Connect with us

Star Blog

Ricardo Lockette: When The Impact of Football Hits Home

Jess Haynie



Cowboys Headlines -  53

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.

lockettsurgeryblog1102Yes, 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.

golden-tate-sean-lee-blindsideViolence and Football

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.

image_1468I 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 fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

  • Kevin Brady

    Great stuff, Jess. The game we all love can turn so very scary in an instant.

    • Jess Haynie

      Thanks, Kevin. That's probably part of we find it all so thrilling; the ever-present potential for disaster.

Star Blog

Upgrading the Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?

Brian Martin



Upgrading Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?

Despite the displeasure by the majority of fans, the Dallas Cowboys continue to hold things close to the vest with their approach to free agency. It's definitely not the most popular approach and tends to drive fans crazy, but things could start heating up now that the free-agent market is starting to settle.

Looking from the outside in, we can only speculate as to which positions the Dallas Cowboys may prioritize in free agency and in the draft that matter. Earl Thomas and the safety position has been the most popular topic of discussion throughout the free agency process, but it looks as if the Cowboys are narrowing their focus on upgrading and adding depth to their offensive line.

Marcus Martin

Free-agent C/OG Marcus Martin

This is just speculation of course, but it's based on the fact that the Cowboys are rumored to be bringing in free-agent offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And on top of that, it was announced that two of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors are also offensive lineman, Will Hernandez, who is popular among Cowboys fans already, and offensive tackle Kolton Miller.

I don't know about you, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys are certainly focused in on upgrading the offensive line. This absolutely makes sense after what they went through last season with the carousel at the left guard position and Tyron Smith's struggles to stay healthy.

More than anything, the Cowboys need OL depth heading into the 2018 season. There is only really one spot up for grabs at left guard, but the depth across the OL is absolutely depleted unless you want to rely on Chaz Green again.

This is where Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming make a lot of sense. Marcus Martin has the versatility to play center and guard, and has done so already in his NFL career. He could compete for the starting LG position, but if nothing else, could replace Joe Looney as the backup C/OG.

Cameron Fleming could be the more important of the two free agents the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in. At the worst, Fleming would be an upgrade as the swing tackle, something he's done with the New England Patriots throughout his career. But, he could compete to become the starting right tackle, which would kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard.

That's all speculation right now, but the Dallas Cowboys would do what's best for the entire team in order to get the right starting five offensive lineman on the field.

Kolton Miller

Cowboys Rookie prospect OT Kolton Miller

The same can be said about rookies Will Hernandez and Kolton Miller. Hernandez would likely be a plug-and-play left guard if he ended up being the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick. That would keep the offensive line from shuffling and hopefully solidify the unit for years to come.

Kolton Miller on the other hand would be a lot like the Cameron Fleming situation mentioned above. He can probably tackle on the left or right side the NFL, although some draft analysts believe he will struggle as a LT at the next level.

Of course, there is no way of knowing how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have any of these players right now. But to me, it looks as if upgrading the offensive line is certainly one of their top priorities this offseason.

Is upgrading the OL the Dallas Cowboys top offseason priority?

Continue Reading

Star Blog

Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension

For die-hard NFL fans, the free agency period is as fun as any other week in the regular season. It's always a fun experience knowing what team is interested in which player and who's visiting who. Heck, there are websites with "free agents trackers" for people who don't want to miss a single thing.

Seeing the huge contracts some players get and discussing whether it's well-deserved money or an overpaid salary provides football fans all around the league with fun football conversations in the middle of March.

This is a period in which, despite not being on the field, every NFL team is doing the same thing. Trying to get better. Which is exactly why most Dallas Cowboys fans are frustrated with how things have gone for their favorite team in this 2018 NFL offseason.

Right now, less than a week after the free agency period officially began, they're the only team left in the NFL that hasn't signed a single free agent.

Surprising? Not at all.

Whether we like it or not, we know how this team likes to operate. A quiet free agency isn't out of the ordinary for the Cowboys. For many years, the NFL Draft has been the priority for them, and they've done a good job at it.

At the end of the day, waiting for the first wave of free agents to pass is smart unless you're looking for a QB or have a huge amount of cap space. When you look at what players are getting, you realize most of them are overpaid. Sammy Watkins got a $48M three-year deal, when he hasn't really proved to be worth it.

I don't think Cowboys Nation would've liked to see the Jones family bring Watkins for that kind of money. Personally, I don't mind the Cowboys' front office letting those first expensive signings occur without them participating in them.

I mean, they've already made a splash, when you think about it. DeMarcus Lawrence was the biggest non-QB free agent of the year and they managed to keep him for at least next season. It's not exactly a free agent signing, but they are paying one of the NFL's best pass rushers more than $17M to wear the Star one more year.

Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension 1

Former Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu

Yes, the Cowboys' team-building philosophy is comprehensible. But when do fans like you and me stop understanding their offseason approach and get bothered by it? To me, that frustration came in the form of Tyrann Mathieu signing with the other NFL team in Texas.

If the Honey Badger had signed a super expensive contract, I'd be fine with the Cowboys passing on him. But Houston was able to get him for just seven million dollars on a one-year prove-it deal.

Mathieu is one of the best defensive talents in the league and will be just 26 years old when next season begins. Why didn't the Cowboys tried to land him, if safety is a position of need? I mean, we've been talking about a potential trade for Earl Thomas all year!

Were they hesitant just because the Honey Badger isn't your traditional safety? Are they so conservative that their reason to not go after him was he wasn't a scheme fit? When you're talking about a talent like his, I think you make things work to see him thrive along young and promising cornerbacks like Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie.

The Cowboys can still look at Tier-2 free agents such as TE Eric Ebron or S Kenny Vaccaro over the following days. It could end up working for them, or it could end up just like Nolan Carroll's horrendous game versus the Broncos in week 2 of the 2017 NFL season and his $2M in dead money for this year.

When it comes to the Cowboys' approach to free agency, there's a very thin line between comprehension and frustration. Maybe, just maybe, they make us understand next season when we see results on the field.

For now though, it's tough to stay in the "comprehending" side of things.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Free Agency: The Thin Line Between Frustration and Comprehension" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

Continue Reading

Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving

En una agencia libre muy callada de parte de los Dallas Cowboys, como es costumbre, lo más interesante hasta ahora se revuelve alrededor de un talento increíble en la línea defensiva: David Irving. El joven de la línea defensiva de Dallas recibió un tender de segunda ronda (con un costo de casi tres millones de dólares) de parte de los Cowboys, lo cual significa que vestirá la Estrella Solitaria un año más... ¿o no?

No, no es tan sencillo.

A diferencia de la etiqueta franquicia que recibió DeMarcus Lawrence hace unas semanas, un tender permite a un jugador recibir ofertas de otros equipos. Si Irving llega a recibir una oferta externa, sin embargo, los Cowboys tienen la oportunidad de igualarla.

Pero no sólo eso, sino que si no quieren igualar la oferta, pueden dejar ir al jugador y en cambio, el otro equipo tiene que compensar a los Cowboys con una selección de segunda ronda. Así como el tender de segunda ronda que se le otorgó a David Irving, hay tender de primera ronda o tender de "selección original."

Sin embargo, Irving no fue seleccionado en el NFL Draft, así que esta última opción hubiera tenido poco sentido.

David Irving, Redskins

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving

Ahora, pensando en el 2018 y una temporada ya incierta, nos sentamos preguntando: ¿No valía la pena cubrir a Irving con un tender de primera ronda? Al final de cuentas, sólo hay aproximadamente un millón de diferencia entre ambos. Irving es un jugador lleno de talento, y podría llegar a estar entre los mejores en su posición próximamente.

Sin embargo, si somos honestos, es una buena decisión de la administración. Irving ha tenido sus cuantos problemas y quizá este tender ayude a definir su valor en el mercado. Si ningún equipo alrededor de la liga se atreve a ofrecerle un contrato, los Cowboys mejoran su posición en las negociaciones y quien sabe, quizá consigan un acuerdo más amigable para el equipo.

Además, si un equipo decide llevárselo... ¿qué tan malo sería?

Con el pick #19 en la primera ronda del Draft de la NFL, no están en una posición muy cómoda. Como bien algún jugador talentoso como el DT Vita Vea o el WR Calvin Ridley pueden caer a las manos de Stephen Jones, Will McClay y compañía, bien puede estar vacía la tabla.

Con jugadores como el S de Florida State Derwin James o el LB de Georgia Roquan Smith, deberían considerar realizar un trade para subir algunas selecciones y llevarse a uno de estos talentos que no estarán disponibles en el #19.

Con las selecciones globales 19, 50 y una segunda ronda extra que conseguirían por Irving, es fácil visualizar a este equipo dispuesto a hacer un movimiento así el día del Draft.

A pesar de una mala temporada en el 2017, los Dallas Cowboys son un equipo que están cerca de ser contendientes.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Futuro Incierto de David Irving" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

Continue Reading

Reader Survey

Want to help make Inside The Star better?

We’re collecting feedback from our readers about the site. It only takes <2 minutes to complete, and can be done from any device.

> Take the survey now

Don’t worry, your information will not be shared with anyone but me (Bryson T.).

Enjoy 40% commissions on officially licensed products as a FanPrint affiliate. You can even make your own, fully licensed Cowboys and player designs! Get started here