toll for being a football player than any guy ever should.
Cowboy or not, we should never stop appreciating these players. All the money doesn't exist without us, the consumer, and our ongoing desire to watch and follow the NFL. Ultimately we have the power in the relationship; all professional sports would die without the buying and viewing support of the spectators.
It's easy to get jaded about players' motivations. Just always remember that they wouldn't have a choice without you.
The word "violence" comes up in football a lot. Some detractors use it as a form of moral judgment; an activity that spits in the face of human decency.
I've never felt that way about the game. Yes, it's violent, but I see it in the way that a windstorm or other natural force is violent. For all its destructive potential, the windstorm isn't looking to hurt anyone. It simply is, and you can either risk getting close or do your best to avoid it.
Granted, there are plenty of violent men in the NFL. Without even getting into some well known off-field issues, the sport itself gives violent individuals an outlet for those feelings. There's no question that notorious villains like Bill Romanowski or Ndamukong Suh have their issues.
Cowboys safety Jeff Heath isn't one of those guys. Heath wasn't looking to hurt anybody that day against the Seahawks. He was just playing football.
Sadly, Ricardo Lockette got caught in the windstorm.
The modern climate of concussions and CTE concerns has already changed the way many look at football. Drops in Pee Wee and public school participation have been reported. Even some current and retired NFL players have said they won't allow their own children to play.
I have no doubt, at least in my lifetime, that football will still exist. There will always be more than enough players willing to take risk. More importantly, there will always be a ready and willing audience.
My hope is that, no matter how insatiably we hunger for games to watch and fantasy stats to track, we as fans never lose sight of the risks the players take. I don't see it as a moral dilemma, but it is a situation that demands our respect and consideration.
I will never forget that October game in 1999 in Philadelphia, when Cowboys legend Michael Irvin went down with a neck injury and never returned. The Eagles fans, who are often the height of classlessness, cheered his injury even when it was clearly serious. To this day it remains the most disgusted I've ever been watching football.
That is when the moral judgment can come into play. That's when the violence becomes something more sinister; our reaction to and delight in it. Again, we as the audience dictate the terms of the relationship.
I'm not trying to soapbox you here. But reading Ricardo Lockette's piece made me think about my own relationship with football. It was a good check for how I think and feel about the players I watch, and especially those on the 31 other teams outside of Dallas.
As the 2016 season draws near, it's a welcome reminder. We hear this often when it comes to players but we as fans need to be under the same obligation.
Respect the game.
Cowboys en Español: La Afortunada Llegada de Randall Cobb
Tras la partida del veterano Cole Beasley, los Dallas Cowboys tenían un hueco preocupante en la posición de receptor abierto. Incluso después de obtener a Amari Cooper la temporada pasada y el tener a un jugador joven y talentoso en Michael Gallup, el equipo tenía que hacer algo para reemplazar a Beasley como el receptor de slot en la ofensiva. Beasley fue increíble en su trabajo durante su carrera en Dallas, pero la administración nunca estuvo cerca de igualar las ofertas que recibió de los Buffalo Bills. Afortunadamente, ya encontraron el hombre para el trabajo.
A pesar de estar muy callados en la primera semana de agencia libre, los Cowboys empiezan a verse involucrados con varios jugadores disponibles. Su contratación más importante hasta el momento es sin duda la del ex WR de los Green Bay Packers, Randall Cobb.
Hace unos años, Cobb atrapó el balón que terminó el partido de playoffs entre los Packers y los Cowboys minutos después de que la recepción de Dez Bryant fuera revocada. En 2019, vestirá la estrella.
Si bien es difícil argumentar que en este momento Cobb es mejor jugador que Cole Beasley, el contrato que la administración le dio al nuevo integrante del equipo es muy razonable. El ex-Packer jugará bajo un contrato por un año y cinco millones de dólares. Lo que preocupa a muchos sobre Cobb es su salud, ya que en 2018 sólo jugó nueve partidos. Sin embargo, su carrera no ha estado plagada de lesiones como muchos lo asumen.
Cobb será un titular en esta ofensiva que utilizará su habilidad para ganar en rutas rápidas. Sus manos son muy confiables y le dará a Dak Prescott otra arma en el juego aéreo. Simple y sencillamente una muy buena contratación de los Dallas Cowboys.
¿Robert Quinn, Por Favor?
Esta semana se reportó que el defensive end Robert Quinn estaba de visita en The Star, las instalaciones de los Dallas Cowboys. El DE no es un agente libre, siendo que aún está bajo contrato con los Miami Dolphins. Sin embargo, ambos equipos están en discusiones para llevar a cabo un trade por el caza cabezas de 28 años.
Después de que Randy Gregory volviera a recibir una suspensión, DE apareció entra las necesidades más urgentes del equipo y si no logran atender dicha necesidad previo al NFL Draft, tendrán que utilizar uno de sus primeros picks para conseguir un jugador que juegue opuesto a DeMarcus Lawrence.
Quinn, quien había jugado la mayoría de su carrera con los Rams, aún es joven y productivo. En las últimas dos temporadas ha logrado conseguir 15 sacks. De conseguirlo, los Cowboys tendrían que trabajar en una extensión para él.
Con un año en su contrato actual, no debe de ser muy caro conseguir un trade por él. Me atrevería a decir que la compensación que los Dolphins buscan por Quinn debe de estar en el rango de una selección cuarta y quinta ronda.
Parece un movimiento probable, pero no es difícil imaginar a otro equipo estando interesado en el jugador. Por lo pronto, sabemos que Quinn disfrutó su tiempo con Rod Marinelli y con el equipo de los Cowboys esta semana. Habrá que esperar para saber su destino.
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
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