As a sports fan, the older I get the more I have come to appreciate the history of sports and the players that are a part of that history. I think we sometimes take for granted the joy we get from watching sports and forget about the players and their well-being.
Players in the NFL are essentially putting their long-term health at risk on any given day in order to not only play the game they love, but also provide fans the entertainment that we all crave.
We all have our favorite players and root for them when they are on the field, praying that they can remain healthy. We also seem to have a criteria that our favorite players seem to fit into, at least I do.
I have discovered that the players I tend to gravitate to are the ones that tend to go about doing their job without raising a fuss for asking for any kind of extra attention. This seems to have become more of a rarity in the NFL nowadays with the excessive touchdown celebrations or players celebrating after a quarterback sack.
That's why I find it even more impressive when players go about playing the game the right way.
For instance, one of my all-time favorite baseball players is Craig Biggio. He played the game the way it was meant to be played. He wasn't someone that was recognized for hitting a ton of home runs, but after any hit he hustled down the first base line and tried to stretch a single into a double every single time.
That is the type of player I root for and the Dallas Cowboys have had several of these players pass through during the history of the organization.
Due to the recent news that the Cowboys will have several players suspended in 2016 (Rolando McClain, DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory), I thought it was time to identify my favorite players that have played the game the right way.
I'm sure everyone will have different answers as to who their favorite players are to ever play for America's Team, but I thought I would share with you both my all-time favorite and current favorite player's to ever wear a star on their helmet.
Jason Witten, #82
Witten was drafted in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft and has spent his entire career with the organization. He is the all-time career leader in receptions for the Dallas Cowboys and currently ranks second in receptions and receiving yards by an NFL tight end, trailing only Tony Gonzales.
Witten has also been voted into the Pro Bowl 10 times, won Bart Starr Man of the Year Award (2013), Ed Block Courage Award (2012), and Walter Payton Man of the Year Award (2012) among many other impressive accolades.
I can go on and on about all of the impressive things Jason Witten has been able to accomplish in his career, but that's not really why he's my favorite player still playing with the Dallas Cowboys.
Jason Witten is my favorite because of the selflessness that he plays the game. He is willing to do whatever it takes in order to help his team. That's the type of player you want to root for and the kind of players you want your team to be made up of.
My favorite memory of Witten is of him running down the field helmetless against the Philadelphia Eagles. To me that one play sums up the kind of player Jason Witten is.
Jason Witten is an Ironman and it will be a sad day when he finally decides to retire. He will be forever remembered as one of the greatest to ever suit up for the Dallas Cowboys and his bust will forever reside in the Hall of Fame as a reminder of his mark on the game.
Daryl Johnston, #48
You see, I was just getting old enough to really appreciate the game of football when the Dallas Cowboys started their dominance over the NFL the early 1990s. While everyone was expressing their love for The Triplets, I was pretending to be #48 in the backyard when playing football.
It didn't matter what was going on in the game when I was watching it on TV. No matter what, I always seemed to gravitate towards what Daryl Johnston was doing on the field.
Johnston was the lead blocker for Emmitt Smith, a receiver out of the backfield, and a special teams ace during his career with the Dallas Cowboys. Whenever he made a play on the field, the stadium would erupt with "Mooooose" cheers.
Like Jason Witten, Daryl Johnston was willing to do everything in his power to help out his team. Unfortunately, that very thing ended up cutting his career short. He retired after the 1999 season after suffering a neck injury.
You may not have known, but because of Johnston's dominance as a fullback, the NFL created the fullback position for the Pro Bowl. How cool is that!
As you can see, I have a certain type of player I tend to single out as being my favorite and I think the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to find more of these types of players if they want to be successful.
Who are your favorite all-time and current players to suit up for the Dallas Cowboys?
Use the comment section below to share your personal favorites and let us all know why. I look forward to hearing from everybody so that we can discuss this further.
Report: Amari Cooper Likely out for the Rest of the Preseason
Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Amari Cooper is likely out for the remainder of the preseason according to ESPN's Todd Archer. He is currently dealing with a form of plantar fasciitis that has kept him out of practice since August 6th.
The three-time pro bowler changed life in Dallas last season as the team went 7-2 in it's final nine games after he was acquired to win the NFC East. Cooper isn't worried about any long term effects, though, as this is something he's familiar with.
"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before."
The Cowboys host the Houston Texans this Saturday in what is known as the "dress rehearsal" game before the regular season. Starters normally play about a half of football to get the juices flowing for when games really count in September. Ideally, the plan would be for Cooper and Dak Prescott to get a rhythm of sorts before the season starts but that will have to wait until the team prepares to take on the New York Giants on September 8th.
However, the good thing here is this issue doesn't seem to be serious and Cooper will be ready for the start of the 2019 season.
Report: Cowboys Agree To Contract Extension With LB Jaylon Smith
The Cowboys are neck-deep in contract negotiations with some of their team's most important players, but it appears they have gotten one key guy signed this afternoon.
ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that the Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with middle linebacker Jaylon Smith, though the exact terms of the contract have yet to be announced.
The Cowboys have agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, according to sources. Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after this season but the Cowboys and his representatives started talks in the spring and they ramped up once camp began. Smith, a...
Of course, the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith early in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite the horrific leg injury he suffered in Notre Dame's college bowl game. Some didn't think Smith would ever recover to be the same player he once was, but in 2018 Smith emerged as an excellent middle linebacker once again. Smith finished the 2018 season with 121 combined tackles and 4 sacks, and has looked just as imposing thus far in the preseason.
Smith regained his athleticism and sideline to sideline speed, while retaining his impressive hit power and sound tackling to become one of the league's best. Combining Smith with Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys have put together arguably the best linebacker group in the NFL.
And now, there's no end in sight for the dynamic duo.
Report: 2 Dallas Cowboys to be Activated off of P.U.P. List
Per a report from ESPN's Todd Archer, the Dallas Cowboys will soon activate Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence off of the Physically Unable to Perform (P.U.P.) List.
"The Cowboys are planning to activate defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford from the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, according to a source. They will work through individual drills in their first steps on the field before going through full practices. Lawrence had shoulder surgery not long after signing a five-year, $101 million contract in April. Crawford has been working his way through a hip issue that kept him out of the offseason program. Safety Byron Jones (hip) and receiver Noah Brown (knee) remain on PUP."
Todd Archer - ESPN.com
This report comes after DeMarcus Lawrence had offseason shoulder surgery in April and signed his five-year deal making him the highest-paid player in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, at least for now. It looks as if Lawrence will be ready for a week one return.
It's long been believed that Lawrence would be available for week one of the regular season and hasn't suffered any setbacks to this point that should lead you to believe otherwise. With Robert Quinn suspended for the first two games of the regular season and Randy Gregory's status still up in the air (he still hasn't applied for reinstatement), getting Lawrence and Crawford back for the first two weeks of the season becomes instrumental.
The Dallas Cowboys defensive line has looked really good through the first two games of the preseason, but as good as they've been, they'll need Lawrence and Crawford once the regular season starts. Lawrence will slot back in as the left defensive end and Tyrone Crawford will split snaps at right defensive end with Dorance Armstrong and 3-technique defensive tackle with Maliek Collins, Trysten Hill, and Kerry Hyder.
While the additions of DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will help the defense tremendously, there still isn't a timeline on the return of Pro Bowl Cornerback Byron Jones. Jones has been out since having hip surgery this offseason.
With as good as the Dallas Cowboys defense has looked this offseason, there's reason to believe that they can be even better once each of these guys are back in the lineup full-time. For a defense that was one of the 10 best defenses in the NFL in 2019, they'll need Lawrence, Crawford, and Jones to make the jump into the elite stratosphere of NFL defenses.
With the Dallas Cowboys' eyes set on capturing that sixth Lombardi Trophy, getting Lawrence and Crawford back in time to be ready for the regular season is vital to starting the 2019 season off right.
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